Volume III - 1995-1996

by Clyde Coreil and Mihri Napoliello

      The first two issues of this publication were mainly concerned with making a point that seems obvious--language learning is significantly enhanced when the imagination is activated. Obvious, but often neglected in theory and practice. One of the main reasons for this neglect seems to have been the culturally based notion that the scientific method and the faculty of the imagination are in competition of some sort. Although science has won, its victory is often thought to be threatened by a dark, primitive side of pre-intellectual consciousness that responds mainly to campfire lights casting the shadows of chanting dancers on the walls of the cave. The imagination is held to be insubstantial and dreamy, while science is thought to be concerned primarily with facts, formulas and products. That is unfortunate. Science is an approach to knowledge; the imagination is a mode of mental activity. To varying degrees, all thought involves imagination: the two are complementary and shed light on each other. There would seem, then, to be no reason why the imagination should not be defined in psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic terms and its effects measured and explored objectively through careful analysis. Yet the misconception of a basic opposition has had enormous influence, extending to pedagogy and often resulting in the dominance of quantification over the creative in the dynamics and principles of classroom presentation. Recently, there has been a welcome swing to more "natural" approaches, but the value of the imagination in language learning still needs to be loudly stressed and, more importantly, explored.

      The piece by Thomas Garza, "The Imagination and CD-ROM: Multimedia Language and Culture Instruction," will hopefully be only the first in this Journal that explores the relevance of computer applications to the imagination. As we suggested above, there is no polar distance between science and the imagination; neither is there opposition between computers and the imagination. The fact of the matter is that the staggering possibilities of cyberspace can and will be quickly feasted on by the immense resourcefulness of the imagination. The ESL Program here at Jersey City State College has been fortunate enough to acquire a state-of-the-art computer lab, similar to the one Dr. Garza describes at the University of Texas. We at the Journal are, therefore, particularly interested in being of service in relating computers to the imagination. If you have suggestions, do let us know.

      Although many of the other articles in this third issue are in the area of classroom techniques, we are quite pleased to include several that do not fit that category. For example, there are discussions by Robert Landy of his theory of roles in dramatic literature; by Mary Ann Christison of multiple intelligences; by Paul Newham of the primal powers of the voice; and by Larry Carter of lives lived in aging and ancient buildings. We ask that you be prepared to use your imagination and find ways to harness these ideas and tailor them to your personal repertoire of pedagogical tools.

      Some of the articles were written at our request; some result from proposals; some arrived without warning in the mail. All were very welcome. If you have an idea that you think might be right for the Journal, please get in touch. The average length is between 1,500 and 2,000 words. The style of writing we prefer is straightforward and direct--shorter sentences, clear examples, tight organization. Our somewhat flexible deadline is April 15, 1996 for the next issue, which will be published in the fall of 1996. Earlier submissions will give us time to suggest revisions, which are often critical.

      Funding is a major, ever-present concern. Despite that, we have attempted to keep the cost of the Journal well within reach: $5.00 including postage to addresses within the United States. Foreign addresses add $3.00. If you find even one article that interests you, please accept our urgent invitation to subscribe to the next issue, which will be Volume Four. Your order will help us survive in our present format, which is elaborate but--at least in our opinion--well worth the additional time and effort. Whether or not you send a check, please consider joining the persons in various categories who have indicated a willingness to correspond on matters concerning the imagination. You will find a list with addresses at the Call for Correspondents. Seize the moment and write to them. You'll be glad you did.

      One last note concerns our Seventh Annual Conference on the Role of the Imagination in Language Learning, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 19, 1996, at Jersey City State College. More than 400 language teachers from kindergarten through college will attend the 18, seventy-minute workshops, scheduled for three concurrent periods. This year's keynote address will be given by Claudia Ferradas Moi of Argentina. Presenters will come from various parts of the United States--with one, Paul Newham, from London. The fee is only $10. Workshop chairpersons--who will introduce and assist presenters and whose names will appear in the program--have not been assigned yet. If you are interested, please write to us as soon as possible.

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