Fashions in language teaching methodologyPresentation Transcript
BOB ADAMSON Fashions in Language Teaching Methodology
Language teaching is a complex undertaking.
It is an enterprise that is shaped by views of the nature of language, of teaching and learning a language specifically, and of teaching and learning in general; and by the sociocultural settings in which the enterprise takes place. Thanks to its multidisciplinary nature, applied linguistics has contributed research- and practice-based ideas that have helped to shape these views, and promoted understanding of the diversity and commonalities of the. One product of applied linguistics has been attempts to crystallize the theoretical views of language, education, and language education into prescribed teaching materials and strategies, or methods.
The abundance of methods derived from different theoretical standpoints has led to the emergence of a field of study – methodology. Another product of applied linguistics has been the heightened awareness in the literature of the significant role of the sociocultural context in which language education is occurring, which in turn undermines the notion of generalizability on which methods are
Methodology denotes the study of the system or range of methods that are used in teaching, while a method is a single set of practices and procedures, derived from theory or theorization of practice, that impinges upon the design of a curriculum plan, resources, and teaching and learning activities.
Richards and Rodgers (1986, 2001) describe methods in terms of three levels: approach, design, and procedure. The approach refers to the underpinning theory of language and of language learning; the design covers the specification of linguistic content and the roles of the teacher, learners, and instructional materials; while procedure means the techniques and activities that are used in the classroom.
The Origins of Methods
Language teaching methods are derived from the different views of language. Language has been perceived in the literature as a codified linguistic structure underpinned by established rules (e.g. Honey, 1997) or as a mediated social semiotic (e.g. Halliday, 1973; Lantolf, 2000). Language learning has been variously described in terms of behaviorist habit formation (Skinner, 1957), of an innate language acquisition device and a universal grammar (Chomsky, 1965), or of being meaning-oriented rather than form-oriented (Mitchell, 1994). Second or foreign language learning has been equated with first language learning (Gouin, 1892) or has been depicted as a
process that is very different from first language learning (Stern, 1970).
Different views of language: key words
Structure and rules (Honey 1997)
Social semiotic (Halliday 1973, Lantolf 2000)
Habit formation (Skinner 1957)
LAD, innatism (Chomsky 1965)
Meaning oriented (Mitchel 1994)
SLA equal as FLA (Gouin 1892)
SLA different from FLA (Stern 1970)
The grammar-translation method
The objective of the method was to instill intellectual rigor and to transmit the cultural values embodied in the literary canons to a new generation. Language was thus viewed as an academic discipline, rather than as a means for conducting everyday social interactions. Priority was given to the written language, with comprehension achieved through translation from the target language into the mother tongue, and competence developed through translation from the mother tongue into the target language, underpinned by mastery of the grammar system through parsing and other form-focused exercises, and memorization of lexical items. Oral skills were fostered though the use of dictations, rote-learning of texts, and reading aloud. The teacher’s role was that of expert linguist, with the learner as recipient of knowledge.
The grammar translation method
The limited practicality of the grammar-translation method for communicating in everyday situations created dissatisfaction toward the end of the nineteenth century among language teachers in Europe.
The direct method
The direct method is premised on the belief that, as with first language learning, total immersion in the target language is conducive to rapid progress in communicating.
The teacher’s role is to supply contextual support for the learners, without recourse to the learners’ mother tongue, as far as possible. Listening and speaking skills precede reading and writing.
Grammar learning is inductive and restricted in scope to forms that are commonly used in the spoken language (Rivers, 1981).
The audiolingual method
The method sees learning as being brought about by positive reinforcement of correct behavior or utterances (in the case of language learning), with the correctness being instilled by repetition or drilling.
The mechanical learning entailed in the audiolingual method led to the popularity of language laboratories, which afforded opportunities for both teacher-led and independent study.
The Silent Way
The goal is to get learners to produce the target language, but they must do so with minimal assistance from the teacher. The teacher uses charts and colored blocks to establish the meaning of model utterances, but the learners have to apply inductive and self-monitoring techniques to build their own
structural knowledge of the target language.
Total physical response
It does not incorporate a specific linguistic model,
being primarily a teacher-dominant approach, with the learner responding physically to instructions, generally in the form of simple structures.
Borrowing principles from yoga and research into psychotherapy carried out in the former Soviet Union, Suggestopedia teachers seek to reduce the psychological barriers of learner anxiety by providing a relaxed, comfortable, and caring learning environment, often with soothing background music.
Communicative Language Teaching
The pluralism of the Communicative Approach could be seen as united by common principles, which include a view of language as principally serving as an expression of meaning at the discourse level (not just the word or sentence level), where appropriacy is as important as accuracy; a view of language learning as best brought about by involving learners actively in communication related to real-life contexts; and a view of the teacher as a facilitator and motivator, as well as source of knowledge.
It organized the syllabus according to language functions (everyday interactions, such as buying food, giving directions, or offering advice) and notions (concepts, such as time, quantity, and location), but offered little explicit advice on appropriate teaching methods.
Drawing on constructivist views of learning, particularly those of Vygotsky and Bruner, task-based learning advocates a learner-centered curriculum and teaching methods that have a strong element of group-work and autonomous activities:
thus it appears to mesh well with communicative views of language learning that stress the development of various competences – communicative, strategic,
cultural, etc. – by the individual learner.
is concerned with providing learners with access to what are
perceived as the most powerful genres of written and spoken text in society
(Dufficy, 2000). Genres (of which reports and recounts are examples) are social processes: they are texts possessing certain regular features arising from the regularity of their use in specific social situations (Kress, 1993). Texts are constructed through grammar, which is viewed as performing a semantic function (Martin & Rothery, 1993). To empower learners, genre pedagogy employs a procedure of explicit instruction by the teacher to initiate the learners in the construction of a text through analysis of the subject matter, or “field”; the interlocutor relationship, or “tenor”; and the channel, or “mode” (Martin, 1993). This is followed by collaborative text construction, and finally autonomous text production by the learners (Dufficy, 2000).
Methodology and Curriculum
Marsh and Willis (1995) distinguish between the “planned” or “intended” curriculum, which is the product of design and development by various agencies, such as educational bureaus at the state level, or educational publishers; the “enacted” curriculum, which refers to the educational content and activities that are provided in a classroom; and the “experienced” curriculum, which is what individual learners actually gain from the process.
The inability of methodology to cater for the diverse contexts in which second or foreign languages are learnt has given rise to attention in the literature to the different domains of learning, recognizing the formal and
unnaturalistic characteristics of most language education settings and attempting to understand how second language learning takes place in such settings.
This has been accompanied by an emphasis on the teacher as mediator of learning experiences, as reflective practitioner, as action researcher, and as eclecticist.
Classroom-centered pedagogy can involve selected
borrowing from existing methods, but also involves the teachers in constructing creative solutions to address the issues that they face in their daily work
In postmethod contexts, applied linguistics can make a telling contribution to the development of teachers’ principled eclecticism or pragmatism by providing the principles that lay the foundations of a teacher’s informed choice.
Another challenge for applied linguistics is to advocate that teachers are provided with the pedagogical space and support for them to operate as principled eclecticists or pragmatists. Given the powerful political and economic
forces that are brought to bear on education systems, and which tend to restrict
and confine teachers, this challenge is significant.