My teaching approach
ESSAY ON LANGUAGE TEACHING METHODS
lots of language teaching methods around the world. Teachers are always looking
for a new way to teach and make the students learn a language. A language teaching
method may include class participation, memorization, recitation, demonstration
or a combination of all of them. But is the teacher’s role in front of a class
is also very important. A teacher must be well-prepared to know how to lead the
students to do their best in the classroom. And this means that the teacher
must know more than one teaching method. But is the students’ way of learning
what will determine the use of one or more methods for the teacher.
who uses the GRAMMAR TRANSLATION METHOD, looks for the best results in written
language. This method was first created to teach Latin and it’s primarily
concerned to Classical Literature. Translation may be good in some cases, but
it’s not a communicative way to teach. Students in this method will be good in
grammar and structure, but will probably fail in speaking.
used in the DIRECT (BERLITZ) METHOD are probably the most important part of
this method. The teacher uses as many materials as possible to introduce the
target language in basic levels. He is also the model of a good pronunciation. And
the students are inducted to find out the rules of the target language. Despite
the use of the oral communication since the first class, the real use of the
language could be not as useful as the student could think.
teacher as a mime” could be another name for the SILENT WAY method. Here the
students are forced to use the target language based on silent instructions. Structure
or syllabus is always recycled. The teacher’s role is to monitor the student’s
efforts. The problem with this method is that the students pay more attention
to the vocabulary and pronunciation than to communicate effectively.
is used in psychology and hypnosis. The teacher who uses the SUGGEST-O-PEDIA
method desuggests students’ psychological barriers like fear. It means that
students are liberated from the negative barriers in the process of learning.
Music and art are both important elements here. But, important factors as
speaking and writing are left aside.
When we are
children, we often follow our parents’ commands. That’s the starting point of
the TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE method. The teacher gives commands to the students
and they answer with physical movements. In this method there is a great input
in listening and writing. Beginner students will probably enjoy this method,
more than intermediate or advanced levels.
used for more specific purposes is the CONTENT BASED INSTRUCTION or CBI. Not to
be confused with ESP, in this method the students are given the language in a
real life context. The teacher uses motivation and interest to introduce the
language to the students. CBI is a mix of the GRAMMAR TRANSLATION and
AUDIO-LINGUAL method, with vocabulary. High level students could find this
method better than others because of the academic contents; very useful for
their real needs.
Born between the 50’s and 60’s, the
AUDIO-LINGUAL method makes over-emphasis in repetition and accuracy. “Mimicry
and memorization of the dialog” was its slogan. As a parrot, the students only
repeat words and sentences without (almost) any understanding. In this method
the lexical meaning and an effective communication are not so important. Relevant
interests of the students are generally ignored.
one of the fastest methods to learn a language is the CALLAN METHOD. It was
created by Robin Callan in 1959. The method has only 14 levels, and it is based
in a great quantity of questions. The students answer must be given
immediately. Structure is taught by repeating the sentences frequently. The
down side of this method is that it’s automatic. The interaction between the
teacher and the student is based in questions not in a real context.
situations are the base of the SITUATIONAL METHOD. Students are pretended to be
for example, “at the supermarket” or “at the beauty shop” to try to use the new
language. The teacher uses pictures and real objects to help the students’
utterances. In this case, the problem is that the students don’t know how to
use a structure or an expression. And the situations are not graded. So, maybe
low level students could find this method extremely difficult and boring.
more appropriate for school students” said a professor who was against the
DIRECT METHOD. That’s why Professor Coleman introduced his READING METHOD in
the 30’s. In this method, intensive reading and grammar rules based on the
structures of the reading passages were the principal points. Obviously, this
method was forced to change for its lack of communication between the teacher
and the student.
The FUNCTIONAL NOTIONAL APPROACH was created in
the 60’s. This method places major emphasis on the communicative purpose of a
speech act. It focuses on what students want to do through speech. The problems
in this method are the syllabus and the order when using the functions or the
communicative act. They are not well structured.
In 2002 the
Oxbridge model was born. Based on the TRIANGULAR PROJECTION MODEL (Topic,
Structure and Vocabulary), Oxbridge gives more emphasis to a full interaction
between the teacher and the students. The teacher is just a part of the system.
But, it doesn’t mean that he’s not so important. The teacher’s role is
basically a playmaker. The structures, vocabulary and topics are introduced and
taught as a game. The system takes some things from other learning methods. For
example, there is no translation; the L2 is in the class since its first
minute; there is not a system book like in many other methods, activities are
specially prepared for the different levels; no time to write and no time to
read aloud and the traditional blackboard disappears. This is a really
innovative and communicative way to teach. Because the students don’t need to
study like in the traditional way. They just get the L2 in a very easy and
in all of these methods or language teaching systems, I’ll propose a new one, the
FREE METHOD. This method is based in the student’s real and current needs.
containing just 3 books or syllabus for the 3 main levels, Elementary,
Intermediate and Advanced, could be easier and (with the correct use)
understandable since the very beginning. The teacher’s role could be more than
just a playmaker sitting on a chair or standing in front of the students. A
teacher prepared not only to teach a language, but prepared to be an artist in
front of the students could be more engaging than the ones in the traditional
methods. For example, in some British schools the teacher is a conductor and the
students are “forced” to produce the language they are being taught, in a
literature way. Teachers must use all their aims: artistic (literature, poetry,
acting, etc.), real material (magazines, newspapers, fruits, food, etc.) he has,
to be sure their students have understood the target language. Psychology
studies could be a must for the teachers to analyse students’ difficulties for
learning. The principal aspects of this new method could be like this:
--- L2 is
the principal and first language used in the class.
translation is accepted. In this point, the students could receive some basic
sentences (simple questions to use in the class like: How is it in English
please? or greetings and farewells: like Hello! or Goodbye!), before the first
teacher introduces the language with relevant questions for them. For example,
if someone asks me, “how’s your aunt?” without knowing her or without having
mentioned her before, my answer would probably be “fine”. But, if the one who
asks me knows my aunt, my answer could probably be “She’s fine thanks. And how
Structures are presented like mathematical formulas. To put things in order can
make learning easier. If the students know the structure and the way (position)
words are put in a sentence, they will probably know how to create new ideas
based in the order and their vocabulary.
Vocabulary is presented with the help of different type of materials, depending
on the level. For example, in Elementary the teacher could use sport stuff
(balls, sport clothes), in Intermediate the teacher could choose between songs
(the new and popular ones) and daily routine things (a cup of coffee, bread,
newspaper, travel ticket, etc.), and for the Advanced level, the teacher could
break some rules. He could ask the students to perform a film or a play.
Speaking is also important in this method. The students are encouraged to use
the L2 since the first class. They are asked about relevant things and the
teacher’s role is to join to the students and make them feel like if he was one
of them. When this occurs, the students feel free to talk to him. And the L2
flows in a natural way.
--- To make
this method better I propose no less than 4 hour classes a week. It is widely
known that any person needs this time (at least) to know any language.
Syllabus could last no more than 1 year for each level. It means that in 3
years anyone who uses this method will be prepared to face real life
Functional-Notional Approach by Mary Finocchiaro & Christopher Brumfit
Techniques by Edward David Allen & Rebecca M. Valette