<![CDATA[Victor Kane - Linguathon Blog. Go Fast. Go Slow. Find Words. Together.]]>/Ghost 0.5Tue, 06 Mar 2018 12:46:30 GMT60<![CDATA[More foundation books for this edifice]]>mo' books

We've already mentioned the importance of Bleger's work for Linguathon. Now, what do these books have in common?

  • Lev Vygotsky (influenced Bleger of course, and Brown too)
  • H. Douglas Brown (the great systematizer, distilled principles and synthesized them into a whole flexible approach)
  • Seymour Papert (convinced me we need the Grammar toy, the Pronunciation Toy, the Learning Toy, everything a toy, toy and made by ourselves as we learn...)

These works will be coming up a lot...

/more-foundation-books-for-this-edifice/fb8258e2-7233-409a-a503-3b98cc0f1c87Mon, 31 Dec 2012 16:01:00 GMT
<![CDATA[The one who does the talking does the learning]]>Learning by teaching to play huge role in Linguathon approach to English Language Learning.

Learning by teaching as a methodology has huge implications for online English Language learning motorized by social networking empowerment, as part of the learning process itself. See also The Vygotsky Connection:

In the 1930s Lev Vygotsky wrote extensively, in Russian, on the profound connection between language and cognition, and in particular oral language (speech) and learning. The implication of Vygotsky's observations for Learning by Teaching would appear to be direct and apt. "The one who does the talking, does the learning" may best summarize the point: students learn by teaching their peers.

As explained in the The Communicative Competence Matrix as Syllabus, Tracker and Network, learners acquiring English Languange Communicative Competence together as a group is not an arrangement that arises simply as a question of social fun, or convenience, or even as the democratic need for learners not to be artifically separated from each other. Even though it is all of these things. Learners learning together is the best form of interaction, the best way for Frames and Learning Issues to be worked through, and is inherent in the significance of the Matrix as Network.

In and of itself, and as praxis.

/learning-by-teaching-to-play-huge-role-in-linguathon-approach/ea184378-2462-4122-a0fb-e0c5b13fcf3fTue, 18 Dec 2012 16:18:00 GMT
<![CDATA[What do we want? English!]]>When do we want it? Now!

My ELL library and writings from 1983 to present

My old papers and teaching aids from the 70's and 80's are sitting right next to me on my desk, as you can see. I've decided to publish them here, with their original dates, since they have a lot to do with how we do and think about English Language learning. Will be adding new stuff every day, with all decades firing. Hope you come by and visit often! If you feel like it please send us your feedback, we'd be glad to hear from you.


Where you can organize your own social language learning center online. As learners or as teachers. Visit what will soon become our Linguathon social learning platform and come back here to our blog to find out how and why we are making it happen.

/we-want-english-and-we-want-it-now/2311db5c-1221-4024-8eca-02ce31f246d1Thu, 12 Jul 2012 12:29:00 GMT
<![CDATA[The Competence Matrix as Syllabus, Tracker and Network]]>The Matrix is an interconnected network of roles, case, syntax, and phonics reflecting historic human activity taking place in any given semantic frame of reference. Each Frame, with its unity of objectives, domain, community and work, delimits a subnetwork of connections between those matrix points involved and the specific human population and activity itself in the course of its development.

The ideal language learning Syllabus would be a progression of semantically driven Frames organized as proximal zones of development in the learner's specific adquisition of that language.

Given that the Matrix constitutes 100% language competence, it could also be used as an evaluation tool, but care would have to be taken for that to not be too mechanical or opinionated.

But we certainly have an ideal Tracker, which would reflect the specific path of issues generated by the passage of each learner through the Frames, a history of all their connections and experience on the Matrix itself, and so an objectivization of communicative competence in actual practice at any given point in time.

So the Matrix is a Syllabus, or learning framework (actually a set of Frames!), a Tracker; but is nothing without being a Network also in the sense of community. A community Network may be organized around the population of learners working with a given Frame. This may be by chance (you can find others working on the same Frame) or a group of Learners may choose to adopt a given Syllabus in conjunction with a tasks and activities organized by Tutors and made available by Coaches.

So the Matrix is a Network many times over, not only as a the set of networked components of any given Frame, and as the population instantiating the case roles in the development of an activity involving the Frame, but also in the Network of Tutors, Coaches and Learners working in the Course of a Syllabus.

Note: The term Grid was originally used instead of Matrix prior to 2014, although competence was used as early as 1983 via critical readings of Chomsky. Replaced with Matrix for the sake of continuity with the current, less mechanical and more powerful terminology.

/the-competence-matrix-as-syllabus-tracker-and-network/a9e825a8-9b0c-472b-8272-8f02bd8affe8Thu, 12 Jul 2012 12:27:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Feeling bad about saying "in English!" on the first day of spring]]>So they were talking and I realized they were enjoying themselves. I realized they were talking. Very happy on the first day of Spring here in Buenos Aires. Then one of the ladies said "Me di cuenta (I realized that…) ¿Cómo se dice?"

"In English!" I said sternly. "I realized: I realized it was time for lunch."

They all looked sharply at me. I had broken the mood. I had repressed the learner. She had wanted to say it in English and there was no way except via translation to acquire that term.

As the ladies left, to have lunch together actually, I was left wondering about the advisability of prohibiting Spanish in the classes, and how things would work if I allowed the occasional prompt from L1 (Language one: first language, mother tongue).

Wouldn't things get out of hand? Well, hopefully.

