In the previous two units you have been exploring naturally occurring language through the use of corpus analysis. It is now time to reflect on some aspects of this process, and to relate them to your own views on teaching and learning.

Think about your answers to these questions.

  • Do you like to find things out by yourself?
  • Do you like the idea of finding things out for yourself, but find it harder work than having somebody give you all the important ideas?
  • Do you feel comfortable if your students are given a chance to find things out for themselves or do you think it means that you will get asked lots of awkward questions?
  • Do you think that handing things over to students is a good way for teachers to have a bit of a break?
  • Do you think that 'discovery activities' are a good idea in theory, but in practice there just isn't time for that kind of luxury?
  • Does it seem that if you do discover something for yourself, you are more likely to remember it?
  • Do you feel happier with patterns rather than rules?
  • Do you ever despair of examples in textbooks that are so obviously 'made up'?
  • Do you think that students are motivated if they get a chance to explore 'real' language from time to time?
  • Do you think that teachers have a responsibility to let their students explore authentic/genuine/'real' language for themselves?
  • What is authentic/genuine/'real' language anyway?
  • Should this authentic/genuine/'real' language be that produced by native or non-native speakers?
  • Do you think that 'data driven' sounds a bit like something 'dull and computery?'

There are, of course, no right or wrong answers to the questions above. However, the kinds of answers you give raise important issues relating to the use of 'real' language in teaching and learning.

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