APPROACHES AND METHODS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING
(Jack C. Richards and Theodore S. Rodgers)
Proposed to fulfill the Comprehensive Assignment
Ovi Sovina Ekawati
TBI C/ VIII
ENGLISH EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND TEACHERS
THE STATE INSTITUTE FOR ISLAMIC STUDIES
“SULTAN MAULANA HASANUDDIN BANTEN”
1435 A.H/ 2014 A.D
I. MAJOR TRENDS IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY LANGUAGE TEACHING
1. A brief history of language teaching
In the sixteenth century, French, Italian, and English gained in importance as a result of political changes in Europe, and Latin gradually became displaced as a language of spoken and written communication. The study of classical Latin (the Latin in which the classical works of Virgil, Ovid, and Cicero were written) and an analysis of its grammar and rhetoric became the model for foreign language study from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries.
Toward the mid-nineteenth century several factors contributed to a questioning and rejection of the Grammar-Translation Method. Linguists too became interested in the controversies that emerged about the best way to teach foreign languages, and ideas were fiercely discussed and defended in books, articles, and pamphlets.
Other reformers toward the end of the century likewise turned their attention to naturalistic principles of language learning, and for this reason they are sometimes referred to as advocates of a "natural" method.
2. The nature of approaches and methods in language teaching
He identified three levels of conceptualization and organization, which he termed approach, method, and technique:
- An approach is a set of correlative assumptions dealing with the nature of language teaching and learning.
- Method is an overall plan for the orderly presentation of language material, no part of which contradicts, and all of which is based upon, the selected approach.
- A technique is implementational that which actually takes place in a classroom. Techniques must be consistent with a method, and therefore in harmony with an approach as well.
3. The Oral Approach and Situational Language Teaching
- Language teaching begins with the spoken language. Material is taught orally before it is presented in written form.
- The target language is the language of the classroom.
- New language points are introduced and practiced situationally.
- Vocabulary selection procedures are followed to ensure that an essential general service vocabulary is covered.
- Items of grammar are graded following the principle that simple forms should be taught before complex ones.
- Reading and writing are introduced once a sufficient lexical and grammatical basis is established.
4. The Audiolingual Method
The learner's activities must at first be confined to the audiolingual and gestural-visual bands of language behavior. Recognition and discrimination are followed by imitation, repetition and memorization.
The use of drills and pattern practice is a distinctive feature of the Audiolingual Method. Various kinds of drills are used includes the following:
- Repetition. The student repeats an utterance aloud as soon as he has heard it.
- Inflection. One word in an utterance appears in another form when repeated.
- Replacement. One word in an utterance is replaced by another.
- Restatement. The student rephrases an utterance and addresses it to someone else, according to instructions.
- Completion. The student hears an utterance that is complete except for one word, then repeats the utterance in completed form.
- Transposition. A .change in word order is necessary when a word is added.
- Expansion. When a word is added it takes a certain place in the sequence.
- Contraction. A single word stands for a phrase or clause.
- Transformation. A sentence is transformed by being made negative or interrogative or through changes in tense, mood, voice, aspect, or modality.
- Integration. Two separate utterances are integrated into one.
- Rejoinder. The student makes an appropriate rejoinder to a given utterance.
- Restoration. The student is given a sequence of words that have been culled from a sentence but still bear its basic meaning.
II. ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES AND METHODS
1. Total Physical Response
Total Physical Response (TPR) is a language teaching method built around the coordination of speech and action; it attempts to teach language through physical (motor) activity. Procedures includes :
- Review. This was a fast-moving warm-up in which individual students were moved with commands.
- New commands. These verbs were introduced.
- Role reversal. Students readily volunteered to utter commands that manipulated the behavior of the instructor and other students ....
- Reading and writing. The instructor wrote on the chalkboard each new vocabulary item and a sentence to illustrate the item. Then she spoke each item and acted out the sentence. The students listened as she read the material. Some copied the information in their notebooks.
2. The Silent Way
The Silent Way is based on the premise that the teacher should be silent as much as possible in the classroom but the learner should be encouraged to produce as much language as possible.
- Learning is facilitated if the learner discovers or creates rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned.
- Learning is facilitated by accompanying (mediating) physical objects.
- Learning is facilitated by problem solving involving the material to be learned.
3. Community Language Learning
In Curren's method, teachers consider students as “whole persons,” with intellect, feelings, instincts, physical responses, and desire to learn. Learners become members of a community - their fellow learners and the teacher - and learn through interacting with the community. As with most methods, CLL combines innovative learning tasks and activities with conventional ones. They include:
- Group work.
- Transcription. Students transcribe utterances and conversations they have recorded for practice and analysis of linguistic forms.
- Reflection and observation. Learners reflect and report on their experience of the class, as a class or in groups.
- Listening. Students listen to a monologue by the teacher.
- Free conversation.
Suggestopedia is a specific set of learning recommendations derived from Suggestology, which Lozanov describes as a "science, concerned with the systematic study of the nonrational and/or nonconscious influences" that human beings are constantly responding to. Lozanov lists several expected teacher behaviors that contribute to these presentations :
- Show absolute confidence in the method.
