The Current Phase:
This Phase contains an over view of what is TESOL, Approaches
and Methodologies that have shaped TESOL, something that
every English Language Teacher should be aware of and who
are we going to teach or the learner.
1 - Introduction to TESOL
The term ESL is used to refer to situations in which English
is being taught and learned in countries, contexts and cultures
in which English is the predominant language of communication.
The concept of teaching English to immigrants in countries
such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom
and the United States typify ESL. In these countries, individuals
from non-English-speaking backgrounds may speak their LI
at home, but will be required to use English for communicating
at work, in school and in the community in general. The
term is also prevalent in countries where English is widely
used as, lingua franca. These include the Special Administrative
Region of Hong Kong (where its usage reflects the Region's
recent past as a colony of the United Kingdom); Singapore
(a multilingual society with English as a lingua franca)
and India (where the population speaks a range of other
languages and where English as well as Hindi enables communication
between these diverse linguistic groups).
EFL is used in contexts where English is neither widely
used for communication, nor used as the medium of instruction.
Brazil, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Mexico are countries
where English is taught as a foreign language, either
as part of the elementary and high-school curriculum,
or in private schools and other educational settings.
In most EFL settings there is limited exposure to the
language outside of the classroom, and often limited opportunity
to use it. The syllabus therefore needs to be carefully
structured with extensive recycling of key target-language
items. In addition the burden for providing the cultural
dimension to the curriculum very much rests with the teacher.
Teaching is also complicated by the fact that teachers
are usually non-native speakers of English who may lack
opportunities to use the language, or lack confidence
in using it. In such situations it is important for the
materials to provide the sort of rich and diverse linguistic
input that ESL learners encounter in the world beyond
With globalization and the rapid expansion of information
technologies, there has been an explosion in the demand
for English worldwide. This has led to greater diversification
in the contexts and situations in which it is learned
and used, as well as in the nature of the language itself.
English no longer belongs to the United Kingdom, or to
the United States. It is an increasingly diverse and diversified
resource for global communication.
There are many teaching aspects to look at before the
actual teaching that will make you well prepared, such
as, a solid awareness of language. There are also ideas
and methods to learn that will help make you a good teacher.
A comprehensive teacher training course driven with a
well defined approach has the potential to lead a teacher
to this joy of teaching. A proper program, such as TESOL,
will equip you with the skills, knowledge and methods
to produce your own successful classes.
In order to develop into a successful TESOL professional
you will want to develop your own teaching style. You
may feel that the real training starts inside the classroom
and in front of your students. But this TESOL program
endeavors to help you emerge ready, prepared and confident
before making your way into the classroom. This TESOL
program takes a principled approach towards language teaching.
But no amount of theory can prepare you for what you are
going to face when you are standing in front of your students.
Therefore, in a TESOL program, you are asked to do tasks
based on the things that work most of the time (with most
classes and most teachers). Moves here are based upon
principles of language learning and teaching found in
most “communicative language learning” classrooms.
Our endeavor on the TESOL course is to make you go through
that experience before you take up a teaching assignment;
to help you to be ready, prepared and confident before
you step into the classroom.
This course involves behaviors and choreographies that
can be employed in classrooms to facilitate learning.
Learned behavior for effective teaching when linked with
your planned lesson frameworks, will form the choreographies
to facilitate your students? learning. To be precise,
this TESOL program blends proven techniques with the ability
to provide interplay between the students, teacher and
texts that constitute real teaching and learning situations.
The goal of our program is to get you into the classroom
with these “moves”. Then the rest is up to
you to use them at your disposal to build a successful
personal teaching style that will bring you a memorable
lifelong learning experience, and joy in your new chosen
What about methodology, techniques and approaches to language
learning? It is evident that talking about language and
grammar rules is not a sufficient or even necessary condition
for learning language. Equally, talking about language
ideas and methods seems an unlikely condition for learning
to teach. Put another way, good teachers know what to
do. It is not necessarily true that they know why they
do certain things, or what makes them effective. TESOL
will present “what to do” based upon things
that work most of the time with most classes for most
teachers. These “moves” are based upon principles
of language learning and teaching that are found in “communicative
language learning” classrooms.
