General Education and Language Teaching Methodology

The Gdańsk School of ELT

by Karolina Janczukowicz (Volume editor) Mikołaj Rychło (Volume editor)
©2015 Edited Collection 172 Pages
Series: Gdańsk Studies in Language, Volume 3


This book presents a selection of papers on teaching English as a foreign language and the role of language education in human development. As thinking skills rely on language, language education should exceed utilitarian and everyday communicative needs and should be the basis for developing other school subjects. The book provides practical suggestions for language teaching, for the development of logical thinking and the understanding of the linguistic relationship between the first and the second languages in a historical perspective.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Titel
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • I. General education
  • A direction of general education
  • Two languages in one mind: Towards a definition of the conscious bilingual
  • The philological element in the education of a language teacher: Understanding the similarity between English and Polish
  • II. ELT methodology
  • Aim-centered methodology
  • On the motivation of adult learners in English language education
  • Expressing knowledge as a personal educational event
  • III. Didactic implications
  • Language education and teaching by the learner’s text creation
  • Texts of culture in English language education
  • Testing as a source of personal educational experience
  • Author Index
  • Subject Index

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Karolina Janczukowicz and Mikołaj Rychło

The ideas presented in this book are an overview of an alternative attitude towards education within the sphere of language, with important implications for second language education. These views began to take shape in the nineties, with the publication in 1991 of Ryszard Wenzel’s book about his Text Creation Method1 and acquired further clarity in 1994 when he published his General Theory.2 Since then new ideas have developed around that theory, mostly within the circles of Gdańsk University’s Institute of English and American Studies and its Institute of Education. The first person to coin the phrase the Gdańsk School of ELT was Roman Kalisz in the review of the second PhD thesis influenced by the views of Ryszard Wenzel.

The proposal presented in this book concerns not merely teaching English (or any other language) as a second language, but a holistic theory on the role of language in the development of a human being and the place that education (in its many formal and informal manifestations) should have in order to fully realize the human potential. One of the main premises of this theory is that since human mental development and thinking skills rely on language, it is education within the sphere of language that should be the basis for developing other aspects of knowledge or other subjects. Furthermore, developing language entails developing, in a conscious way, at least two languages – the native and a second one, which is then referred to as conscious bilingualism.

The need to educate a person within two languages entails an approach to second language teaching that would transcend utilitarian and everyday communicative needs, and fulfil the role of an agent in the mental development of the learner. That is why the methodology represented by the Gdańsk School of ELT emphasizes such notions as higher language functions, cognitive appeal, cognitive creative motivation, personalness, and meaningful learning with the use of etymology in the process of language learning. In contrast to many other current second language teaching approaches, the methodology described here (called ← 7 | 8 → aim-centered methodology) emphasizes the need for balancing the development of communicative skills against development at structural, lexical and phonetic levels. Without contradicting the discoveries and solutions of other theorists, it attempts to place these solutions within the overall curriculum in such a way that they would contribute not only to the development of everyday communication but also to the development within the sphere of logical thinking and metaphorization.

The last aspect of the approach to teaching advocated by the Gdańsk School of ELT pertains to the practical implications within the sphere of language education, such as how to introduce the grammar or vocabulary of a new language so as to enable the learner to convey fairly complex messages, what kind of materials to rely on, or how to approach testing.

The nine papers that constitute this volume have been placed within three sections in accordance with the areas delineated above – that is, the realm of general education, methodology, and didactic implications. In the first part, the paper by R. Wenzel presents an overview of the School’s educational theory in its current state, a development of the ideas originally presented in his General Theory of Language Education and The Education of a Language Teacher,3 while the paper by M. Smalara-Lewandowska presents and elaborates on the notion of conscious bilingualism. The last paper in this section, by M. Rychło, sheds light on vocabulary seen across languages and through historical changes, in this way allowing for a deeper understanding of the true conscious bilingual.

The second part starts with a paper by K. Janczukowicz describing the crucial features of aimed-centered methodology; next a three-tiered model of motivation (with special focus on adults) is presented by O. Aleksandrowska; the section concludes with M. Daszkiewicz’s views on the aspect of personalness in teaching, putting forward the notion of the educational event.

The final part starts with R. Wenzel’s proposal of goals to be guided by in teaching a language, together with practical examples of second language lessons. In the second paper of this part of the book O. Aleksandrowska presents texts of culture as materials beneficial in teaching a second language. In the last paper, M. Daszkiewicz presents testing as a vital part of the process of teaching.

We are particularly grateful to prof. Roman Kalisz for the inspiration to create this book, to prof. Danuta Stanulewicz, for her constant help in revising and editing and to dr Michał Daszkiewicz for his contribution to its overall structure.

1 Wenzel, Ryszard (1991). Jak uczyć języka obcego poprzez samodzielne tworzenie tekstu. Warszawa: Wydawnictwa Szkolne i Pedagogiczne.

2 Wenzel, Ryszard (1994). A General Theory of Language Education. Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego.

3 Wenzel, Ryszard (2001). The Education of a Language Teacher. Gdańsk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego.

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I. General education

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A direction of general education

Ryszard Wenzel, University of Gdańsk


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (May)
Conscious bilingualism general education Aim-centred methodology Personal educational experience
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 172 pp., 5 tables, 4 graphs

Biographical notes

Karolina Janczukowicz (Volume editor) Mikołaj Rychło (Volume editor)

Karolina Janczukowicz is Assistant Professor at the Institute of English and American Studies at the University of Gdańsk, Poland. Her academic interests include psycholinguistics and teaching pronunciation to secondary school students. Mikołaj Rychło is Assistant Professor of English and Linguistics at the Institute of English and American Studies at the University of Gdańsk, Poland. His current research interests include historical linguistics, etymology, Polish-English cognates and philosophy of language education.


Title: General Education and Language Teaching Methodology
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174 pages