A man is learning all his life. The moment he takes his first gasp of air we can see and influence his behaviour. The most important and significant changes happen at his early age, when he's learning in his natural way and he's learning things that are important for him. He's learning how to breath, eat talk, walk and more. The most influential person person in his life is usually a mother. Later more and more "teachers" appear in his life: family, relatives, friends and neighbours. And each person brings in his life something, which can become a part of his life, disappear or become a nightmare for him. One can see that this actually depends on whether he loves and respect the person or not. If a child loves somebody, he will probably imitate his behaviour, follow his advice immediately, and learn from him. The child grows up, but this principle stays the same. the student will soak knowledge only if he sympathise the teacher. So, one of the most important factors in learning is an emotional one. For my students, I, as a teacher, must be easy-going, patient, and at least they mustn't hate me. Because if not so, whatever i do will not affect my student.
The second rule is regularity. It's always better to study less hours but regularly, than exhaust oneself for long hours time to time. What is more, while learning, we should cover all branches of linguistics: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and sociolinguistics.
Next comes gradation of the language. Which means I must consider students' age and language level. For example, with younger learners we'll play games and fingerplays, use kinesthetic approach more, because playing is their main occupation at the moment. They enjoy them, they know how to play and they usually like following the rules. While adults can feel uncomfortable, if we involve them in activities like this. I usually use role plays, discussions and more.
One more important thing is making students engaged and interested in the language. I have to always keep in mind the purpose he studies it. English can be just a part of the curriculum, or a student want to chat with english-speaking friends, find a job abroad, or to be promoted at work or to study in a foreign country, to travel. I must consider his expectations and give him what he wants. Choosing a snake way is usually a good decision. What i want to say is I can choose different ways to come to the needed structure or vocabulary. Because my aim is to teach them to talk about things, that matter for them.
There are a lot of approaches to teach a foreign language, We have even more of methods. All of them have their advantages and disadvantages. For example, grammar-translation method. It develops studentsâ reading ability to a level where they can read literature in the target language. This method focuses on reading and writing and has developed techniques which facilitate more or less the learning of reading and writing only. As a result, speaking and listening aren't developing the way they should.
Direct method focuses on the development of oral skills although work on all four skills is done from the start. It is characterised by the following: a) Teaching concepts and vocabulary through pantomiming, real-life objects and other visual materials; b) Teaching grammar by using an inductive approach; c) Centrality of spoken language; d) Focus on question-answer patterns.
The Audio-lingual method or Army Method, is a style of teaching used in teaching foreign languages. It is based on the behaviorist theory, which professes that certain traits of living things, and in this case humans, could be trained through a system of reinforcementâcorrect use of a trait would receive positive feedback while incorrect use of that trait would receive negative feedback. Vocabulary is kept to the minimum while students are mastering the sound system and grammatical patterns of the target language through drilling. This means that the instructor would present the correct model of a sentence and the students would have to repeat it. Oral drills are Repetition, Inflection, Replacemen.
The Callan Method is a system of learning English which is a form of the Audio-Lingual Method and the Direct Method of teaching. The method relies on continual drilling through questions and answers in a 12-step programme. The method is simple repetition of set phrases without looking into grammar or vocabulary or straying outside the set structures and the general aim is to get students talking as soon as possible and beginners will soon be giving stock answers to set questions. Main disadvantages of this method are: -boring; students can become very fluent in the set answers they know, when they need to use the language in real life situations not studied before they can become quite lost; it is only useful for beginners; context; language is presented out of context.
There are more of them: the silent way, suggestopedia, Total physical response (TPR), Communicative language teaching (CLT), Content-Based Instruction (CBI) and many many others.
But as far as I'm concerned, no method or approach is perfect. They should be chosen by the teacher and for he students in a particular class, concerning to a particular aim.
For example, grammar-translation method is a wonderful way to teach students read, understand and translate literature in the target language. Direct method is good when we teach basic stuff to small kids. The Callan Method can be used for practicing grammar. This method can be fun for students, if it's not so frequently used. Suggestopedia is a good option for teaching pronunciation and intonation.
As I see it, there are some more points to be considered while teaching a foreign language. A student would better get up on his tiptoes while learning grammar and reading, at the same time he should be confident in listening and speaking.
I consider Oxbridge approach to be very productive for a lot of people. Because first of all, it's based on communication. They teach how to speak by speaking here. Quick questions help students to feel relaxed and focused at the same time. Every activity is focused on forcing a person to speak using target language. Secondly, students have an opportunity to listen to and learn to understand different accents, as teachers came from different parts of the world. Though it doesn't bring any sort of confusion in his studies, as his plan is fixed and every teacher must follow it strictly. Next, students have classes in places that they like and feel comfortable in: offices, cafes or classrooms. Finally, they have an access to a huge system, where they can prepare for the next class or revise the information he learned at his previous class.
In conclusion, I don't like the idea of choosing any approach and ignoring others. I think I must take comunicative approach as a base and choose other approaches and methods as additional options to reach the goals the fastest and easiest way.