The Online TESOL Certificate Program will present the
behaviors and choreographies that can be employed in a
classroom to facilitate learning. It provides the behaviors
for effective teaching, and when linked together in lesson
frameworks, forms the choreographies to facilitate learning.
The comparison to dancing is more than an accurate metaphor.
Like dancing, teaching requires that you learn some body
movements and choreographies that are not natural for
most. Learning these behaviors and choreographies requires
the same neural-motor skills as dancing. The only thing
missing is the “music” and that is provided
by the interplay between students, teacher and text that
constitutes the real teaching learning situation. While
anyone can learn to perform the steps, dancing to the
music may take some time and experience in classrooms
with real students. The goal of TESOL is to get you into
the classroom with the “moves” you need to
work with. The rest is up to you and a lifelong learning
experience called teaching.
Second Language Acquisition
Language acquisition is one of the most impressive and
fascinating aspects of human development. Language learning
is an amazing feat that has attracted attention of linguist
and psychologists for generations. Both first and second
language acquisition share important similarities that
explain the development of the target language in a learners
psyche. Several theories have also been used in explaining
how language is learned.
term second language acquisition (SLA) refers to the process
through which someone acquires one or more second or foreign
languages. Acquisition operates informally in natural
context as well as within the confines of the classroom
where both product (language produced by the learners
at different stages) and process (the mental process and
environmental factors that influence the acquisition process)
are at play.
tracing the stages of first language acquisition we discuss
that the earliest vocalization of a child is involuntary
crying that manifest emotions or biological needs like
hunger or discomfort. However, they can clearly perceive
the subtle difference between two dissimilar sounds of
human language. But the vocal expression of such differences
comes several months later. ‘Telegraphic’
sentences begin to form as they combine words into sentences
that are devoid of function words and grammatical morphemes.
Generally by the age of four, language acquires a basic
structure which gradually strengthens with application
of formats and rules. Metalinguistic awareness develops
during the pre-school years when language is treated as
an object as the children embarks on learning and reading.
to more than one language since birth is referred to as
‘simultaneous bilinguals’; slightly different
is ‘sequential bilinguals’ where learning
of second language begins at a later stage. Prolonged
distance from family language and intense proximity to
a second language on the other hand lead to ‘subtractive
bilingualism’ during early school days.
Discovery of language progresses through predictable patterns
that chart the emergence and development of many features
of the language learnt. The developmental sequences or
stages are related to children’s cognitive development.
However, it is discernible that a child or adult learning
a second language is different from a child acquiring
a first language in terms of both personal characteristics
and conditions for learning. Characteristically, all learners
of second language have had acquired at least one language,
irrespective of age. This prior knowledge can turn out
to be a negative or a positive aspect in second language
learning. It is expected to be a combination of contrasting
possibilities. To elucidate further, young language learners
begin the task of language learning without the benefit
of some of the skills and knowledge which adolescent and
adult learners have. The first language learner doesn’t
have the same cognitive maturity, Metalinguistic maturity
or world knowledge as older second language learners.
Although young second language learners have begun to
develop cognitive maturity and Metalinguistic awareness,
they will still have far to go in these areas, as well
as in the area of world knowledge, before they reach the
levels already attained by adults and adolescents.
learners mostly are far less inhibited in using the language
– even in cases of limited proficiency. However,
a similar act proves to be very stressful for adults and
adolescents when they are unable to express themselves
clearly and correctly. Nevertheless, even pre-school children
can also differ in their nervousness when faced with speaking
a language they do not know well. Some engage in happy
conversation in the new language; others chose to listen
and participate silently in social interaction with their
peers. Fortunately, for these children, the learning environment
rarely puts pressure on them to speak when they are not
conditions too tend to differ with age level. Young learners
in an informal second language learning scenario are usually
allowed to be silent until they are ready to speak. For
older learners, the factor of compulsion to speak works
in order to meet the requirements of a classroom or for
social interactions while shopping, medical visits or
job interviews. Young children in informal settings are
usually exposed to the second language for many hours
every day. Older learners, especially students in language
classroom are more likely to receive only limited exposure
to the second language. However, a condition common to
learners of all age in varying quantities is access to
modified input. This adjusted speech style which is called
child-direct speech for first language, is sometimes called
foreigner talk or teacher talk for second languages. Many
people who interact regularly with language learners seem
to have an intuitive sense of what adjustments are needed
to help learners understand. Of course, some people are
better at it than others.