- Display fastidious conduct in manners and dress.
- Organize properly and strictly observe the initial stages of the teaching process this includes choice and play of music, as well as punctuality.
- Maintain a solemn attitude toward the session.
- Give tests and respond tactfully to poor papers (if any).
- Stress global rather than analytical attitudes toward materiaL
- Maintain a modest enthusiasm.
5. Whole Language
The term Whole Language was created in th 1980s by a group of U.S. educators concerned with the teaching of language arts, that is, reading and writing in the native language. The Whole Language movement is strongly opposed to these approaches to teaching reading and writing and argues that language should be taught as a "whole." "If language isn't kept whole, it isn't language anymore".
The major principles underlying the design of Whole Language instruction are as follows :
- The use of authentic literature rather than artificial, specially prepared texts and exercises designed to practice individual reading skills.
- a focus on real and natural events rather than on specially written stories that do not relate to the students' experience.
- the reading of real texts of high interest, particularly literature.
- reading for the sake of comprehension and for a real purpose.
- writing for a real audience and not simply to practice writing skills.
- writing as a process through which learners explore and discover meaning.
- the use of student-produced texts rather than teacher-generated or other-generated texts.
- integration of reading, writing, and other skills.
- student-centered learning: students have choice over what they read and write, giving them power and understanding of their world.
- reading and writing in partnership with other learners.
- encouragement of risk taking and exploration and the acceptance of errors as signs of learning rather than of failure.
6. Multiple Intelligences
Multiple Intelligences (MI) refers to a learner-based philosophy that characterizes human intelligence as having multiple dimensions that must be acknowledged and developed in education. Gardner posits eight native "intelligences," which are described as follows:
- Linguistic: the ability to use language in special and creative ways, which is something lawyers, writers, editors, and interpreters are strong.
- Logical/mathematical: the ability to think rationally, often found with doctors, engineers, programmers, and scientists.
- Spatial: the ability to form mental models of the world, something architects, decorators, sculptors, and painters are good.
- Musical: a good ear for music, as is strong in singers and composers.
- Bodily/kinesthetic: having a well-coordinated body, something found in athletes a.nd craftspersons .
- Interpersonal: the ability to be able to work well with people, which is strong in salespeople, politicians, and teachers.
- Intrapersonal: the ability to understand oneself and apply one's talent successfully, which leads to happy and well-adjusted people in all areas of life.
- Naturalist: the ability to understand and organize the patterns of nature.
There is a basic developmental sequence that has been proposed (Lazear .l991} as an alternative to what we have elsewhere considered as a type of "syllabus" design. The sequence consists of four stages:
- Stage 1: Awaken the Intelligence. Through multisensory experiences touching, smelling, tasting, seeing, and so on -learners can be sensitized to the many-faceted properties of objects and events in the world that surrounds them.
- Stage 2: Amplify the Intelligence. Students strengthen and improve the intelligence by volunteering objects and events of their own choosing and defining with others the properties and contexts of experience of these objects and events.
- Stage 3: Teach with/for the Intelligence. At this stage the intelligence is linked to the focus of the class, that is, to some aspect of language learning. This is done via worksheets and small-group projects and discussion.
- Stage 4: Transfer of the Intelligence. Students reflect on the learning experiences of the previous three stages and relate these to issues and challenges in the out-of-class world.
7. Neurolinguistic Programming
NLP is a collection of techniques, patterns, and strategies for assisting effective communication, personal growth and change, and learning. It is based on a series of underlying assumptions about how the mind works and how people act and interact.
Four key principles lie at the heart of NLP (O'Connor and McDermott 1996; Revell and Norman 1997).
- Outcomes: the goals or ends. NLP claims that knowing precisely what you want helps you achieve it. This principle can be expressed as "know what you want."
- Rapport: a factor that is essential for effective communication maximizing similarities and minimizing differences between people at a nonconscious level. This principle can be expressed as "Establish rapport with yourself and then with others."
- Sensory acuity: noticing what another person is communicating, consciously and non verbally. This can be expressed as "Use your senses. Look at, listen to, and feel what is actually happening."
- Flexibility: doing things differently if what you are doing is not working: having a range of skills to do something else or something different. This can be expressed as "Keep changing what you do until you get what you want."
8. The lexical approach
A lexical approach in language teaching refers to one derived from the belief that the building blocks of language learning and communication are not grammar, functions, notions, or some other unit of planning and teaching but lexis, that is, words and word combinations.
The role of collocation is also important in lexically based theories of language. Collocation refers to the regular occurrence together of words. Many other lexical units also occur in language. For example:
- binomials: clean and tidy, back to front
- trinomials: cool, calm, and collected
- idioms: dead drunk, to run up a bill
- similes: as old as the hills
- connectives: finally, to conclude
- conversational gambits: Guess what!
