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Language Teaching Methods

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Presentation on theme: "Language Teaching Methods"— Presentation transcript:

1 Language Teaching Methods
Methods - a particular concept of teaching - have dominated thinking and practice in language teaching over the years, although now entering a post-method phase, about which will say more later. Main purpose of session is to describe some of the main LT methods by showing how they relate to the work on LD and LT have been doing in two previous sessions., and in some of their other main features. Note: most of time will use terms method and approach interchangeably. However, at other times will make a distinction between the two - former = more specific, prescribed etc., latter less specific, prescribed, etc. - will come back to this later.

2 What is a method? Approach: language description, learning theory
Design: objectives, syllabus, activities, roles of teachers/learners/materials Procedure: classroom application (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: Ch. 2) -> underlying theory + practical techniques -> actual practice tends to be eclectic Best known modern conceptualisation of method sis R & R’s. See them as potentially comprising three main aspects (though not all will necessarily be present). Approach: the various ways of looking at lang. and learning we have been discussing in last two sessions. Both or only one or none may be overtly present. Design: links theory with practice, approach with procedure. Different methods will have different configurations of the variables in question - will come to examples. Procedure: the level where design gets translated into practice in the classroom - lesson management, etc. As R & R point out (Ch. 19), some methods are better thought of as approaches, meaning that there is common underlying body of theory and related general set of principles, but a variety of interpretations as to how the principles can be applied. In that case we can think of methods as being derived from approaches. However, this is potentially confusing, as, according to R & R. method is the superordinate category. Better perhaps to think of single and multi-method approaches? But rather complex, so instead, will use a simpler formula, as shown in slide. Ned to remember that most of time, when talking about topic, are oversimplifying, for sake of clarity. Reality not so neat/systematic, and in practice we often seen blending of methods, etc. rather “pure” examples

3 The Audiolingual Method
Approach structuralism + behaviourism Design dialogues & drills (pattern practice) Procedure main focus = accurate oral performance Never translate Hear, speak, read, write Immediate error correction A product of the 50s - 70s. Usually thought of being based on structuralism and behaviourism. Note that the coming together of these two was prolly more a product of historical accident than any underlying similarity, since there’s no reason why structures can’t be taught in a cognitive way, and functions - because they lack a generative system - can be seen as lending themselves more naturally to behaviourism. Model structures were presented in the form of dialogues. These were then drilled until automaticity was achieved. Classroom work based on principles such as: Never translate Hear, speak, read, write Immediate error correction [How do these rules for behaviourist methodology conflict with the cognitive/affective views of learning?]

4 The Communicative Approach - 1
communicative competence + cognitive/affective views Design “strong” (“using to learn”) vs. “weak” (“learning to use”) versions (see R & R: 155) part-skill vs. whole-task (Littlewood, 1992) problem-solving, information gap activities, games, role plays, simulations, project-work A product of the 1970s onwards, and very much a reaction to the new theoretical insights about language and language learning that superseded those that AL built on, as discussed in previous two sessions. Based on view of language as communication and need to involve thinking processes and emotions of learner. At least two main versions. Strong one = communicating to learn English. Krashenite. Has now become task-based learning, to all intents and purposes. Much less widespread in practice - more a BANA type of methodology than a TESEP one. Weak one more common/widespread. Communication activity element added on to focus on linguistic competence. Variations on this theme practiced in communicatively-oriented TESEP systems Another way of characterizing difference is amount of emphasis given to part-sklil teaching vs whole-task. Weak approach tends to focus on both, strong much more on only latter. In contrast to diet of dialogues and drills of AL, CA provides much more varied fare (go through, and relate to underlying theories).

5 The communicative approach - 2
Procedure (“weak” version) pre-communicative -> communicative activities (Littlewood, 1981; cf. Littlewood 2004) “learner-centred” (Nunan, 1999) Very difficult to generalize about procedure level, as so many variants, and will stick to weak version only, as strong one will be discussed later under TBL in sessions 6 &7. However, typically consists of part-skill practice followed by whole-task work (see L., 1992 and/or Littlewood 2004). First part involves focus on language system knowledge, second part provides attempt to put it into practice. PPP (see session 6) and ESA etc. are very much variants on this theme. Lesson execution also typically characterized by being “learner-centred” (see Nunan 1999), I.e., lots of use of pair and group work, students’ own knowledge and abilities used as much as possible, error correction indirect, learning how to lean etc.

6 Other methods The Silent Way Suggestopedia
Counselling/Community Language Learning Total Physical Response The Natural Approach To finish, should also mention so-called alternative or designer methods. None of these has achieved widespread use, and do not always have well-defined theoretical basis, but still useful to know about. The Silent Way Teacher uses small wooden sticks coloured sticks to teach. Says as a little as possible - thus, “Silent Way”. Suggestopedia Relaxing surroundings (soft furnishings, classical music, etc.) used to make learning as suggestive as possible, I.e., bring to mind positive mental/emotional associations. Counselling/Community Language Learning Learners in small circle, teacher outside, students says sthg in L1, teacher softly gives L2 translation, which is audio-recorded, then ditto by students, followed by reflective discussion by students of experience, etc. Total Physical Response Language meaning is acted out via simple physical actions. No requirement to produce until ready, so little/no stress. The Natural Approach Similar to TP, but uses comprehensible input. Main theoretical premise of all these methods is the affective view. Sometimes called “humanistic methods”, as put the feelings of the learner as a human being at centre of learning process. Main thing we can take from all of them is the essential insight about language learning they contain, without having to buy the whole package, e.g., the importance of silence, (Speech is slivern, silence is golden) etc.

7 Conclusion The “post-method condition” (Kumaravadivelu)
“…in order to help our learners learn, it is not ‘the latest method’ that we need, but rather a fuller understanding of the language classroom and what goes on there.” Allwright & Bailey (1991: xviii) Assignment topic no. 2 Finally, it is worth noting that nowadays concept of methods often looked down on/discredited, principally because none of them has been shown to work any more effectively than any other one. The argument, thus, as A & B put it in the quote, is that there are probably much more important factors at play in the language classroom that we need to understand more about, e.g., the various psychological and sociological variables involved, and how they interact (cf Dornyei’s motivation framework). Assignment topic 2: relates to work done over last three weeks, plus part of what will do in seminar. But NB need to read widely and can select more than one method etc. Recommend CA - see readings.

8 SEMINAR What reasons are there for studying language teaching methods?
What main advantages and disadvantages do you see each of the following as having: The Audiolingual Method The Communicative Approach (weak or strong)


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