error correction in first language acquisition which tends
to be limited to corrections of meaning – including
errors in vocabulary choice, informal second language
acquisition usually overlook errors which do not interfere
with meaning. Thus, errors of grammar and pronunciation
are rarely remarked on, but wrong word choices are susceptible
to comments. The only place where feedback on error is
typically present with high frequency is the language
Coming to theories, some have been developed for second
language acquisition (SLA) giving primary importance to
learners’ innate characteristics; some emphasize
the essential role of the environment in shaping language
learning, still others seek to integrate learner characteristics
and environmental factors in an explanation for how second
language acquisition take place.
Theory of Behaviourism identifies language learning as
a result of imitation, practice, feedback on success and
habit formation. According to the behaviourists, all learning,
whether verbal or non-verbal, takes place through the
same underlying process. Learners receive linguistic input
from speakers in their environment and they form ‘associations’
between words, and objects or events. These associations
become stronger as experiences are repeated. By imitating
sounds and patterns around them, children invite positive
reinforcement in form of praise or accomplished communication
as well as corrective feedback on their errors. Behaviourism
is also related to Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH)
that explains the easy adaptation of second/target language
structures if there are similarities with the first; differences
naturally make learning difficult.
theoretical derivation of Noam Chomsky stresses upon the
innate language programming within the learner that develops
like any other biological functions - Innatism. The environment
makes a basic contribution by making available to the
learner, reciprocating speakers. Chomsky has referred
to the special ability within the learner to perceive
the ground rules of any new language system. This inherent
language acquisition device (LAD) or endowment which has
later been termed as Universal Grammar (UG) simply needs
language samples to get activated. UG is considered to
be a set of principles that are common to all languages
and that permits all learners to acquire the language
of their environment during a ‘critical period’
in their development. This critical period does not stretch
indefinitely and refers to a concept of right time. A
few contrasting arguments that generate from this theory
The unavailability of UG to guide the acquisition beyond
the critical period
• Beyond the critical period of acquisition the
learners might not attain complete mastery of the target
language but would eventually have more knowledge of the
language if compared to sole dependence on external inputs.
‘Monitor Model’ proposed by Stephen Krashen
constitute of five hypotheses’ based on the Innatist
theory of second language acquisition.
The acquisition-learning hypothesis concludes at
nominating acquired language as the foremost tool
of natural and fluent communication, compared to
the conscious process of learning where attention
and conformation to form and rule prevails. Fluency
here isn?t necessarily controlled and decided by
• In the monitor hypothesis, Krashen designates
the learned system as an editor or monitor responsible
for fine tuning the language that has been acquired.
This acquisition alone can ensure fluency and intuitive
judgment about correctness. Monitor is used when
the focus is on correctness like in case of written
communication. Krashen maintains that since knowing
the rules only helps the speaker supplement what
has been acquired, the focus of language teaching
should be on creating conditions for acquisition
rather than learning.
• The natural order hypothesis is independent
of the order of rules that are taught in classroom.
Acquisition of the second language here attains
a predictable, natural sequence where the easy rules
are not necessarily learnt at the beginning.
• Exposure to comprehensible input is a significant
factor in acquisition.
claims that if the input contains forms and structures
above the learner´s existing level of language competence,
it is bound to initiate comprehension and acquisition.
Undirected pleasure reading can be such a source of comprehensible
input that underlines the theory of the input hypothesis.
