AIMS OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
TDBases of the Aims
P. Relationships between Aims of Secondary Education and Aims of the English Language Curriculum
@Aims are or ought to be the foundation of the school curriculum. The three major steps in curriculum development are: (1) Establishing the aims of the curriculum; (2) planning and carrying out experiences designed to help the pupil achieve the established aims; (3) evaluating the outcomes to ascertain the degree to which the aims have been achieved, including the reason for failure to achieve them as fully as expected and measures to improve teaching so that the aims can be more fully achieved. Once sound aims, which are educationally and sociologically justifiable, are established, there is no justification for having in the curriculum of the school any activity which is not squarely and clearly based upon a legitimate, stated aim.
@The fundamental aim of education in our country is stated in Article I of the Fundamental Law on Education:
@From the general aims of education we derive the aims of secondary education. In fact, the aims of secondary education are the general aims of education, as applied to the development of adolescent young people. From the aims of secondary education we derive the aims of each subject which is a part of the total curriculum of the secondary schools. If this philosophy is accepted, then the obvious conclusion is that the English language curriculum does not have separate and distinct aims of its own. It is in the curriculum because it is believed to contribute to the achievement of the aims of secondary education, and in turn to the achievement of the general aims of education. Hence, only those aims which are in accord with and derived from the aims of secondary education should be adopted for the English language curriculum.
Q. Aims of Secondary Education
@The aims of the secondary schools are stated in the School Education Law as follows:
2. To cultivate the fundamental knowledge and skill of vocation required in society, the attitude to respect labor, and the ability to select their future course according to their individuality.
3. To promote their social activities in and out of school, to guide the sentiments rightly, and to cultivate fair judgment.
Article 42 In the upper secondary school education, efforts shall be made to attain the objectives in each of the following items in order to realize the aim stated in the foregoing article:
2. To make them decide their future course according to their individuality on the basis of their consciousness of the mission they are to carry out in society; to cultivate higher general culture and to make them skilled in technical arts.
3. To cultivate broad and deep understanding and the ability of sound judgment regarding society, and to attempt the establishment of their individuality.
@The aims of secondary education should take into consideration the fact that although all young people have some needs in common, no two individuals are alike. There are differing needs, interests, and aptitudes that must be considered in planning curricula and the aims of the curriculum.
@In general it may be said that all young people of secondary school age have the following common needs, notwithstanding differences in the degree of these needs and the way in which they are manifested;
2. To live a happy, well-adjusted family life
3. To develop the capacity to solve problems by rational thinking based on facts
4. To develop their intellectual capacities
5. To learn how they are expected to behave as members of society, and to learn how to adjust to the demands of society, without submerging their own personalities
6. To be able to 1ook forward to and train for occupations which provide security, in which their talents and capacities can be used to the utmost, and in which they can achieve personal satisfaction, recognition, and success
7. To maintain and improve their physical, mental, and emotional health
8. To feel secure, to fit into the groups to which they belong, and to become competent, efficient members of society
9. To understand and appreciate the cultural heritage
10. To appreciate beauty in art, music, andDliterature
@If we examine these needs carefully, we shall find that the individual, in order to reach his fullest development, needs to achieve three kinds of competence as a human being: (1) individual competence; (2) social and civic competence; and (3) vocational competence. Thus it may be said the secondary schools will substantially meet the needs of the individual pupil as a member of the community and society if they
(2) help him develop into a desirable type of social being and a good citizen (social and civic competence)
(3) help him discover his vocational interests, abilities, and aptitudes, give him guidance in choosing a vocation, and help him prepare for a vocation (vocational competence).