9. Competency-Based Language Teaching
Competencies consist of a description of the essential skills, knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors required for effective performance of a real-world task or activity. The competency descriptions at each stage are divided into four domains :
- Knowledge and learning competencies
- Oral competencies
- Reading competencies
- Writing competencies
III. CURRENT COMMUNICATIVE APPROACHES
1. Communicative Language Teaching
The Communicative Approach in language teaching starts from a theory of language as communication. The goal of language teaching is to develop "communicative competence."
Linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener in a completely homogeneous speech community, who knows its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitation, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance.
Some of the characteristics of this communicative view of language follow:
- Language is a system for the expression of meaning.
- The primary function of language is to allow interaction and communication.
- The structure of language reflects its functional and communicative uses.
- The primary units of language are not merely its grammatical and structural features, but categories of functional and communicative meaning as exemplified in discourse. .
2. The Natural Approach
The Natural Approach belongs to a tradition of language teaching methods based on observation and interpretation of how learners acquire both first and second languages in nonformal settings. Such methods reject the formal (grammatical) organization of language as a prerequisite to teaching.
The Natural Approach "is for beginners and is designed to help them become intermediates." It has the expectation that students will be able to function adequately in the target situation. They will understand the speaker of the target language (perhaps with requests for clarification), and will be able to convey (in a non-insulting manner) their requests and ideas. They need not know every word in a particular semantic domain, nor is it necessary that the syntax and vocabulary be flawless -but their" production does need to be understood. They should be able to make the meaning clear but not necessarily be accurate in all details of grammar.
3. Cooperative Language Learning
Cooperative Learning is an approach to teaching that makes maximum use of cooperative activities involving pairs and small groups of learners in the classroom. Cooperative learning is group learning activity organized so that learning is dependent on the socially structured exchange of information between learners in groups and in which each learner is held accountable for his or her own learning and is motivated to increase the learning of others.
Cooperative Learning in this context sought to do the following:
- raise the achievement of all students, including those who are gifted or academically handicapped.
- help the teacher build positive relationships among students.
- give students the experiences they need for healthy social, psychological, and cognitive development.
- replace the competitive organizational structure of most classrooms and schools with a team-based, high-performance organizational structure.
Johnson et aL., (1994: 4-5) describe three types of cooperative learning groups.
1. Formal cooperative learning groups. These last from one class period to several weeks. These are estqblished for a specific task and involve students working together to achieve shared learning goals.
2. Informal cooperative learning groups. These are ad-hoc groups that last from a few minutes to a class period and are used to focus student attention or to facilitate learning during direct teaching.
3. Cooperative base groups. These are long term, lasting for at least a year and consist of heterogeneous learning groups with stable membership whose primary purpose is to allow members to give each other the support, help, encouragement, and assistance they need to succeed academically.
4. Content-Based Instruction
Content-Based Instruction (CBI) refers to an approach to second language teaching in which teaching is organized around the content or information that students will acquire, rather than around a linguistic or other type of syllabus.
CBI It is the teaching of content or information in the language being learned with little or no direct or explicit effort to teach the language itself separately from the content being taught.
The term content refers to the substance or subject matter that we learn or communicate through language rather than the language used to convey it. Many CBI practitioners recommend the use of tourist guidebooks, technical journals, railway timetables, newspaper ads, radio and TV broadcast, and so on, and at least one cautions that “textbooks are contrary to the very concept of CBI- and good language teaching in general”.
5. Task-Based Language Teaching
Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) refers to an approach based on the use of tasks as the core unit of planning and instruction in language teaching.
Task-Based Language Teaching proposes the notion of "task" as a central unit of planning and teaching. Although definitions of task vary in TBLT, there is a commonsensical understanding that a task is an activity or goal that is carried out using language, such as finding-a solution to a puzzle, reading a map and giving directions, making a telephone call, writing a letter, or reading a set of instructions and assembling a toy.
Tasks are activities which have meaning as their primary focus. Success in tasks is evaluated in terms of achievement of an outcome, and tasks generally bear some resemblance to real-life language use. So task-based instruction takes a fairly strong view of communicative language teaching.
6. The post-methods era
A method, on the other hand, refers to a specific instructional design or system based on a particular theory of language and of language learning. It contains detailed specifications of content, roles of teachers and learners, and teaching procedures and techniques. It is relatively fixed in time and there is generally little scope for individual interpretation. Methods are learned through training. The teacher's role is to follow the method and apply it precisely according to the rules.
However, methods offer some advantages over approaches, and this doubtless explains their appeal. Because of the general nature of approaches, there is often no clear application of their assumptions and principles in the classroom, as we have seen with a number of the approaches described in this book. Much is left to the individual teacher's interpretation, skill, and expertise. Consequently, there is often no clear right or wrong way of teaching according to an approach and no prescribed body of practice waiting to be implemented. This lack of detail can be a source of frustration and irritation for teachers, particularly those with little training or experience. Methods, on the other hand, solve many of the problems beginning teachers have to struggle with because many of the basic decisions about what to teach and how to teach it have already been made for them. Moreover, method enthusiasts create together a professional community with a common purpose, ideology, and vernacular.
Learners bring different learning styles and preferences to the learning process, that they should be consulted in the process of developing a teaching program, and that teaching methods must be flexible and adaptive to learners’ need and interest.