• The affective filter hypothesis has features that
are linked to classroom
and is able to diagnose the reason behind the discrepancy
in the level of learning among various students under
the same learning condition. The term `affect´ in
`affective filter´ refers to motivates, needs, attitudes
and emotional states that has potential to filter out
input, creating a virtual barrier that prevents learning
and acquisition. The filter operates at the disposal of
the learner´s state of mind, limiting or encouraging
The more recent psychological theories include the model
of information processing where acquisition is viewed
as the construction of a knowledge system that is accessed
automatically for speaking and understanding. This principle
of Automaticity involves a timely movement of the control
of a few language forms into automatic processing of a
relatively unlimited number of language forms. Over analyzing
language, thinking too much about its forms and consciously
lingering on rules of language all tend to impede this
graduation to automaticity.
addition to the development of automaticity through practice,
skill and knowledge also undergo change due to ‘restructuring’.
Away form the concept of gradual build-up, skills and
knowledge seems to be based on the interaction of existing
knowledge or the acquired new knowledge that fits into
an existing system and causes it to be transformed or
restructured. This set of action can have both positive
and negative impact on the learner.
Connectionism is a cognitive approach that attributes
greater importance to the role of the environment as compared
to the existence of innate knowledge in the learner. The
knowledge bank here is developed with the help of exposure
to linguistic features through innumerable instances.
The Connectionists consider external inputs as the principal
source of linguistic knowledge.
have also been based on acquisition that takes place through
conversational interaction. Interactions between learners
and native speakers produce acquirable inputs that are
comprehensive in nature. The interactionist position as
discussed by Evelyn Hatch, Teresa Pica, and Michael Long
states that the learners need opportunity to interact
with other speakers in a way that is conducive to adaptation
until the learner shows signs of understanding. Yet another
perspective on this role of interaction is the socio-cultural
theory of human mental processing. Social interactions
between individuals are at the centre stage here. Further
collaboration and interaction with more knowledgeable
speakers elevates the learners to an advanced level of
Acquisition Vs Learning
The distinction between “language learning”
and “ language acquisition” has been brought
to us by researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics
and cognitive psychology – notably by Steve Krashen,
Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker and others – and through
studies of both first and second language learning. More
significantly, the majority of people who learn another
language do so without teachers, books or classroom study.
They do it by being exposed to comprehensible input that
is for some reason important to their lives – trading,
traveling, studying or working. They do it not by thinking
about learning language, but by using new sounds and systems
to communicate something of importance to them. We might
do well to look at this phenomenon since these “non-students”
are relatively more successful in their task than the
majority of formal language students. The critical difference
is the focus on the “message” rather than
the form of the language used to transmit the message.
To summarize: as illustrated by Dave Hopkins in his book
Similar to the process of learning L1 (first or
2. An intuitive process
3. Implicit knowledge
4. Speaking without thinking about it
5. Formal teaching does not help much
6. Strongly influenced by affective factors
7. Peers have a more important influence than teachers
or parental figures
8. Language is acquired in a “context”
that is understandable to the learner
9. There is a discernable, but as yet incomplete
ordering of the sequence of acquisition of linguistic
Learning process is not like learning L1
2. Conscious process
3. Explicit knowledge
4. Thinking before speaking
5. Formal teaching helps
6. Not as dependant upon affective factors
7. Teachers or parental figures are more important
8. Language is often de-contextualized for drills
9. There is no attention to what is known about
the sequence of learning different linguistic
Another way of looking at this distinction may be the
following. Native speakers have a built in “feel”
for what is right or wrong in language.
I love to swim.
I enjoy to swim. *
While the second sentence is a logical extension of the
first, native English speakers know it isn’t right.
In order to bring language teaching closer to the ‘natural
acquisition’ of language characterized by first
language learning (L1) certain areas and consideration
need to be strongly emphasized. This also helps in reducing
the type of ‘learning’ practiced in many second-language
classrooms. The areas are –
Language context and modeling of language
2. Natural language as it occurs in real life
3. Encouraging learners to participate, initiate
and make choices about their learning
4. Learning grammar and vocabulary in context
5. Repeated and varied language models for
accuracy, rather than correction
6. Maximizing peer interaction to allow students
to observe, hypothesize, experiment with language
– i.e. scaffolding as output processing
for language development
7. Focus on the “message” rather
than the “language”
8. Emphasizing the emotional engagement of
9. Giving the student time to digest input
before requiring production.
