Czech EFL

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Psychology for EFL

I've got a couple psychology courses at my university but I find myself struggling a bit with the underlying philosophy which is essentially about competition, ie. understand and handle your partner in order to make a profit. This clearly is in stark contrast with the kind of cooperation philosophy a teacher needs to embrace in order to be able to help and support their partner.

I vividly remember a role-play we did on a management course. Two people were supposed to get an amout of oranges to sort out a serious nationwide disaster in their respective countries. Most pairs were arguing for a good while to finally arrive at a kind of compromise (which lead to a loss of many lives anyway) while we were done in a matter of seconds because the very first question was: So what do you need? That way, we immediately realized that while I was after the skin my partner was after the juice! Sure, it was a little, easy-to-overlook detail but the win-win solution was one of cooperation, not competition.

However, there's a lot to psychology and all Krashen's followers keen on lowering the affective filter have to develop such skills. Personally, I could with a bit of training in this area.


  • At 12:06 PM, Blogger AJ said…

    Steer Clear!

    Ha! As a former "mental health worker" I advise you to steer clear of traditional psychology and focus more on practical disciplines such as leadership, management, coaching, and the like.

    Most of psychology (though not all) is based on the notion of pathology... an obsession with deviance and correction. Little of this is of use.

    My best advice is something our mamas might say:

    "Listen, and really care"

  • At 8:25 PM, Blogger Czech TEFLer said…

    Actually, I'm an Information Management undergraduate and the place where I study is obsessed with economics and business rather than anything else. All psychology courses are about management, communication, motivation etc. so I hope it eventually may be of some use. I've just decided, for example, to film one of my lessons and focus on non-verbal communication on my part. I'm waiting now if it gets the green light from my boss.

  • At 9:49 AM, Blogger AJ said…

    Body Language

    Great idea!!


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