@Still keeping in mind the needs of adolescent young people, it is desirable to break these three broad aims of secondary education into more specific aims, if they are to be of any practical use in constructing a curriculum. The following is a suggested statement of the specific aims of secondary education:
(2) To pass on to pupils the worthwhile elements of the cultural heritage:
b. To help them learn to understand and appreciate art, music, and literature
c. To help them achieve effective usage of the national language
(4) To help pupils achieve emotional stability
(5) To help them develop adequate means of recreation
(6) To guide development of physical
and mental Health
(2) To guide pupils in developing the ability to live and work efficiently and happily with other people
(3) To guide pupils in living and working together democratically
(4) To help them develop civic competence, or competence in political action
(5) To provide experiences in democratic living
(6) To help them become active members of their communities
(7) To help them understand the relationships between their community and the larger scene
(8) To help them become increasingly
able to think about and help solve public problems
(2) To help them choose an occupation suited to their needs, aptitudes, and interests
(3) To give some specific training which will equip them to secure and hold a position
(4) To help them get placed in a position, where such help is necessary and desirable
(5) To follow up the career of each student, and give further help and guidance, after graduation, when requested
(6) To help them develop respect for all legitimate, worthwhile, occupations, whether involving work of the mind or body
(7) To help them become wise, discriminating consumers of goods and services
@Without knowing and understanding individual and national differences as regards modes of life, customs, and manners, and without a desirable attitude toward those whose way of life, history, and culture are different from one's own, a student could not develop into a generous, world-minded citizen. A student, moreover, should develop into a citizen who contributes to the well-being of humanity in general. Otherwise, mastery of a foreign language will have little meaning. No acquired skill has any meaning apart from the purposes to which it is put.
R. Aims of the English Language Curriculum
@The aims of the English language curriculum are enumerated in the next section, and a study of these aims should show that they are based on the general aims of education and the aims of secondary education.
@It is to be noted, however, that the aims set down are the over-all aims and the major aims. There is no attempt made to set down the specific aimsCsince these would vary from community to community and from school to school, and, in factCfrom class to class, if not from student to student. The suggested programs for the lower and upper secondary schools appearing in this book will give an idea of what is meant by the specific aims, since a program is based on the over-all and the major aims. Once the meaning of and relationship between the general aims of education, the aims of secondary education, the over-all and the major aimsof the English language curriculum, and the specific aims that are based on these aims are clearly understood it should not be difficult to work out detailed outlines of student activities according to their needs and interests.
@For further study of the aims of secondary education, see the following references:
Chapters T and V, The New lower Secondary School, Ministry of Education, 1949
Part T, Bulletin on Curriculum of the Upper Secondary School, Ministry of Education, 1949
Aims of Secondary Education
P. Preliminary Remarks
`. Meaning of Integration
@Division of learning experiences into separate areas results in the setting up of separate courses in an entire curriculum. This division, however, is made for the sake of convenience in teaching. Consequently, a teacher must not regard any subject he is teaching as constituting something that is unrelated to other subjects in the curriculum. Nor must he imagine that what he is teaching can be divorced from any part of the entire curriculum or the aims of education. This fact, which is essentially the same philosophy of education as is given in the last section, is restated here because of its great importance. What we wish to add here is that just as a subject or course cannot be thought of apart from the general aims of education and, in our case, apart from the aims of secondary education, the experiences in listening, oral expression, reading, and writing cannot, in turn, be divorced from one another or from the cultural aims that form an integral part of all learning experiences in English. The individual cannot be separated into parts for purposes of education. The human individual exists, lives, functions, and reacts as one organism. This is the psychological foundation of the slogan"educating the whole pupil"
@From the foregoing, it is obvious that students do not or should not study English simply to know EnglishDThe aim must be much more fundamental than that. Just what place does English occupy in the development of individual, social and civic, and vocational competence? Going back to the list of aims of secondary education, English may be said to contribute to the achievement of the following among others :
(2) It can assist a great deal in passing on to pupils the worthwhile aspects of the cultural heritage, since increasingly culture is worldwide instead of national.
(3) It can assist in the development of character, since important ethical principles and practices are embodied in the language and its literature.
(4) It can contribute greatly to the development of social competence, by leading to an understanding of the worthwhile elements of the home life and social lives of English-speaking peoples, and to an understanding of the democratic heritage of the peoples of the world, which to an important extent was developed in English-speaking nations.
(5) It can contribute to vocational competence, since many occupations, particularly commercial occupations, are possible only with a mastery of English and since English has become, to an important degree, the commercial language of the world.
a. Some Cautions in Integration
@Although the philosophy of integration is highly important, so that no subject has a place in the curriculum unless it contributes to the growth of the individual student, it is neither wise nor educationally sound to insist that all subjects must contribute to all of the specific aims of secondary education.
