Sorry, Mark. I didn't mean to be the one who beats up on the new kid. I was a new kid for many years on this list (just lurking and ordering books and reading them everytime somebody mentioned a long Russian name). And I still (as you can see) post things that are really out in left field as far as most people on the list are concerned.
But by now you've probably read enough so that you realize that XCMA is far more concerned with what Vygotsky thought than with what Krashen thinks, and that to describe Vygotsky as "child centred" is in many ways highly misleading (as you can see if you read Mike's contribution to the discussion of how Vygotsky did his concept formation experiments), and that when I say the Klingons won the Cold War, I'm really talking about the Yanks.
All of which might make you think that my complaints about Krashen and Florida oranges are simple anti-Americanism. There is, perhaps, something of that, since I was born in the USA and have never really gotten over it, but I want to suggest that there is a lot more to it. This year the Florida harvest is particularly tasteless, and is being dumped at below production costs on our shores. By happy coincidence, the harvest of hallabongs (the sweet, luscious misshapen grape-fruit sized tangerines that grow on the slopes of Mount Halla on Cheju Island, in the South Sea off the main peninsula of Korea) is not very good this year, so they are comparable prices. And most people agree with me, they would rather eat a sour hallabong than a tasteless Florida navel, even though they are not American.
Partly this is the Korean sentiment of "sinto buli", which roughly translates as "body and soil are not two!", in other words, if you are of Korean body, you should eat products of the Korean soil. This is expressed in other ways as well. When Koreans die, they bury their bodies in the ground, and when they sacrifice to the ancestors, they EAT the offerings, because, of course, it all ends up in the same place.
Now, I think the key problem of foreign language teaching here in Asia is related to this. Body and soil are not two, and body and mind are not two too. We need ways of making an apparently FOREIGN language assimilable by Korean minds. This is why there is endless discussion of whether English is a case of English as a Second Language or English as a Foreign Language or English as an International Language.
It's none of the above. It's a school subject, and as a school subject it will inevitably be assimilated (in children's minds and in teacher's minds) to the other subjects of the curriculum. That is the way it is, and that is the way it should be, because of "sinto buli".
You write of Nation's work on comprehensibility and you assume that this is directly applicable to "i + 1". Even if I accepted that it was, I could not accept that "i + 1" is applicable to what I do. You see, the 95% of what Nation is talking about is a imported language, and I believe that language is a matter of "hunsin buli" (that is, body and mind are not two). Right now I am more interested in what the children can do and mean than in what they "understand" (whatever that means).
Seoul National University of Education
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