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School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Mike Byram

Byram, M.S. (2007). Thoughts on the Languages Review. Language Learning Journal 35(2): 297-299.

Author(s) from Durham


The Review (Dearing & King, 2007) will doubtless be judged less on its detailed content and standpoint and more on the impact it has on politicians' and ministers' priorities for teaching languages. For the Review is concerned with language teaching much more than with learning. This is evident, for example, in the discussion of the consensus about 'the right way of teaching' (my emphasis, p. 30). The reference is to input, to interaction and to motivation, of which only motivation might be taken to refer to learning processes. However, even this is treated throughout the review largely as a question of stimulating motivation, by changes in examinations, for example. It is assumed that 'motivation' comes from a transitive verb 'to motivate', rather than from a passive 'to be motivated' or a reflexive 'to motivate oneself'. The onus seems to be on the teaching, and the teachers, to motivate the pupils, and this reflects the tendency of the Review as a whole.