@An example is shown in a bookP of how the teachers of the Latin Department of one secondary school, starting with a statement of seven aims of education, attempted to find in the field of Latin study as many experiences and as much material as possible which are related to these seven aims. For instance, one of these seven aims was"Keeping healthful and physically fit".The teachers strove desperately to find in the Latin course materials Which would contribute to the aim of making pupils physically fit.They tried to show that a study of Hannibal as an athlete, the healthful diet of the Romans, their cleanliness, their public baths, etc. might be expected to contribute to the aim of achieving physical efficiency, and they similarly tried to find ways in which Latin might contribute to the achievement of the other six aims. What this amounts to is an attempt to justify Latin by showing that it helps achieve the modern aims of education. @It has been stated that the fundamental aim of education is the individual, social and civic, and vocational development of the individual. Rather than engaging in a far-fetched study with the intention of showing how a foreign language contributes to all the aims of secondary education, it is much wiser to show realistically how it contributes to the development of boys and girls, and to some of the specific aims of secondary education. If it can be shown, that a foreign language does contribute to pupil development, then it is not necessary to go further afield in search of aims. The fallacy of the example given above is that if one of the aims of secondary education is the achievement of physical well being, the Latin course must contribute to this aim, while, in fact, this aim might much more expeditiously be achieved by reading about Hannibal, the daily baths of the Romans, and other matters having to do with their cleanliness in the translations of the classics, rather than in the original Latin. It is better to justify English by showing how learning to understand, speak, read, and write the language contributes directly to pupil development.
@This question leads us to a point in the English language program itself, for it is possible to fall into an erroneous concept of the relationship between the functional and cultural aims. One of the dangers is that in the case of those teachers emphasizing the functional or linguistic aspects, the cultural aspect, is apt to be slighted. On the other hand, there is also a danger of emphasizing the cultural aspect at a loss of attention to the functional or linguistic aspects. In both cases, the students must suffer. They must suffer because in either case it means that the teaching is one-sided. This is because the "speech" of a people cannot be divorced from their ways of life, nor their ways of life, when teaching their "speech", from their "speech". We are not discussing methods of teaching foreign languages in this book, but cannot avoid touching upon a vital underlying principle, since in discussing the aims of teaching we are discussing what can actually be set up in a program and taught students. The separation, therefore, in the aims that follow into functional and cultural is purely artificial and used only as a convenient way of stating them for practical use in building up an English course.
@There is a danger on the part of a teacher tending to devote undue attention to the cultural aspect to imagine that he is contributing to his students' knowledge and understanding of a foreign civilization to an extent not done even by a social studies teacher. That the cultural knowledge of a people given in a foreign language class is not or hardly greater than that of students not taking the language has been verified in a number of experimentsQ. The conclusion is that unless greater stress is laid on the cultural aspect than is usually done in a foreign language class, students will not know more about the foreign country or people than those not taking the language. The question then is, should we lay greater stress on the cultural aspect? Common sense would lead us to say "No" very definitely, if it means any sacrifice in the development of the linguistic skills. In teaching a foreign language, if the culture of a people can be learnt in the vernacular just as or almost as much outside of the course, it is a sheer waste of time to spend undue time on the cultural aspect. The students are, in a well-planned course under a competent teacher, taught the culture of the people whose language they are studying as an integral and inseparable part of the language. This is a vital point we have stressed already. b. Aims as a Motivation
@We now come to the question of motivationCa subject of utmost importance in teaching.
@Unless the teacher has a clearly set goal, his teaching will become disorganized. Consequently, the aims of the English language curriculum will mean nothing unless they become the aims of the teacher himself. What is even more important is to have them become the students' aims, because when students are studying to achieve their own ends, they will learn more rapidly and will retain what they learn much longer. Without interest or realization of a need students cannot be expected to do good work. The students themselves must realize that what they are doing is contributing to their individual, social, and vocational competence, especially if teaching is to be pupil-contered. It must be added here that one of the important reasons for recommending the teaching of not only useful but interesting matter is that interest is of supreme importance. Moreover, the content must be worth while the students in order that they can see how it is contributing to the achievement of their aims. It is therefore obvious that the mere statement of aims here means nothing unless pupils are guided into accepting them as their own. Some ways by which this might be accomplished are taken up in the volume on teaching methods.
