Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 1 Introduction In the 1950s and 1960s learning a foreign language was perceived as a relatively straight-forward process. It was believed that the sole task learners needed to accomplish was to form language habits and associate certain stimuli with appropriate responses. Educators of that era reasoned that such goals could be achieved in the process of repetition and memorization of chunks of language, and required perseverance and consistency. Consequently, language classrooms placed an emphasis on accuracy and automaticity, and learner errors had to be eradicated at all costs. In fact, researchers and teachers concentrated their eﬀorts on pinpointing those areas of language in which learners would be most prone to commit errors. This kind of approach to foreign language learning and teaching quickly turned out to be ineﬀective, as learners leaving language classrooms were not necessarily able to communicate freely. Theoretical shifts in the ﬁeld of psychology and linguistics also pointed to the fact that the approach simply failed to reﬂect the true nature of language as a phenomenon and the process of learning. The last three decades have marked a revolution in the ﬁeld of language teach- ing and learning. A didactic paradigm shift has taken place, and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has become the leading pedagogical approach. The attention of educators has moved to the learning process, its outcomes, and to learners themselves. The paradigm shift has also implied a very abrupt departure from the extensive study of and emphasis on errors. Consequently, the...
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