Noam Chomsky’s Critical Intervention- Foreword by Peter McLaren- Afterword by Pepi Leistyna
1 Professional and Personal Encounters With Noam Chomsky: A Critical Self-Reflection
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Professional and Personal Encounters With Noam Chomsky
A Critical Self-Reflection
I was first exposed to Noam Chomsky’s nativist theory in 1994 in an introductory psychology course that I took at Massachusetts Bay Community College. As the professor was talking about language development, she briefly mentioned nativist theory. Although her explanation about this theory was rather brief (she was trying to contrast it with behaviorism), it caught my attention. I attempted to ask her a question about nativist theory, but I was not fully able to do so, since my limited English at the time prevented me from making myself completely clear. Therefore, the professor seemed unsure about what I wanted to ask her. I felt somewhat embarrassed and said to her hastily, “I am sorry. I didn’t mean to interrupt you,” realizing I could not adequately articulate the question. She replied, saying, “That’s okay Pierre. You’re not interrupting me. What question did you want to ask?” I remained silent for a while and then said, “Actually I don’t have any question. I am sorry.”
The truth was that I did not want to embarrass myself in front of my classmates for fear that I would not be able to make myself clear while asking questions about nativist theory. Nonetheless, because I was able to read English fairly well, I went home that day and carefully read the short section in my psychology textbook that addressed this theory and gained...
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