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5.2. Other Resources You Might Want to Consider


There are a few books for language learners working on their own. Most of the ones that exist take a more old-fashioned approach to techniques and methods. The classic work is Larson and Smalley (1984). Brewster and Brewster (1976)and Marshall (1989)are spin-offs from it. The techniques they recommend have their roots in the Audiolingual Method, which no longer has wide support. However, these books contain much valuable material. Larson (1984)is a good guide to language functions and topics as they relate to the learner's expanding social life and integration into the community in which s/he is using the language. Brewster and Brewster (1976)provides a number of ideas for topics of conversation (chapter two), and some ideas for simple TPR activities (chapter three). As I say, I cannot wholeheartedly endorse the language learning method presented in chapter one, though I am aware that it has been a help to many people, and there was a time in my life when I encouraged people to use it. Its strength, in my opinion, is that it requires the learner to build a large number of personal relationships in which the language is used.

If you are setting out to learn a language independently, a book which proposes an approach to language learning similar in spirit to what I have proposed here is Burling (1984). Burling, an anthropologist, writes from his experience as a language learner in a variety of situations, and shows a good grasp of recent ideas in the field of second language education. In addition to Burling (1984), I highly recommend Brown (1991)which deals with a variety of issues that are important for every language learner to think about.

There are countless books on language learning activities. Sky Oaks Productions, Box 1102, Los Gatos, California 95031 will send on request a free catalogue of books and materials for use with TPR, and for using pictures for language learning.

Language teachers have developed an endless variety of games and other activities for encouraging students to use languages communicatively. These are designed for teachers planning classroom language lessons. I have felt that for the self-directed learner it may be better to have a small number of flexible and productive methods. If you are interested in surveying other possibilities you might start with the Cambridge Handbooks for Language Teachers published by Cambridge University Press (40 West 20th Street, New York, NY, 10011). The series includes books on the use of drama, games, stories, and pictures in language learning.

If you are interested in surveying a number of well-known language learning techniques, and the reasoning behind them, you might refer to Larsen-Freeman (1986), Oller and Richard-Amato (1983) , and Richards and Rodgers (1986).

Lists of language functions can be found in Brumfit and Johnson (1979), Finocchiaro and Brumfit (1983), Munby (1978), and Yalden (1987). A suggestive, if not outright helpful, book which combines the use of pictures with checklists of functions and vocabulary is Moran (1990).

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