HUMANISM AS A CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER EDUCATION IN THE USA

  • Marianna Levrints PhD in Education, Associate Professor, Department of Philology, Ferenc Rákóczi II Transcarpathian Hungarian Institute, (Beregovo, Ukraine)
Keywords: humanism, humanistic education, teacher education, foreign languages, the system of foreign language teacher education in the USA

Abstract

Humanistic philosophy is one of the foundational elements of the American educational system’s methodology. Nevertheless, the problem of influence of theoretical-philosophical underpinnings of humanism on foreign language teacher education is underrepresented in the relevant academic literature. Thus, the present paper analyses conceptual orientations of the theory of humanism, highlighting its impact on foreign language teacher preparation, as well as its role and place in the American system of teacher education. To this end complementary research methods are applied, such as analysis, synthesis, interpretation, classification, comparison on the basis of which the theoretical and practical approaches to foreign language teacher preparation are elucidated.

The key themes of humanistic philosophy pertaining to the holistic development of prospective teacher’s personality and advancement of human potential have been present in the American education for an extended period of time and their values are still widely recognized today. Several planes of analysis of the humanistic teacher education are discernable in the academic literature. In the narrow sense, humanism is viewed as an approach or model in the system of teacher education, generally known as humanistic based teacher education. In a wider sense, humanism constitutes the conceptual foundation of teacher education, pivotal principle of educational philosophy and an important theoretical and practical problem. At the fore of humanistic teacher education is the overall development of teacher’s personality, self-actualization, autonomy, equity, and sense of belonging. In the humanistic educators’ understanding, quality teacher education is not reduced to professional knowledge and profession-related competencies development. One of the major concerns is seen in the development of prospective teachers’ personal qualities, pedagogically-sound forms of interaction and relationships among the protagonists of educational process.

In the light of humanistic philosophy reconsideration is given to teachers’ roles, whose primary mission is seen in the facilitation of learning, assisting learners in realizing their personal potential, capabilities, interests, bolstering learner autonomy etc. Closely aligned with humanistic education is student-centered paradigm. By the same token, learners are also expected to assume new roles, whereby they are vested with greater responsibility and autonomy in initiating, regulating, and controlling instructional processes.

Gaining foothold in applied linguistics ideas of humanistic education have made their way into the field of foreign language teaching, leading to the reassessment of its current practices and principles. As a result, new methods and techniques have enriched language teaching repertoire. Due to the specific nature of the foreign language as a discipline, key tenets of humanistic education have become deeply rooted among effective instructional practices. In our opinion, most of the prospective foreign language teachers have certain practical experience of engaging with humanistic principles gained in the foreign second/language lessons. Thus, they hold more realistic views with regard to the potentials and pitfalls of incorporating humanistic ideas in the instructional process, as compared to other majors.

Overall, there is general paucity of research convincingly demonstrating the effectiveness of including humanistic tenets in foreign language teacher education, which serves as one of the possible avenues for further research.

Published
2019-09-30
How to Cite
LevrintsM. (2019). HUMANISM AS A CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATION OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHER EDUCATION IN THE USA. Mountain School of Ukrainian Carpaty, (20), 40-44. https://doi.org/10.15330/msuc.2019.20.40-44
Section
HISTORICAL AND PHILOSOPHYCAL ASPECTS OF PEDAGOGICAL RESEARCH