Iversen wrote:I have just read this thread through once more, and I have tried to think of a way to summarize the difference between the stance of Cainntear and mine, and now I think I have found it: for me illustrating a grammatical construction can definitely be reason enough to construct and use a sentence,
In principle, I'm OK with that, and it's not necessarily a difference between us.
It is not important whether the sentences correspond to the reality or not,
Sentences don't have to correspond completely to reality for me. The "I am English", "I am American" thing bugs me not simply because it's not true, but because there's a whole lot of identity issues involved in it for me. As a Scottish person, I'm often referred to as English, and there's a whole mess of imposed identity behind it, so I don't want to say it as an isolated sentence.
I can say it in the context of a role-play (theoretically), because then it's clear they're not my words.
I just don't want a teacher to tell me what to do,
...and yet you'd presumably be happy for a teacher to tell you to construct a use a sentence to illustrate a grammatical construction, so I'd argue that it comes back to the point I made above:
and I particularly loath being ORDERED to cooperate with others in such uncertain situations where I still struggle to understand and internalize something.
There is no clear point to the exercise.
I like role-play in theory, but I normally find myself hating it in practice.
At early stages, you simply don't have the range of language to make a genuine choice of what to say -- generally either comes down to parrot-a-phrase-and-pick-a-noun or mumble-some-Tarzan-speak.
It's not the lack of choice per se that bugs me, but it's the fact that I'm essentially expected to do more or less a particular thing without being explicitly told what's expected of me. It's justified on the grounds that if we were told what to do, it's not spontaneous speech, and this only bugs me more, because there's nothing particularly spontaneous about picking from the set menu of the current unit's phrases.
This sort of false role-play is a horrible head-twister because I have to think about multiple things simultaneously:
- What I could try to say in this situation.
- What I know how to say in this situation.
- What the teacher's expecting me to say.
- What we're supposed to be practising.
- What the other person/people in the role-play will understand.
That's a lot of cognitive load, and it's hugely frustrating. But crucially, that last one for me is the real killer -- the role-play often actively militates against me using what I know in the language, because it's intrinsic to the activity that I have to be understood by people who don't understand the language. Which makes the whole exercise pretty pointless.
But doing experiments for the sole sake of training mechanisms doesn't seem to be acceptable at all to Cainntear.
As I said above, that's not my view. But now that you've said that, surely role-plays as used in classrooms are "experiments for the sole sake of training mechanisms"...? Everything in teaching is, at its core.
And then it doesn't matter whether there are others around him or not, or whether there is supposed to be some abstract goal or not.
It doesn't matter whether there is an abstract goal -- it needs a concrete goal, and it needs to fulfill that goal, even if only partially.