Teaching – Methodologies and Approaches
of English who have the opportunity to live in an English
speaking environment while studying have a huge advantage.
They are surrounded by the language continuously and are
able to put acquired language into practice in everyday,
realistic situations. However, the majority of English
learners are living in their native countries, where English
is not the first language and as a result do not have
these benefits. Many of these students may have the opportunity
to use English at work, with their friends or in some
other practical way where they are able to use their English
on a fairly regular basis. Many other learners of English
are not so fortunate and their only contact with the language
may be twice a week at a language institute. Even if they
have daily exposure to English they get to use it only
in English classes at school or at a private language
institute. As a result these students do not get sufficient
exposure to the language or the opportunity to put into
practice what they have acquired in class.
As children we all learnt our native language without
the aid of language teachers and course books. We simply
absorbed the language around us, processed it and through
trial and error formulated internal ideas and rules to
allow us to be able to use the language fluently and accurately.
This ‘natural language acquisition’ is impossible
to replicate in the classroom but many of the most popular
methodologies in EFL teaching today try to imitate it
as far as practical.
The concept of methodology evolved with the search for
an ideal single method that would successfully teach a
foreign language in the classroom. This search found new
ideologies in a row that replaced the previous one and
eventually gave way to the next. In the process, language
teaching was deduced to be composed of three hierarchical
components – Approach, Method and Technique.
deals with assumptions, beliefs and theories that underline
the nature of language, learning and teaching. It is fed
by theories about the applicability of language and its
nature of learning in pedagogical settings.
or design systematically presents the language, following
a selected approach. We can also designate it as an umbrella
term that marks the specification and interrelation of
theory and practice. A strict definition goes as pedagogical
practices that include theory and research as the basis,
trying to formulate ‘how to teach’.
are classroom activities and practices specific to any
method and also in accordance with the basic approach.
Techniques generally involve a wide variety of exercises,
activities, tasks; everything that turn theory into practice.
describe it in a single line we can state that ‘teaching
methods are approaches in action’ or ‘practical
application of theoretical findings and positions’.
History of language teaching has seen new methods emerging
every quarter of a century.
individual methods are based on a set of beliefs about
the nature of language and learning. For as long as people
have been learning and teaching language, there has been
continual, and often heated, debate as to which method
and technique produce the best results. The shifting focus
over the years have been distinguished under the major
methodological findings –
This was probably the main stay of language teaching and
learning for hundred of years, and indeed is still practiced
in many situations. Many of us will have been exposed
to this system of learning in the state school sector.
basic principle of this system is, as its name suggests,
learning about a language through finding equivalent in
the students’ own language and the foreign language
being learned. In is in effect, a system of translation.
major characteristics of Grammar Translation method can
be charted as:
Classes are taught in mother tongue, with
little active use of the target language
Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists
of isolated words
Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies
of grammar are given
Grammar provides the rules for putting words
together, and instruction often focuses on
the form and inflection of words
Reading of difficult classical texts is begun
Little attention is paid to context of texts,
which are treated as exercises in grammatical
Often the only drills are exercises in translating
disconnected sentences from the target language
into the mother tongue
Little or no attention is given to pronunciation
The major drawback with grammar – translation is
that it seems to prevent the students from getting the
kind of natural language input that will really help them
acquire the language. The danger therefore, is that students
will learn about the language rather than learning the
language itself. This methodology also requires the teachers
to be proficient in the students’ native language.
This is the name given to a language teaching/learning
methodology based upon behaviorist theories of learning.
This theory basically suggests that much learning is as
a result of habit formation through conditioning. Audio-
lingualism concentrates therefore, to a large degree,
on long repetition-drills, in which the students would
be conditioned into using the language correctly.
