Re: [xmca] Sinto Buli!

From: Mark (
Date: Wed Mar 14 2007 - 19:08:42 PST

Thank you David,

Actually I wasn't sure what was happening between our posts, I'm in a
position, being new, and halfway through an MA, not sure of what to believe
anymore. Or what to think of this whole EFL scenario either.

Point taken.

I do agree about Krashen, and yes, although I was trying to do some
comparisons, I do think that my comparisons were not accurate. As I said to
you before, there has become so much gray in the otherwise old black and
white that it seems all smoke and mirrors. I'll leave Krashen out of it. and
Nation too.

My belief is that there is a methodology in TEFL/TESL that can be brought
about by Vygotsky and his concept of ZPD. This will be my dissertation and
although there is some preliminary links already made between Vygotsky and
methodology, the current world of EFL doesn't seem to accept it. And
Vygotsky being virtually non-existent in Japan (I think they much have the
same views as the Koreans when it comes to their thinking), regardless of
how inaccurate or how inappropriate the teaching methods are - they are so
embedded in the culture that it will take so long to change - I am saying
this because change is inevitable if EFL is going to become anything more
than just a school subject to be studied for a test.

I have found a few books incredibly interesting

Wells, G. (1999) 'Dialogic Inquiry'. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge,
Ohta, A.S. (2001) 'Second Language Acquisition Processes in the Classroom'.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Mahwah, NJ.
Halliday, M.A.K. (1975) 'Learning how to Mean'. Edward Arnold Ltd. London,
UK. (maybe this applies to your final comment about being more interested in
what the children can do and mean rather than in what they understand).

I have just started to delve into Wells, so I'm not sure what it will bring
me, but I'm looking forward to it. Although I'm interested in how the ZPD
concept can bring about changes to methodology, I also need to make sure
that the methodology and approach proposed will work. Your final comment for
me is so important from that regard, since methodology in EFL doesn't focus
on the what they can do and mean aspect.

Being in the northern part of Japan, I am of the unfortunate position of not
being able to buy anything remotely foreign. I love my fruit, especially
mangoes, but the quality of anything that is non-Japanese is atrocious.

Thanks for your reply. Being new, well, I'll accept the 'newbie position'
for the time being, or until at least I can find my footing. Then, at least
I'll be able to stand my ground.


----- Original Message -----
From: "David Kellogg" <>
To: "xcma" <>
Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 8:42 AM
Subject: [xmca] Sinto Buli!

> 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).
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education
> ---------------------------------
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