Book Alert: The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom: Bringing Hidden Dynamics to Light for Individual and Group Harmony and Success
An in-depth guide for teachers seeking to understand dysfunctional classrooms and create a mathemagenic experience. A unique resource, based on experience with thousands of language learners.
Based on Jungian psychology, using MBTI categories (with a passing reference to equivalents in Socionics), this book presents an explanation behind dysfunctional language classrooms (though much could apply to any K-16 classroom) and provides a heuristic for managing the classroom successfully. For each MBTI type, there is a section posing a teacher of that type and a classroom of randomly gathered types (as in real life). A discussion follows as to the source of any dysfunction, the way to accommodate all learners, an exploration of the probable comfort level of that teacher, and a posed question as to what would be the case if the class were the same but the teacher the polar opposite. Meant for application by teachers and for use in faculty development, it is a book that takes readers through an analytic process to arrive at their own heuristic in approaching their classrooms. Real-life examples are provided for many of the personality types.
This gem of a book, The Invisible Foreign Language Classroom: Bringing Hidden Dynamics to Light for Individual and Group Harmony and Success, by Laura Dabbs and Betty Lou Leaver, should be required reading for language teachers. Th e term “invisible classroom” refers to unseen but powerful combinations of personality types in a classroom. Harmonies or conﬂicts in teacher-student and student-student personality types inﬂuence language classroom success for teachers and learners alike. Part 1’s highly readable theoretical explanations and Part 2’s fascinating classroom scenarios and interpretations suggest to me that any simplistic labeling of language students (for instance, describing some students as energetic, engaged, or bright and others as lazy, uncooperative, or dim) hides the truth that at least one unrecognized personality-type conﬂict might well be occurring. Th is intelligent, appealing little book can be read quickly, but language teachers will keep coming back to it for practical ideas for handling the dynamics of any class. Using this book, language teachers will better understand classroom relationships and will know the steps to take in order to make the classroom more welcoming to all students. Th is volume renders the invisible classroom far more “visible” and manageable. I will use this book in my language teacher education courses.
-- Dr. Rebecca L. Oxford, Professor Emerita / Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, University of Maryland; Adjunct Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham
The ﬁrst practically oriented book to survey and illuminate the “hidden classroom” for the beneﬁt of classroom and other cohort instructors, showing how to foresee, recognize and address dysfunction arising from one of the central components of individual variation among teachers and students. Having personally assessed hundreds if not thousands of foreign language classrooms in numerous languages, I feel that this volume can provide a useful “guide for the perplexed” teacher in managing the essentially inﬁnite variation that can occur in the dynamics of cohort and teacher-cohort interaction.
-- Andrew R. Corin, Professor Emeritus and former Associate Provost Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center