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approaches to teaching

Approaches to language teaching
Information is pretty thin stuff unless mixed
with experience
It is a set of assumptions dealing with the nature of language and the nature of language teaching and learning. An approach provides principles to decide what kind of content and what sort of procedures are appropriate.
What is an approach?
it is the classroom strategy or the practical realization of an approach. It is How the teaching to be conducted.
The Method
It is an ordered sequence of techniques. Smaller than a method and larger than a technique.
The Procedure
Awide variety of exercises, activities or devices used in the language classroom for realizing lesson objectives.
The technique
“Syllabus”is the What of the language teaching

“Method” is the How

“Approach” is the Why
The grammar Translation Method
What does it focus on?(discussion)
Developing students’ appreciation of the language’s literature as well as teaching the language.Memorizing rules, native language equivalents of target language.Teacher controlling all activities.The mother tongue is used as a medium of instruction.Hardly any attention is paid to speaking and listening skills.
What are the limitations?
The grammar –translation method did not serve any “utilitarian goal” (useful and practical).
It takes little account of present-day language usage.
It emphasizes the written language at the expense of the functional nature of the language and it is used to convey social functions(requesting , greeting, expressing feelings)
Pupils practice reading for the sake of memorizing a number of vocabulary items of translation.
Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of separate words.
Neglects speaking skills , little attention is given to accurate pronunciation.
Teachers tend to provide the correct answer when students can’t.
The Direct Method
What does it focus on?
To communicate and think in the target language.
No translation is allowed.
Visual aids and pantomime are used to clarify the meaning of the vocabulary items and concepts.
Reading and writing are taught from the beginning and listening and speaking skills are emphasized.Grammar is learned inductively. Grammar rules are not taught, they are acquired unconsciously through practical use.
Learner is involved in use of every day language situations.
Reading and writing are deferred for months.
What are the restrictions?
The method is characterized for being time-consuming.The insistence on giving meanings of words and structures through dramatization and demonstration without restoring to the mother tongue has led to the using of roundabout techniques which are time consuming.
What does it focus on?
It is known as the aural-oral approach (rapid in acquisition of speaking and listening skills)
Developing the listening and speaking skills as the foundation of other skills.
It believes that the language learning is the acquisition of a set of language habits. The learner repeats the pattern until he is able to produce them spontaneously.
The teacher controls the student’s behavior ,provides a model and reinforces the correct responses.
Use of mother tongue is discouraged in the classroom.
What are the restrictions?
The method emphasized speech at the expense of other language skills ,especially writing .

The ordering of listening, speaking, reading and writing is not essential.

The method fails to prepare the learner to use the foreign language for meaningful communications.
What does it focus on?

Providing enjoyable learning experiences, minimizing the stress that accompanies learning language .
Meaning is made clear through actions.
TPR asks students to respond physically to the language they hear.
Language processing is matched with physical actions.
Grammatical structures and vocabulary are emphasized ,imbedded in imperatives.
Understanding proceeds production. Spoken language precedes the written word.
Delay of speech reduces stress. Focus is on listening and responding physically.
What are the restrictions?