Audio – lingualism largely went out of fashion because
most linguists believe that language learning consisted
of more than merely forming habits and that speakers of
a language are able to process language more effectively
from the knowledge they have acquired . However, it is
useful to the extent that the language drills are still
popular (though in a much more limited way) especially
for the low level students.
characteristics of ALM may be summed up in the following
New material is presented in a dialogue form
• There is dependence on mimicry, memorization
of set phrases and over learning
• Structures are sequenced by means
of contrastive analysis and taught one at
• Structural patterns are taught using
• There is little or no grammatical
explanations Grammar is taught by inductive
analogy rather than by deductive explanation
• Vocabulary is strictly limited and
learned in context
• There is much use of tapes, language
labs and visual aids
• Great importance is attached to pronunciation
• Very little use of the mother tongue
by teachers is permitted
• Successful responses are immediately
• There is a great effort to get students
to produce error-free utterances
• There is tendency to manipulate language
and disregard content
Practice and Production
In this method teacher first presents the context and
situation for the language, as well as explaining and
demonstrating the meaning and form of the new language.
The students then practice making sentences with the language
in a controlled way (including drilling) before going
on to the production stage where they are able to be more
creative with the language.
PPP has proved to be extremely effective in teaching simple
language at lower levels. It is less effective with higher
level students who already know a lot of language, and
therefore do not need such a marked production stage.
Many teacher training centers (and teachers) still use
PPP today. The system does, however, lack in flexibility
and it is easy for the lessons to become too ‘teacher-cantered’.
– Based Learning
In this method the focus is more on a task than the language.
Students are given a task to complete (while using the
English language). When they have completed the task,
the teacher can, if necessary – and only if necessary-
provides some language study to help clear up some of
the problems they had while doing the task.
The language lessons are based on learning experiences
that have nonlinguistic outcomes, and in which there is
a clear connection between the things learners do in class
and the things they will ultimately need to do outside
of the classroom.
The communicative approach stresses the importance of
language functions (such as agreeing, inviting, suggesting,
etc.) as opposed to reliance only on grammar and vocabulary.
This approach also suggests that if students have enough
exposure to the language and the opportunity to use it
then language learning would in effect, take care of itself.
Activities in CLT typically require students to use the
language in real life situations, so role-play and simulation
have become popular with this method. CLT places far more
emphasis on completion of the task than the accuracy of
In CLL students will typically sit in a circle and it
is up to them to decide what they want to talk about.
The teacher (standing outside the circle) will help, as
and when necessary, with language problems that arise
during the course of the discussion. This methodology
has helped teachers focus on the need to make the lessons
as ‘student- centered’ as possible by allowing
the students to choose the topic and language.
important characteristics are:
Learners are not regarded as a class but as
a group that is in need of certain therapy
• Interaction in interpersonal relationship
forms the basis of learning for the group
• Students and teachers join together
to facilitate learning in a context of valuing
each individual in the group
• Personal defenses are replaced by
supportive community feeling
• The teacher is treated as a true counselor
• The counselor teacher could become
too non directive.
• It is based on an inductive strategy
The most notable feature of the silent way is the behavior
of the teacher- who says as little as possible. This is
because it is believe that if the students had to ‘discover’
the language for themselves ,learning will be better facilitated
rather than just remembering and repeating what had been
taught . Many teachers have found this method to be a
little unnatural in application. The theory of silent
way can be summarized as:
Discovery and creation of language induces learning more
than memorizing and repetition of the subject
• Mediating physical objects facilitate learning
• Solving problems that belong to the context of
the subject facilitates learning
This method was developed largely on the need for the
students to be comfortable, confident and relaxed in order
for learning to be more effective. Another feature is
that the teacher and students exist in a parent-children
relationship; students are given new names and traumatic
themes are avoided. A suggestopaedia lesson has three
main parts firstly there is an oral review of the previous
lesson. This is followed by the presentation and discussion
of the new language. Finally, students listen to relaxing
music while the teacher reads the new dialogue.
Music is central to the method
• Practicality of using the method is
an issue in absence of music and comfortable
This approach argues that words and phrases are far better
building blocks for language acquisition than grammatical
Stephen Krashen’s theories of second language acquisition
have been widely discussed and debated. Both Krashen and
his colleague Tracy Terrell felt that learners would benefit
from delaying out put of language until the learner starts
to speak. “Learners should be relaxed in the classroom
and that a great deal of communication and acquisition
should take place, as opposed to analysis”, H. Douglas
Brown, Teaching by Principles. In fact this approach recommends
the TPR activities at the starter level when “comprehensible
input” is a key element in the process of acquisition.
