The Toisto-method: speech and repetition as a means of implicit grammar learning

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Language learning is one of the key predictors of how well immigrants will integrate into a new society. In many European countries, the resources reserved for language education have proved insufficient as people fleeing the war in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria have entered Europe. This situation has called for ways of mobilising volunteer workers to help newcomers in a coordinated manner. In Finland, a method called Toisto has been developed to enable volunteers with little or no teaching experience to teach the basics of Finnish to newcomers. From the pedagogical and linguistic point of view, Toisto derives from a usage-based notion of language, according to which the spoken modality in general, and modelling-based instruction in particular, can be used to teach grammar without the explicit formulation or explanation of rules. In addition, Toisto aims to compensate for the written language bias very much present in the L2 context in the Finnish education system. In this paper, we outline the theoretical grounding and basic characteristics of the Toisto method. We map the ways in which a usage-based notion of language motivates a communicative, oral language pedagogy, and provide some initial evidence of the feasibility of the method. Finally, we discuss the implications of the Toisto method for adult language education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSKY Journal of Linguistics
Pages (from-to)71-105
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages
  • usage-based theory
  • volunteer
  • communicative language learning
  • language education
  • 516 Educational sciences

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