Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A three-dimensional understanding of communicative language ability 7/7


5.1 Innovating understanding

The standard assessment framework of accuracy, fluency and complexity cannot assess the mindreading ability, which is considered a basis of interpersonal communication or interaction.

Non-linguistic physical ability plays a very important role in actual communication, though it is usually dropped from the items of a paper-based standardized test.

Innovating our understanding of second language communication is crucial.

Imposition of a standardized test without a good understanding of second language communication is detrimental.

"Something that we know when on one asks us, but no longer know when we are supposed to give an account of it, is something that we need to remind ourselves of (and it is obviously something of which for some reason it is difficult to remind oneself.) " Wittgenstein (1953, Section 88)

5.2 Consistency and diversity

Consistency and diversity in curriculum should be maintained and developed through innovating our understanding of second language communication.

5.3 Remaining issues

'Emergence' in interaction
Literacy and written language.
Integrity and humanity
Why communicative language ability alone?


Bachman, L.F. (1990) Fundamental considerations in language testing. Oxford University Press.
Bachman, L.F. and A.S. Palmer (1996) Language testing in practice. Oxford University Press.
Baron-Cohen, S. (1997) Mindblindness. Bradford Books.
Chomsky, N. (1965) Aspects of the theory of syntax. The MIT Press.
Chomsky, N. (1986) Knowledge of language. Praeger
McNamara, T.F. (1996) Measuring second language performance. Longman.
McNamara, T.F. (1997) 'Interaction' in second language performance assessment: Whose performance? Applied Linguistics, Vol. 18, No. 4. pp. 446-466.
Sperber and Wilson, (1986/1995) Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Blackwell.
Sperber, D. and D. Wilson. (2002) "Pragmatics, modularity and mind-reading." In Mind & Language, Vol.17. Nos 1 and 2. pp. 3-23.
Widdowson, H.G. (1983) Learning purpose and language use. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Wittgenstein, L. (1953) Philosophical investigations. Blackwell.

No comments: