P. Wahl

Szczecin University (POLAND)
At the beginning the article presents the current state of the mainstream Foreign Language Teaching / Learning (FLT/L) practice against the background of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR), and describes its most popular format; FLT/L refers to all languages, yet a specific position of English has been underlined.

The key point of the article is that the current state of the mainstream FLT – which is not only a natural intuition of most people engaged in FLT but is also based on numbers – is ridiculous: the system does not work properly in most places (and to work properly means here to work effectively enough), in spite of the fact that its methods, techniques and procedures have achieved a good or even excellent level. It means that the existing FLT methods, techniques and procedures are not the place where defects should be looked for.

The next logical step was to define the FLT/L effectiveness and indicate how to measure it in a quantified way. If the effectiveness-measuring mechanism is correct, the only source of FLT malfunctioning must be the theoretical framework FLT operates within.

Applied Linguistics (which FLT/L is an inseparable part of) is not an autonomous discipline, just the reverse: it has strong roots in General Linguistics and its theories. The theoretical basis for FLT/L has been investigated and some shortcomings identified. If the ensuing diagnosis had been correct, the conclusions concerning some possible ways to improve the situation might be so as well.

The final suggestion of the article is that it might be time to change the theoretical paradigm the present-day FLT/L is based on; and the article is attempting to outline the ways how to begin the task. One of these ways is teaching several cognate languages in a parallel manner according to the Synoptic Method, which is not so novel as it seems.