@This question of having the aims serve as a means of motivation applies equally to each unit, if the unit method of organization is employed, and, in short, applies to every activity that is carried out in any program. To put it in a nutshell, it means that the activites in which student engage as apart of the English language curriculum must be meaningful to them in terms of accomplishing their own aims, and they must be able to see the definite place which their activities occupy in the whole educational program of which English to them is an integral part.
2. Aims of the Lower Secondary School English language Curriculum
`. The Over-all Aim
(b) in developing skills in reading or writing experiences the skills acquired in listening may serve as a necessary foundation and criterion for the acquisition of such skills.
(b) in developing skills in reading or writing experiences the skills acquired in oral expression may serve as a necessary foundation and criterion for the acquisition of such skills.
(b) in developing skills in writing, experiences the skills acquired in reading may serve as a necessary criterion and complement in the acquisition of such skills.
(b) the development of such an appreciation and attitude may serve as a sound foundation for those taking more advanced work in or outside of the upper secondary school,
(c) the development of such an appreciation and attitude, together with the linguistic skills acquired, may contribute toward students' individual, social, and vocational competence,
(d) the development of such an appreciation and attitude,together with the linguistic skills acquired, may serve as an important part in education for peace.
`. The Over-a11 Aim
(b) the graduate may be able to read matter written in English with profit,
(c) the graduate may be able to read and appreciate standard modern works of literature written in English,
(d) the graduate, if he so requires, may have a practical command of commercial English.
Note: For the major cultural aims,
(b) such students may be able, when occasions arise,to express themselves effectively in English, orally and in writing,
(c) in developing proficiency in reading or writing experiences the skills acquired in oral expression may serve as a necessary foundation and criterion for the acquisition of such proficiency,
(d) in the case of students who may specialize in certain fields of English or of some other languages, whether theoretical or practical, such skills and knowledge may serve in the case of English as a necessary, and in the case of other languages as a valuable, foundation.
(b) such students may be able to gather and to make use of information written in English on technical subjects, especially since a great deal of such literature is available in English, both in the original and in translation.
(b) he may be able to broaden knowledge of ways and philosophy of life beyond his community or nation, so that he may contribute better to the welfare of mankind within his sphere of ability,
(c) he may be able to express himself more effectively in writing than if he did not possess such skills and knowledge,
(d) in the case of students who may specialize in certain fields of English, particularly literature, or in certain fields of some other languages, such skills and knowledge may serve in the case of English as a necessary, and in the case of other languages as a valuable, foundation.
(b) such students may already be
equipped with a general knowledge of British and American commercial practices,
which is an integral part of such a course.
(b) the development of such an appreciation and attitude may serve as a sound foundation for those going on into college and university work,
(c) the development of such an, appreciation, and attitude, together with the linguistic skills acquired, may contribute toward the students' individual, social, and vocational competence,
(d) the development of such an
understanding, appreciation, and attitude, together with the linguistic
skills acquired, may serve as an important part in education for peace.
`. Meaning of language as"Speech"
@The reader will have noticed that every major functional aim, both in the lower and upper secondary school, contains in its wording the termeEnglish as"speech"' This is because it is English as"speech" that the teacher is to teach and not English as"code", except in so far as the latter contributes to the former. In short, the English teacher in the lower and upper secondary school should concentrate on teaching English speech and not on teaching the English language. The distinction drawn between speech and language (or language-code) by a number of prominent authorities in the field of linguistics is of great importance to the teacher of EnglishR. The reason is that English as"speech" has a definite place in a secondary school, while English as"language" has not, except as it contributes to the development of skills in English as"speech".
@The difference in the meaning of the two terms lies in the fact that the term"speech" means language as a means language as a means of communication, both in its oral and written forms, while the term"language-code" means"the set of linguistic conventions embodied in the English dictionary and the most complete English grammar ever written or conceived"S. Gardiner, in the book referred to in the footnote, tells us that the unit of language is the word, and that the unit of speech is the sentence. Harold Palmer says,"The learning of a science is concerned particularly with our powers of thought, our degree of intelligence. The learning of an art is concerned particularly with our muscular reactions, our degree of skill."T It is this latter and functional sense that the term English as"speech" carries. In other words, we are considering"language-learning to mean learning how to use a language in its spoken and written, receptive and productive aspects."T If this point is clearly borne in mind it matters little whether the sentence, as Gardiner declares, is the unit of"speech", or whether something smaller is.
