Since Kazakhstan is a multilingual and multicultural country, our government began to implement trilingual policy. Trilingual policy of Kazakhstan involves the acquirement of three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English. The implementation of trilingual policy has been stated as one of the major goals in the State Program of Education Development for 2011-2020 (SPED) that “Education quality is determined primarily by highly-qualified teachers”. Thus, in order to achieve the successful implementation of this policy, the government is focused on teachers’ professional development. Hence, it were opened Centers of Excellence (CoE) for training proficient teachers. The state program “Bolashak” extended its opportunity for teachers by enabling them to gain sufficient experience abroad. So, there are different areas which are taking part in the process of teachers’ training. The issue is whether linguists can efficiently participate in the process of development language teachers’ training or not. This essay will discuss the connection of linguistics and language teaching by concluding that linguists play the vital role in the training language teachers.
Linguistics is a study of language. It serves as a bridge between theory and practice in teaching foreign languages (Ogeyik, 2010). Meanwhile, the language teacher is a person who should support the relationship principles of theory and methods of practice in order to advance language teaching performance (Widdowson, 1984). So, linguists can teach language teachers how to use theory in practice as well as practice in theory. The effective applying connection between language theory and practice methods in the classroom allows students to acquire new topics on foreign language lessons for the long-term. As an example, during the lessons on explaining tenses, without any practical tasks just giving the definition of the tense will make the students just to memorize the topic for the short-term.
Linguists also study the linguistic branches such as phonetics, phonology, syntax and morphology. The acquirement of these branches by the language teachers helps them to gather more deep and precise insight into the nature of the language. For instance, during learning foreign language students face the problem with correct placement and manner of articulation resulting in wrong pronunciation of the sounds and words. The area that study characteristics of the speech sounds is the phonetics (Yule, 2010). Obtaining knowledge in phonetics lead teachers to identify the main reasons of making errors of students and apply the reliable methods of pronunciation teaching. As Wilkins (1972) claimed that teachers ought to avoid any misrepresentation in intonation or in sound production. In the case of Kazakhstani language policy, one more advantage of learning phonetics for teachers that certain phonetic feature of students’ mother tongue can help teach another language more easily. Thus, on the basis of knowledge of Kazakh and Russian phonetic system teachers can explain the pronunciation of the Russian language sounds in comparison with Kazakh sounds and vice versa.
Phonetics, syntax, grammar of the language is all that aims to describe the nature of the language (Wilkins, 1972). However, we could not talk about the language without concerning its social and historical background. It is considered by sociolinguists and diachronic linguists. As Honmei and Ni (2016) pointed out “If we want to master a language really, we must have an adequate knowledge of the rich social and cultural backgrounds in which the language exists; rich social and cultural knowledge also benefits the comprehension and use of language” (p.23). So teachers can teach how to use the social features of the foreign languages such as dialect, idioms or slangs appropriately on the current situation. Therefore, the awareness about sociolinguistics allows teachers alter teaching methods and techniques in accordance with socio-linguistic level of the studied language (Wilkins, 1972). In terms of diachronic or historical linguistics, it can enable teachers to create the language learning in the historical concept. For example, teachers can use their knowledge in diachronic linguistics during the explaining the origin of the words or why some expressions lost its usage in everyday speech. This type of teaching, where teacher is able to color the lesson topic with adding some more details and knowledge, can encourage students’ interest and motivation to further acquiring foreign language.
In conclusion, according to above mentioned statements I deem that linguistics have to be the integral part of training language teachers. Acquisition of knowledge and skills in various branches of linguistics allows teachers to make the lessons more meaningful and absorbing by managing applicable methods and techniques. As Wilkins (1972) stated that “value of the linguistics is by increasing [teacher’s] awareness of language, it makes him more competent and therefore a better language teacher” (p.32). Due to the linguistics, teachers are able to gain pertinent knowledge to be the competitive teacher in today’s demanding world. Thus, I can assume that linguists can make its own contribution to implementation trilingual policy in Kazakhstan by facilitating the teacher preparation programs.
Hongmei, Z., & Ni, W. (2016). Sociolinguistics and English Teaching in China. Theory & Practice In Language Studies, 6(4), 830.
Widdowson, H. G. (1984). The intensive value of theory in teacher education. English Language Teaching Journal, 38(2), 86-90.
Wilkins, D. (1972). Linguistics in language teaching (p. 229). London: Arnold.
Yule, G(n.d.). The study of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2010.
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