I can well imagine some readers of this blog accusing me of over-privileging the emotional and sensory world of the reader and forgetting that a reader may well have a powerful intellect.

If I have done this I have to take some blame. In my defence, though, let me say that it is hard to live in a world like the EFL one that thinks mainly in terms of cognitive skills and behaviours and largely ignores the affective and the sensory side of life.

I can certainly be accused of over generalising in the texts I have written in this blog. It is clear that a student with a highly developed logical-mathematical intelligence will handle text internally in a pretty cognitive way. This, however, will not stop them from adding the colouring of their previous ideas on the topic to their reception of the text.It is also probable that a very spatially intelligent reader will will tend towards a visual inner representation of the text. I remember a text on the car industry with a bar graph and one student elaborated the graph as a tune in his head! I was gob-smacked! I have to admit I thought he was taking his musical intelligence to extremes but this tells you more about the narrowness of my imagination than anything else. Surprises like this are normal in student centred teaching.

There may  be blog readers who feel that I think of reading and listening as part of an exploration of the reader's inner self rather than an exploration by the readers or listeners of the incoming text. I think that the two are inextricably linked and that all text exploration is inevitably exploration of self. I fully agree with the tenets of DUET university literature teachers' movement ( UK.)   They say that to get a degree in English Literature a student should do the following things:  learn to actualise literary text through dramatisation

                                   be involved in a self-discovery process through group therapy sessions

                                   do creative writing themselves

This is a very different approach to the reading of literature from the normal " literary criticism" approach with its stress on the cognitve and the analytical. DUET's request to the university student of English Literature is know theyself in order to know the text.

I am writing to you from my office at home and have maybe become too discursive today!!!

 Warmly yours,    Mario

 

                                            

                                            

                           

Comments

[quote=Mario Rinvolucri]

Dear Everybody,

                        I can well imagine some readers of this blog accusing me of over-privileging the emotional and sensory world of the reader and forgetting that a reader may well have a powerful intellect. If I have done this I have to take some blame. In my defence, though, let me say that it is hard to live in a world like the EFL one that thinks mainly in terms of cognitive skills and behaviours and largely ignores the affective and the sensory side of life.

I can certainly be accused of over generalising in the texts I have written in this blog. It is clear that a student with a highly developed logical-mathematical intelligence will handle text internally in a pretty cognitive way. This, however, will not stop them from adding the colouring of their previous ideas on the topic to their reception of the text.It is also probable that a very spatially intelligent reader will will tend towards a visual inner representation of the text. I remember a text on the car industry with a bar graph and one student elaborated the graph as a tune in his head! I was gob-smacked! I have to admit I thought he was taking his musical intelligence to extremes but this tells you more about the narrowness of my imagination than anything else. Surprises like this are normal in student centred teaching.

There may  be blog readers who feel that I think of reading and listening as part of an exploration of the reader's inner self rather than an exploration by the readers or listeners of the incoming text. I think that the two are inextricably linked and that all text exploration is inevitably exploration of self. I fully agree with the tenets of DUET university literature teachers' movement ( UK.)   They say that to get a degree in English Literature a student should do the following things:  learn to actualise literary text through dramatisation

                                   be involved in a self-discovery process through group therapy sessions

                                   do creative writing themselves

This is a very different approach to the reading of literature from the normal " literary criticism" approach with its stress on the cognitve and the analytical. DUET's request to the university student of English Literature is know theyself in order to know the text.

I am writing to you from my office at home and have maybe become too discursive today!!!

 Warmly yours,    Mario

                                            

    

Dear Mario,

Reading your article brings back good memories, of a somehow special training workshop at least in my view, that I did in Barcelona back in the 90’s.       If my memory is gentle, I remember that the trainer, a well-experienced woman in her mid-fifties, a total passionate of Jane Arnold’s book “ Affect in Language learning”, suggested reading this book.

In the training workshop she lured us to explore our feelings, by actually talking about a situation that somehow had triggered our life.   She suggested talking about a particular “life” experience in small groups.   What happen next, was that somehow we had to exaggerate the insignificant details, but most important  we had to say the opposite of what really happen.    

I still remember the faces of some of my colleagues, some were really puzzle, some follow the drill, but there was one that particular face that moved me.  It was a mid-age woman, I can’t recall her name, but that is not important now.    What I do remember was that she asked the trainer  “I understand the objective of the activity, but where do we draw the line” she said,  “ We are dealing with learners feelings and emotions, to what extent we should pry into a student’s private world for the sake of an activity”.   

 I can’t remember the answer the trainer gave us,   but anyway,  I’m more interested in knowing what you would have said.

 

thanks, and many more for your blog

Maria

                                      

                           

[/quote]

Dear Merche,

                     I very much welcome your posting and the questions it raises about teacher detachment versus teacher intrusiveness. Naturally enough I cannot answer your question about what the trainer should have done in the situation you describe above since the the answer lies in the rapport they had achieved and in the trainer's purpose at that instant. In the trainer's shoes I might have heard the woman's question as a statement and I might well have asked her to give herself her own answer to the question. In these kinds of siutuation questions are extremely slippery fish!

I find it interesting that the dialogues in this blog bring that training day back into your mind. Clearly in that group the aim was a considerable depth of personal, self-exploration. When I suggest that  a person hearing a single word, hearing a single sentence, hearing a text will delete information, distort information, generalise and elaborate I think I am just stating something undeniable and inevitable about the human listening process. When I ask a student what she has been doing internally while listening am I showing quiet human interest in what has been going on in her mind or am I brutally luring her her into self-revelation she will later regret? Am I prying into areas that are deeply private?

My sense is that I am helping this person realise something of the interest and brilliance of her own largely unconscious process.......and this is especailly true in the case of teenage learners.........

If my wife gives me a shopping list my reading of it will be wildly subjective:

List                                                  Mario elaboration

Irish soda bread                Yummy....can almost taste it

One small chicken              bo-o-ring.....every week the same!

Matches , two boxes               where will I fin'em, which aisle?

Chocolate cake                         YUK...I'll tell her they were out of them!

Merche, the reader's input into what he reads does not have to touch the hidden-most reaches of his soul. However banal, there is always a reader input and when I take that shopping list out of my pocket in the supermarket I will be reading the "marioised" verson and not the orginal wife version.

Again thanks for your thoughtful comments,     Warmly yours,  Mario

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