@The reason for using the term"oral expression" instead of"speaking" in the over-all and major aims is that"speaking" is not the only type of"oral expression" in a language.
@The nature of English to be taught may be determined by its acceptability and utility as a means of communication.
@In order that it may be acceptable, it should be the speech of educated English-speaking peoples. To go beyond this would be unpractical and unrealistic. One of the reasons is that dialectal and personal differences do not matter, so long as the speech of the person using a dialect is readily understood by and acceptable to the great majority of educated English-speaking peoples. There are British linguists. who recommend some type of American speech while there are American linguists who recommend some type of British speech for foreign students of English. This is hardly the place for going into the scientific reasons such scholars offer. But it will be enough to show that the question of acceptability or preference is a matter in which opinions of authorities in the field of linguistics are not at all united. Moreover, it is considered unscientific to say that a certain dialect is superior to another simply on grounds of any public or personal opinion which, in its turn, varies. Furthermore, there is no standard speech either in Britain or the United States in the sense in which there is standard Japanese. The British Received Standard, for instance, is only a standard, and is not a standard officially accepted to be taught all children by the central government. Nor is there any unanimously accepted standard in America. Some types of British speech, moreover, are very much like some types of American speech, while some types of American speech are very much like some types of British speech. For instance, to say arbitrarily that the British do not pronounce the final retroflex rfs, or that their afs are broad would be incorrect, as there are Britishers that have not been influenced by American speech that pronounce the final retroflex rfs and use the flat afs. Similarly, it would be incorrect to say arbitrarily of Americans that their speech is characterized by the final retroflex rfs and flat afs, as there are Americans that have not come under the influence of British speech that do not pronounce the final retroflex rfs nor use the flat afs. Of course, it must be remembered that while the use or non-use of the final r in the pronunciation is to all intents and purposes a uniform phenomenon in the speech of any person, the use or non-use of the flat or the broad a is by no means a uniform phenomenon, since no Britisher pronounces all his afs broad and no American pronounces all his afs flat.U
@In the preceding paragraph reference was made to the British Received Standard. Some knowledge about this form of speech would be highly valuable to Japanese teachers, because the pronunciation given in most, if not all, English-Japanese dictinaries represents this pronunciation, which also goes by the name of Public School Pronunciation. The reasons offered by Harold Palmer for recommending this particular type of pronunciation are based on scientific grounds.V But teachers are asked to read literature on phonetics for a study of its nature, if they intend to teach this type of pronunciation or one approaching it. However, it must always be borne in mind that one cannot teach any type of pronunciation which he himself does not habitually use, and it may be said with fair accuracy that the majority of Japanese teachers of English do not use a pronunciation popularly regarded as characteristically British or characteristically American. For the sake of those unfamiliar with what is meant by Received Standard, mention is made here that it is that type of pronunciation which is most usually heard in the everyday speech of families in the South of England, educated at the public schools. It is, moreover, the only pronunciation that is independent of locality and exists all over the Eng1ish-speaking world. In its modified form, it is known as the Modified Standard.It is not a pronunciation used by the majority of English-speaking peoples but by a rather small minority, and it is fairly universally understand. It is furthermore,"the one pronunciation-dialect of English that has been fully analyzed by competent observers," and"more textbooks using this pronunciation have been published and are far more widely known than any other textbooks."W
@Modified Standard is a pronunciation in which the Received Standard has been modified by a regional pronunciation. For instance, a Scotchman may use a pronunciation that approximates the Received Standard, in which certain local characteristics of his region are evident.