The delay of speaking skill in the learning process.
What does it focus on?
It is based on choosing from different methods to suit for one’s teaching purposes and allows teachers to absorb the best techniques of all well-known language teaching methods into their classroom procedures,using them for purposes for which they are most appropriate.
What are the limitations?
It does not offer any guidance on what basis and what principles ,aspects of different methods can be selected and combined.
The communicative approach
Communicative language teaching:
The communicative approachis the name which was given to a set of beliefs which included not only re-examination of what aspects of language to teach, but also a shift on the emphasis in how to teach.The ‘what to teach ‘ aspect of the communicative approach stressed the significance of language functions rather than focusing solely on grammar and vocabulary. Activities in CLT typically involve in real communication ,where the accuracy of the language they use is less important than successful achievement of the communicative task they are performing.The communicative approach emphasizes the learner’s ability to use the language appropriately in specific situations. It tries to make the learner communicatively competent.
No communicative desire.No communicative purposeOne language item only.Teacher intervention.Materials control
A desire to communicate.A communicative purpose.Content not formVariety of language.No teacher intervention.No material control.
The characteristics of the
Communicative approach
Language is first and foremost a means of communication. Learners are supposed to use the language to communicate with each other and with their teacher in a meaningfuland a natural way in different life-like situations.
Individualization:The individual in the centre of the process ,almost all the language the learner hears and speaks has a direct bearing on his welfare and therefore has unique significance for him. The learner expresses his own needs without prompting from others and puts into the foreign language his own thoughts and feelings. Furthermore, the rate at which he learns new items of language is governed by his own capacity to assimilate them.
Learning a language takes place in a social context.The learner uses language in order to maintain a variety of relationships with other people. Communicative functions are not bound to specific situations ; once they have been mastered , so they can be used creatively, they can be transferred to contexts other than the ones where they were initially acquired . That is why in our mother tongue we can acquire the basic communication skills in the close family context, and transfer them later in life to much wider range of social situations. In the same way, the structures and skills a foreign language learner acquires during classroom interaction can later be transferred to other kinds of situations.
Enjoyment:The process of acquiring a language is interesting and fun and in accompanied with a noticeable lack of mental stress and in a supportive rather than a defensive atmosphere.
Communicative activities have three features:
Information gap:
It exists when a person in an exchange knows something that the other person doesn’t. If both persons know today is Tuesdayand I ask “What is today?” our exchange isn’t really communicative.
In communication ,the speaker has the choice of what he will say and how he will say it. If the exercise is tightly controlled so that the students can say only one thing in one way, the speaker has no choice and the exchange ,therefore, is not communicative.
Authentic material:The use of authentic material is one of the characteristics of a communicative approach. It is desirable to give students an opportunity to develop strategies for understanding language as it is actually used by native speakers.
How do the roles of the teacher and student change in communicative language teaching ?
Managingclassroom activities
Setting up communicative situations
Facilitator , guide, coordinator
Actively engaged in negotiating meaning
Talking less, listening more
ٌreferee , monitor
Managers of their own learning
Howto manage a successful communicative task
What can I do to set the scene and create a context ?
How can I generate Interest in this activity ?
What is the purpose of the task ?
What type of grouping Will be appropriate?
Student preparation Time
Set the scene
Model preparatory task
Useful Ingredients for Communicative Activities
Identify a realistic context or situation.
Identify a clear objective or purpose.
Insure there is an information gap” or opining gap”
Generate students’ interests.
Model, model, model.
Determine appropriate students groupings.
Monitor , guide , and help.
Involve students in the self-correction of errors.
Provide a sense of conclusion.
How to decide whether to use group work ,pair work ,or a whole class activity?
The Task
Variety in sequence
The mood
When the task requires discussion and oral interaction.
If much of your recent teaching has involved whole-class grouping or pair work there maybe a pressing need for group work.
Changing the grouping of a class can be a good way of changing the mood of our students.
Working in groups is a waste of time.
Students might learn others’ mistakes by practicing English together.
Students in groups should be of different levels of ability.
When forming groups we expect perfect and effective performance from the students.
Groups can be chosen haphazardly
I don’t prefer group work because of the noise.
The productive noise in the class when forming groups is not considered a negative point.
One of the aims of working in groups is to help pupils increase their confidence and reduce their anxiety.
Giving a time limit gives a sense of urgency to an activity.
Think Twice!
Group Work
The students must understand and accept the responsibility of working together ,without the constant direction of the teacher.
They need also to recognize the need for a group leader whose function is to report back to the teacher on group activities, to handle the flow of material and in general be the teacher substitute.
The importance of the role of each member in the success ofan activity.
Mixed ability
Steamed groups
Types of Group Selections:
Advantages of group work:
It transfers the center of activities from the teacher to thelearners.
It encourages cooperative work, Making it easier for the individual to make contribution according to his ability.
It provides natural social context in which communication takes place.
It increases intellectual and emotional involvement of the individual in what is going on in his group. This motivates the learners to express himself and participate in language activities.
It motivates creativity and paves the way for enjoyment.
It releases anxiety and tension a learner experiences when he is working individually.
There is greater chance of variation in opinion and discussion.
Disadvantages of group work:
Not all students enjoy it since they would prefer to be the focus of the teacher’s attention rather than working with their peers.
Some learnersmight be passive while others might dominate.
Grouping might take longer time within organization stage and while tackling a task.
How to make group work successful
Prepare all materials expected tobe used in the activity.
Give enough explanation at the beginning of any group-work.
Activate your students before they work by themselves.
Set a time-limit for the performance of any group work task.
Be a good entertainer as well as a good controller.
Be ready to guide and help your students when needed.
Give each group a chance to present its work,
making sure that other groups are following attentively.
Encouraging comments on good presentations and
constructive criticismof poor ones have very good results.
Pair Work
Advantages of Pair Work:It increases the amount of speaking time.
It allows the students to work and interact independently.
It allows teachers time to work with one or two pairs while the other students continue working.
“Two heads are better than one .”
It promotes cooperation.
The class becomes a relaxed atmosphere for learning.
It allows pairs to share the responsibilities of choosing the correct answer.
It is relatively quick and easy to organize.
Disadvantages of Pair Work:Pair Work is frequently noisy and some teachers and students dislike this.
Students in pairs can often veer away from the point of an exercise, talking about something else completely.
The chances of “misbehavior “ in pair work are greater than in a whole-class setting.
I t is not so popular to students who feel they would rather relate to the teacher an individual rather interact with another learner who may be just as linguistically weak as they are.
The actual choice of paired partner can be problematic especially if students frequently find themselves working with someone they are not keen on.
Finishing First
Awkward groups
Communicative drills and activities
Practical situations:

students can practice requesting and providing information in several situations such as asking for directions in a city , ordering meals in a restaurant ..etc
Guessing games:
students can do guessing activities in pairs or groups . For example, one student chooses a famous person ,others ask yes and no questions to find out who this person is. One students draws a picture on a paper and turns it upside down or turns it over on the table and the partner guesses what it is by asking questions “do you have a ….”. The teacher may also provide a short story with no ending and allows students to discuss a plot and reach a reasonable ending for the story.
The teacher can involve students in conversations that stimulate arguments and discussions .
The teacher may divide students into groups and ask each to describe something from a different perspective. For example , Describing a TV set from the perspective of prehistoric people, modern people, people from future, people from another planet.
Extracurricular Activities
They are activities mostly done outside classrooms .
They help learners to discover and share talents ,develop character and
They can include:
School trips
parents visits in classrooms to bring their expertise or talents
into the classroom.( a doctor – an engineer – an artist)
School assemblies
School competitions
Student councils
Co-curricular Activities
They are activities mostly held inside the classroom and they are teacher-oriented
activities. The teacher monitors and later guides the special talents to be developed
and made use of.
They can include
Project Work
Arts and crafts

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approaches to teaching