Learning a new language is difficult and can be confusing. It is one of the hardest things a person can learn but yet one of the most wanted skills. There are many theories as to why it is so difficult from the student being too old or young as well as negative beliefs that you just cannot learn it. Students may go to class with a negative feeling based on past experiences learning a new language. There are many teaching methods to try to overcome these obstacles to teach a new language to eager students. Each method has its positive and negative effects to them. Each one applies to different types of students depending on their learning styles and previous knowledge.
The Callan Method is a way to teach a language through natural means. It gives priority to conversation, listening skills, and memory. The objective is to give the students the ability to feel confidence on day one and begin speaking English straight from the start. When teaching, the teacher has a constant dialogue where the students use a “Formula-Answer-Answer-Question-Answer” format. This is where the teacher shoots quick questions at a very high speed at the students and they have limited time to answer. The quick speed is supposed to stop the students from translating the new language into their original language. It is also supposed to create better student involvement. The quick rhythm of class is meant to keep the students attention on the material and result in no silences during class.
This method has its benefits as well as its negative effects. The quick rhythm can be helpful for some students. The fast pace can help the students’ brains to learn and use the new language under pressure. Not all students can learn this way, however. The quickness may cause some to stumble and lose their place within the class completely. Speaking without much time to process can cause some to make mistakes, and the quick corrections can affect their confidence within the class and their use of the language. This method may be better for younger, lower levels. The fastness and repetitiveness will help the students to have the information drilled into their heads. At higher levels, the students may find this too quick with no time to really process and understand, as with older students.
The Direct or Berliz Method is much different. It is based on the theory of vocabulary over grammar. No use of the native tongue is allowed within class. Teachers are to use objects to help the students understand what they teaching without using translations. Teachers are meant to demonstrate, not explain. Pronunciation is given a lot of attention within the class. The students are meant to speak during 80% of the class.
The goal of the direct method is to have the students make mistakes and correct them themselves. Teachers ask the students the same question in difference ways, having the students repeat their answers. This is to help them feel confident with their use of the language. This is a benefit of the Direct Method. The repetitiveness is not always a positive thing within the classroom. This can loose the student’s attention after a while, and stunt their learning.
Suggestopedia is another teaching method. Its goal is to eliminate the negative barriers a student may have about learning a langue. For this theory to work, the student and teacher must have a positive outlook on the ability to learn and teach a new language. It suggests that students cannot always learn a language because their believe they can’t. The negative belief stops them from actually learning something.
The classroom is taught in a cheerful manner. It keeps the students relaxed and confidence in their ability to learn. The teacher integrates indirect positive suggestion throughout the class to help enhance a student’s self-confidence. Fine arts, such as music, role-playing, and art, are used to help the students learn in a more productive way. The students learn solely through watching their teacher. While this method may help the students to understand the meanings, it doesn’t help with their speech. There is very little student talking time within this method. It affects their confidence in their speaking ability and their pronunciation. It is a purely observational and listening type of method.
The Communicative Approach focuses on more than just observational and listening. It is a method that integrates four different skills for communicative understanding. The four skills the students develop are productive, speaking and writing, and receptive, listening and understanding. Authentic language is taught in real context. The classes are driven by the target language. Games are taught to help teach the target language. The games are based on real life events and are meant to maximize the students talking time.
This approach uses a piece of classwork or a task as a teaching strategy. The task has a goal, an input and an activity. The goal is what the student should be able to accomplish after the task has been completely. This helps guide the student so they know what to pay attention to, what are the key points. The input for the task could be an article or text. It gives examples for the students to understand what it is they are supposed to learn. The activity will be putting the input into action and helping the students reach their goals. This method helps the student to walk away with a strong knowledge of the language and how to use it in realistic ways.
The Oxbridge System is similar to the Communicative Approach but used in a different way. Everything taught within the Oxbridge System is to build a confidence within the students to walk away communicating the new language. The system eliminates negative implications of studying and pushes the students to increase their involvement in the new language. There is no use of the native language within the system. This is so the student learns the new language based on meanings and activities, rather than just translation. This helps the student to use the knowledge more accurately when out of the classroom.
The teacher plays a bigger role within the Oxbridge System. They are more of a playmaker than a teacher. They give the tools to be used to the students, and let them create and speak. They share their knowledge of the new language to the students by guiding them rather than just lecturing. Different types of activities are used to accomplish this. The Oxbridge System has vocabulary, topic and structure activities for each class. The vocabulary activities teach the students useful words to use in their daily life and how to use them. The topic activities give the students something to discuss or debate. This creates a lot of student talking time and causes them to use their knowledge of the language to communicate to each other and discuss a new and interesting topic. Structure activities help to teach the students grammar. Rules are not given, but examples are. Many examples, as well as guiding the student, help them to understand what is being told to them without it being too “textbook”.
This system is successful for many reasons. The students are learning a useful way to use the language. It is more practical for the every day person. There are no textbooks so it is less about the rules and more about practice. This helps the students to really remember what it is that is being taught to them. It is not about memorizing, but about using. The students are taught in a visual, repetitive manner that will help them to remember and use what they learn. They learn more about pronunciation and how to speak like a native speaker. Learning from a book doesn’t teach you this. It doesn’t tell you how to use or say things, but just gives you the rules. Oxbridge gives the rules indirectly so the student can understand how they are used more clearly.
While all of these methods may work, they do not work for every student. Creative your own system when teaching is the must successful way to teach the language. A teacher cannot teach a new language to students when they do not agree or believe in the system. A teacher should take the aspects of all methods they believe work and combine them into their own personal method. When teaching their system, they should adapt it to each students learning styles. A student can’t learn from every method just as every teacher can’t teach every method. It is about finding the correct balance to learning and teaching to achieve the highest rate of success for both teacher and student.