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Competitive Team-Based Learning: Beyond the Present Educational Innovations
27.07.2018 - 21:00

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Competitive Team-Based Learning: Beyond the Present Educational Innovations

An Introduction to the Book

The dawn of the third millennium shines forth not only as an epoch of expanded globalisation but also as an era of interdependence. The era of globalisation has made interdependence an inevitable value. In the process, the spread of Information Technology has also facilitated English language as a multi-purpose instrument enabling human beings not only to use it for communication in trade, business, administration, and science education but for influencing human behaviour and facilitating social cooperation as well.

English is the most widely used language today in international communications. Enabling students, especially students of developing countries, to effectively communicate in English could be one way of facilitating cross-cultural communication and promoting mutual understanding and interdependence. As prospective travellers, entrepreneurs, public servants, and promoters of multilateral relations and international peace and fellowship, they need to be equipped to communicate effectively and successfully. But learning the English language alone is not enough. Educators should take account of the fact that capacity building in terms of interactive and participative learning and critical thinking lest hegemonic forces should overwhelm and overpower interpersonal or international discourses is a must. This is a prerequisite for ushering in a mutually benefiting era of interdependence, and this calls for new pedagogies and new approaches to learning.

Field study and research point out that the new generation of students, aspiring to be proficient in English and committed to achieve in life, are no longer satisfied with the present traditional modes of education, which are not effective enough to equip and enable them to attain the goals they have in mind or they have set as targets in the context of ongoing globalisation, migration, and cross-cultural communication. Dramatic changes in theoretical foundations of learning in general, and language learning and language teaching in particular, happening in different parts of the world, may be viewed as a timely response to students’ expectations. These changes have brought about a drastic shift in the ELT from behaviourists' regimes of instruction to more context-based, innovative, interactive, and experiential ways of learning (see Chapter 1). Such innovations are appreciated better in developed countries where teachers and students have greatly understood the importance of interactive and cooperative learning and the immense benefits they are likely to reap out of such innovations. A number of language specialists have directly or indirectly appreciated the significance of these innovative approaches to language learning and language teaching in view of the emphasis they put on the role of the learner and learning activities in language learning process. Yet, teacher-centred methods continue to prevail in didactic regimes of many countries in several parts of the world including the Middle East and South Asia, Africa, and even Europe and America.

The clumsy policy of the stakeholders in our education systems – the world over – and the indifferent attitude of the persons in charge towards such systems' deficiencies have recently occasioned severe critiques from out of the arena of ELT/Education. In Iran, for instance, in a rare event, Mohammad Reza Sepehri (2008), the chief executive of Labour and Social Welfare Office, has eventually 'succeeded'! to trace the main reason for unsatisfactory competencies of Iranian workforce at national and international workplaces to the inability of our education regime, especially at universities, in effective teaching of

1. English, as international lingua franca(ELF), and

2. Essential skills for groupwork.

After shedding light on the chronological development of language teaching methodology, the present volume endeavours to analyse the reasons as to why the present educational methods and approaches are ineffective/defective. Importantly, the book attempts to put forth my special educational solution, which has been developed based on my ‘Cognitive Socio-Political Language Learning Theory’, for tackling the above-mentioned problems as its primary goals. My instructional solution lays the emphasis on co-operation and negotiation not only as a useful strategy for facilitating the acquisition of the material (language) but also as a value that must be learnt. This strategic pedagogic approach best suits Education in general, and ELT in particular, in today world context of globalisation as it foregrounds the significance of effective teamwork amidst competitive environments, in addition to fostering academic progress of students. Furthermore, it intends to practise students in qualified higher level thinking and reasoning rather than syllogistic methods to thinking and reasoning, which are prioritised by the present methods and approaches like the Banking method. The nature and the characteristics of this world-class innovative approach, therefore, not only contribute to language learning (strategies) and excellence in the learning. They likewise promote true and flexible active learning, interactive competence, long-term retention, and especially the acquisition of some crucial habits of mind such as objectivity, and critical and creative thinking. Another outstanding feature of this fundamentally different approach to ELT refers to the fact that it facilitates tomorrow citizenry to instil humanitarian interpersonal skills and democratic values, principles, and norms, which are essential requirements for successful life-long learning, working, interdependence, and survival in today world context, in order to address the present socio-educational/cultural/economical/political problems. Considering its magic transforming power for converting today students/objects to Agents of change or the Subjects who have the capacity to influence the world, my innovation is in essence a 'catalyst for change'. It is an exceptional edu-political approach to the empowerment and the emancipation of the oppressed, and in fact, an apt strategic instructional 'weapon' for the elimination of dictatorship/apartheid. CTBL, my realistic liberal approach to democratic education, to be to the point, is an ensured pathway to human security, development, and prosperity.

This seminal 680-page volume has special foci upon:

1. Penetrating deep into the conventional antediluvian dictatorial didactic regimes, which cherish the Banking Method, and excoriating the beyond;

2. Shedding light on the chronological development of language teaching methodology for justifying the need for accommodating Dr Hosseini’s innovation in education regimes;

3. Engineering the conventional educational methods and approaches towards CTBL;

4. Differentiating CTBL from other innovative methods/approaches, and discussing the significance and relevance of this holistic approach against the backdrop of ongoing globalisation;

5. Bringing to the fore the author's Multiple Input-Output Hypothesis and Cognitive Socio-Political Language Learning Theory, which is the core of the theoretical foundations of CTBL;

6. Implementing CTBL via the emerging online technologies state/country wide, and

7. Stimulating the readers' critical, analytical, and creative thinking skills, and promoting their personal growth especially through the 13 chapter-end thought-provoking discussion questions.

This invaluable resource manual will be of immense help particularly to those educators who are committed to the cause of peace building. As a gold mine of the latest issues in ELT, it will also be found highly useful for ELT students, teachers at all levels, and in-service programmes and seminars for instructors. Policy makers, educationalists, researchers, syllabus designers, and material developers could also take note of the noteworthy benefits this manuscript along with its accompanying DVD proposes. The 17-minute Video is available at https://youtu.be/cPtOUaIkJlk

Seyed Mohammad Hassan Hosseini

August, 2018, Mashhad, Iran

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