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This is a resource page for links and content related to TESOL. Since 2011, I have been collaborating with Angelina Van Dyke, who teaches TESOL at TWU and SFU.

In 2012 we presented a paper at the Canadian national TESL conference using mental symmetry to explain about a dozen aspects of linguistics, culture, and identity. This presentation was repeated at the 2013 BC TEAL conference. The PowerPoint for that presentation can be downloaded and there is also a written summary of the presentation.

In 2014, a presentation was given at CELT 2014 of ‘A Cognitive Meta-theory that integrates TESOL and Christianity’. The PowerPoint for that presentation, which includes an updated version of the presentation given in 2012 and 2013, can also be downloaded.

The CELT 2014 presentation was recorded on video and can be viewed on YouTube. There is part one and part two. The total length is almost 2 hours.

Obviously, it takes longer than two hours to outline in an adequate manner how mental symmetry can be used to explain core Christian doctrine as well as core aspects of TESOL. Therefore, I have added a narration to the PowerPoint. This narration has been uploaded to YouTube and is divided into seven parts. Each part is 50-80 minutes long. (I apologize that the narration is not perfect. However, I hope that the content makes up for the imperfections of the presentation.)

The following paragraphs give a summary of the content that was presented at CELT 2014 and provide links to the seven YouTube videos that add narration to a section of the PowerPoint.

Part one : Introduction to cognitive styles. The simple styles and cortical brain regions.

Part two : Linguistics and the seven cognitive modules. The composite styles and the basal ganglia.

Part three : Mental networks and a mental concept of God. Cognitive Science of Religion. Thomas Kuhn and paradigms. The limits of technical thought illustrated by studying and teaching language. Normal thought and Community of Practice.

Part four : Implicature, politeness, culture, social interaction, Piaget, embodiment, Habermas’ societal stages, education and faith.

Part five : Fairclough and critical discourse analysis. Mercy mental networks and personal dishonesty. Male and female cognitive development. Higgins’ possible selves. Semantic shifting. The ideal possible self and Platonic forms. Divine spirit and the Holy Spirit. Utopia, idealism, and realism.

Part six : Third Culture Kids. English as a foreign language, English as an international language, and World English.

Part seven : Incarnation and Contributor thought. Three stages of personal salvation. An integrated view of salvation. The prayer of salvation. Multiple worlds.

I should mention that these seven videos do not contain the bibliography with the detailed references. This bibliography can be found at the end of the PowerPoint file.

For those interested in a more detailed analysis, there is a 65 page essay on Language and Power by Fairclough as well as a 55 page look at Third Culture Kids as described by Pollock and Van Reken. I have also put together a several hundred page cognitive look at the various historical branches of Christianity.

My goal is not to add Christianity to TESOL, but rather to work out how one reaches mental wholeness. The theory of mental symmetry provides a cognitive model of the ‘human computer’. For several years I have been examining how to program this 'computer' so that all the parts of the mind function together in harmony. As I continued my research, Christian doctrine gradually emerged as a byproduct, and I eventually came to the conclusion that Christian doctrine actually describes the process of reaching mental wholeness. I also noticed that Christianity made sense when viewed from a cognitive perspective while approaching Christian doctrine with an attitude of religious fundamentalism appears to distort the biblical message.

Christianity uses the verbal statements of theology to transform personal identity. Similarly, the language learner is acquiring a new language, and this leads to a cultural shift as well as a change in personal identity. In both cases, language is leading to personal transformation. Going further, the EIL student is learning an international language in order to become a member of the meta-culture of international society. Similarly, the Christian is learning universal truth about God and humanity in order to become a member of the meta-culture of the ‘invisible church’. In the same way that the typical American (or British or Canadian) tends to view English as a language of his culture rather than as an international language, so the typical fundamentalist Christian tends to view Christian doctrine as a language of his religious culture rather than as a universal language of mental wholeness. Concluding, if one goes beyond the fundamentalist search for absolute truth to look for universal truth, then it appears that TESOL is actually a partial illustration of the cognitive path that leads to mental wholeness.