@The renowned American phonetician, G. P. Krapp, tells us,"In Eng1and as in America differing opinions are held on the question of standard speech, though both scholars and general public seem pretty well agreed that Southern British has greater right to be regarded as standard than any other form of British speech.Northern British, however, stands a good deal closer to American English than does Southern British. In fact it is only rather extreme forms of Southern British which seem markedly different from American Speech."X Krapp, however, is speaking in broad terms, since classification of dialects, both social and regional, cannot simply be in terms of British and American, for reasons already given. Hence, our position again is that the nature of the English to be taught should be the speech of educated English-speaking peoples, because educated English-speaking peoples have very little difficulty in understanding each other. Also it is because if a person speaking one form of speech found a certain amount of difficulty when confronted by a form of speech considerably different from the one with which he is acquainted, the same handicap would apply to a person speaking any other form of speech. @It is generally recommended that slang should not be taught,especially in the earlier stages. The main reason is not that slang is in itself bad, because to those who use it may be all right. The reason is rather that slang for one thing is of an ephemeral nature and is not normally used in serious speech. Since language as speech is a social medium of intercourse, it would be to one's disadvantage to waste time learning expressions that are not considered acceptable in the educated speech of a people. Also, because slang is effective in certain particular situations, the foreign student of English is apt to use expressions in wrong contexts or situations and so make himself appear absurd. Another reason for not teaching slang is that it is slip-shod and can take the place of so many better expressions that one becomes addicted to it and becomes unable to use good, standard expressions. Besides, there is also a danger on the part of student of confusing slang expressions with expressions regarded as good or idiomatic, as well as a danger of slang expressions, because of their wide applications,taking deeper root in the speech habits of the student.
@Since English is not only the speech of English-speaking peoples but is an international language as well, the chief point to consider is its degree of utility. Consequently, the minimum standard that should be expected of any student is that he make himself understood without much difficulty. This would mean, among other things, that a student's pronunciation and intonation should be sufficiently correct to prevent misunderstanding. For instance, he should be taught so as at least not to confuse one significant sound such as th in thick with s in sick, r in road with l in load, ir in bird with ar in bard, or oa in boat with ough in bought. Similarly, he should be taught to discriminate one structural pattern from another. Intonation is equally, if not more, important than pronunciation, but this is not the place to discuss the problem. It would be sufficient to say here that such things as differences in stress or intonation have tremendous influences on the meaning of what is said, a change in stress or intonation often changing the meaning or sense of what is said completely.
b. Progression and Proportion
It is stated in the over-all aim of the upper secondary school that the teaching should be based on the foundation laid in the lower secondary school. This does not mean that the teaching is to be superimposed on the foundation laid, as if it were or could be an independent thing. There must be a gradual and a perfectly natural progression in the teaching, just as there should be such a progression between the grades in both the lower and upper secondary school. It would be unsound to start teaching English or American literature in the 10th grade without due preparation, just as it would be to start the art of reading or writing without due preparation. In the beginning stage the matter taught would be largely functional, because student would not have enough knowledge of English to be taught matter of a very contextual nature. But the progression from the one to the other should be gradual. Otherwise, the teaching will suffer. It is thus seen that the matter of progression is closely connected with that of proportion. If because of an emphasis on the reading aspect in an upper secondary school the teacher were to concentrate on reading without due regard to the students' previous training in language or speech habits, the teaching would be bound to suffer. Thus, when we say that the"emphasis on the skills to be developed" may or should vary"with students' and local community needs and interests," we mean that the varying can be done effectively only when careful attention is paid to the question of progression and proportion.
1 See Roy C. Billet,"Current Thought and Practice in the Field of Secondary-School Foreign-language Instruction" Fundamentals of Secondary-School Teaching, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, N.Y., Chicago, etc., Copyright, 1940, pp. 332-333 .
2 See Robert D. Cole, Modern Foreign Languages and their Teaching, Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc. N.Y., Copyright, 1937, p. 577
3 For a full study of the subject read A.H.Gardiner, The Theory of Speech and Language, Oxford, 1932
4 Harold and Dorothe Palmer, English Through Actions, Institute for Research in English Teaching, Tokyo, Copyright, 1939, P. ix
5 Harold E. Palmer, The Five Speech-learning Habits, Institute for Research in English Teaching, Tokyo, Copyright, 1938, pp. 1-2
6 For further study see H. L. Mencken, The American Language, Chap. VII,"The Pronunciation of American", Alfred A. Knopf, New York, fourth edition, pp. 319-378
7 See Harold E. Palmer, The Principles of English Phonetic Notation, Institute for Research in English Teaching, Tokyo, 1928, pp. 51-57
8 Ibid. p. 56
9 George Philip Krapp, The Pronunciation of Stardard English in America. Oxford University Press, American Branch, New York, Copyright, 1919, p. xi. Quoted by permission of the publishers.