Resolution: gently ignore L1 use, especially if it's the only way to meet learning objectives. Positively reinforce flow of use in English!

/feeling-bad-about-saying-stop-talking-in-spanish/5fc35ed3-23d5-409e-829d-3689185024f1Sat, 21 Sep 1985 11:44:00 GMT
<![CDATA[File under Rolling Stones Songbook]]>Listening to the 6pm group, need to help with expression "Fade away"…

OK, this is easy, grabbed cassette, fast forwarded to handy written out index on cassette cover, hit the Play button… Not Fade Away…

Very effective, just afraid the 45 seconds or more it took didn't destroy the operative emergent.

While the song was playing, I searched for the lyrics printed out, but no luck. Anyway, it was effective.

/file-under-rolling-stones-songbook/88f5b4ff-7f16-436f-8908-7404d6cad88fFri, 12 Aug 1983 11:49:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Presenting the Competence Matrix language adquisition framework]]>All of language is based on an activity situation. Each situation has a central frame of reference. The Present frame of reference, for example, where you have things which are happening and things that are going to happen. You have a constellation of verbal tenses and other structures which form a network of cohesion, within an interconnected web of threads, a cohesive concatenation which binds the situation together as a whole; reflecting an accessible moment of concatenated reality.

The frame of reference constitutes an interlocking network of objects, activity and phenomena reflected in a web of linguistic tenses and structures (threads) existing only in relation to one another.

The traditional approach to language adquisition has been

  • to abstract and to isolate the threads from the active moment, or situation, they reflect and/or represent; and
  • to abstract and to isolate the threads from each other, from their natural interlocking nature, their inter-relating and reciprocal forms of existence.

The threads have this character because they reflect concatenated objects and phenomena historically accessible to us in reality, in the real world of work and activity. They do not function as language because of the structure. They have the structure because they function as language in their ongoing process of development.

As a result, traditional forms of language adquisition have demanded of learners that they perform in a manner for which they have not been trained. This gives rise to "the jerks", a particular form of "experimental neurosis" in every learner, a continuing spasmodic non-operative non-process of continual, harsh self-correction which paralyzes and blocks operative communication.

We would like to analyze why this happens and then to propose some concrete solutions that can be actively applied in class.

The point of departure may be to begin working on the basis of the Present frame of reference or matrix, that is, with the Present matrix, where all related tenses and structures mesh in contact with actual use and in the context of generated discourse; reflecting a given active moment of interconnected activity, objects and phenomena.

Note: The term Grid was originally used instead of Matrix prior to 2014, although competence was used as early as 1983 via critical readings of Chomsky. Replaced with Matrix for the sake of continuity with the current, less mechanical and more powerful terminology.

/presenting-the-competence-matrix-language-adquisition-framework/0f6899d5-ab69-417a-8b4a-00e204665187Tue, 28 Jun 1983 12:39:00 GMT
<![CDATA[Upon Reading Bleger "Operative Groups"]]>Bleger, *Temas de psicología*

I've been reading about Operative Groups, specifically "Grupos operativos en la enseñanza" by José Bleger. From the book:
Temas de Psicología, (Entrevista y grupos) published by Nueva Visión, Buenos Aires 1978. pp 57-86.

First of all, the phrase "Enseñaje", a conglomeration of "Teach" (enseñar) and "Learn" (aprender) into a single word. Possible candidates in English? Tearn? Suggestions welcome.

If I start quoting Bleger I'll just recopy the article here [edit 2012: you can find it on the web, for example, here]. But here is the part explaining "Enseñaje":

[English] There's no human being incapable of teaching something, even if only due to the simple fact of having had a certain amount of life experience.... Learning and teaching are so solidly interrelated that, frequently, in the operative groups focusing on this subject a neologism was coined, which first appeared as a Freudian slip, integrating both terms: "Tearn" (Enseñaje)

[Spanish] No hay ser humano que no pueda enseñar algo, aunque más no sea por el simple hecho de tener cierta experiencia de vida.... Aprendizaje y enseñanza están tan solidariamente relacionados que, con frecuencia, en los grupos operativos que se ocupan de este tema se acuñó un neologismo, que primero apareció como lapsus, y que integra ambos términos: “Enseñaje”.

The main point for me is that we all stand equally speechless before the world, teacher and learner. By actively investigating and working in the world together, while respecting each other's investigation and work, learner and teacher must join in the mystery of finding words. First, by finding together the necessary awe, second, by admitting that we are left speechless and at a loss for words, and then, finding the words together.

In order to be able to teach you have to discover the awe of being lost for words, and to be able to share this with the learners, letting them feel the awe and awesomeness of the world. In other words, teach by allowing the learner to build upon their own necessity for language instead of thrashing about in a sea of impotence.

The teacher's role is not to push ready chewed abstract static schema down the language learner's throat. The teacher's role is to guarantee that language be respected as an instrument of knowledge about the world and that learning a language is learning about the world in that language. No-one can learn a language as an object of learning in and of itself. You have to learn about the world in that language.

So the teacher detects and encourages the learner's necessity for expression, offering exposure to the appropriate materials which can then be freely reused, in the precise moment in which they can be given expression.

So, graded materials and a methodology, or approach based on various methodologies in order to enrich the task and enrich the learner's experience.

A constant rediscovery of the world for teacher and learner alike.

/upon-reading-bleger-operative-groups/24a00504-cef5-4e8f-9f43-fc4babaec172Tue, 10 Aug 1982 11:30:00 GMT