Natural Approach was aimed at basic personal communication
in everyday life situation. The teacher needed to provide
oral inputs that the learner is able to understand while
the learner was expected to remain silent and take everything
in and respond only when he or she was ready. So the teacher
through different interesting activities would be the
source for all language input.
Krashen and Terrell defined three main stages in this
process: (i) Pre-production stage wherein listening comprehension
skills are developed. (ii) Early production stage where
the learner struggles with the language and naturally
makes errors. (iii) The last stage demands production
of more complex and longer “discourses” through
role-plays, games, open-ended dialogues in groups. The
aim is developing fluency rather than accuracy, so error
correction should be minimal.
approach was criticized due to the delay in oral production
(silent periods) and its dependence on the teacher to
give “comprehensible input”. How does the
teacher decide which structures are to be provided to
the learner? Some teachers may not be able to do so, on
their own. The positive of this approach was to allow
students to remain silent till the time they are comfortable
to speak. Therefore they do not feel threatened or embarrassed
to experiment with the new language. The resulting self-confidence
helps in language learning.
The teacher needs to choose the best of what others have
experimented with and adapt those insights to the situation
he or she is in.
methodology is best?
With so many different approaches and methods it can be
rather difficult to decide which is the best to use. Unfortunately
there is no clear answer as much will depend upon your
individual circumstances. Your personality, the culture
for students, and their needs will all play a part in
your decision. In reality each method has its pluses and
minuses but certain conclusion can be drawn:
• Students need as much exposure to
language as possible.
• Students need a certain amount of
input from the teacher
• Communicative tasks offer real learning
possibilities but are not enough on their
• Anxiety and stress needs to be low
for effective language learning.
• Where possible students should be
encouraged to discover language for themselves.
• Vocabulary is as important as grammar.
Both need each other.
methodology that the teacher prefers may not be the preferred
or correct option for students from different cultures.
Compromise may be necessary.
the years, a blind search for the perfect method gave
way to integration of approach to language teaching practices.
The demand was for unifying approach to language teaching
and designing effective tasks and techniques, informed
by that approach. The eclectic blend of tasks and activities
now are beyond any methodology; they only focus at the
dynamics of the classroom.
enlightened, eclectic approach incorporates a number of
basic principles of learning and teaching, inspired by
interconnection of reading and observation, discussion
and teaching. It is a dynamic composition of perception
and experience, where approach and classroom practice
is at constant interaction. Feedback on innovations yields
new insight and more creative possibilities which run
in a cycle. When the eclectic approach is at work, designing
of a lesson depends upon the selection of focus. The approach
chosen is also guided by factors like the teacher’s
experience as a learner, a teacher, observer, reader,
and specialized orientation in the same field, if any.
Approaches are necessarily controlled by varying contexts
and are subject to interpretation.
Language Teaching (CLT) is a more generally accepted approach
today owing to a wide variety of interpretations and classroom
applications. The approach highlights distinct communicative
traits and incorporates authentic, real-world simulations
and meaningful tasks. CLT can be defined as a unified
yet broadly based, theoretically well informed set of
doctrines about nature of language and of language learning
and teaching. CLT highlights the social, cultural and
pragmatic features of languages. CLT uses authentic language
to a great extent in an attempt to build fluency. The
basic characteristics of the communicative mode of teaching
feature distinct digression from the previous approaches.
In Communicative Language Teaching the grammatical, functional,
socio-linguistic, and strategic discourse components are
at their best possible interplay. The techniques are utilitarian
and driven towards fulfillment of individual purposes.
Fluency and accuracy are complementary principles that
alternatively acquire high degree of importance. Productive
and contextualized communication is necessarily the goal
and the students need to work towards this goal through
the development of appropriate strategies for autonomous
learning. The teacher here is the facilitator who is supposed
to facilitate authentic linguistic interaction and encourage
meaningful construction of language. The functional aspects
like fluency and spontaneity displace overt presentation
and discussion of grammatical rules and concentrate on
the learner’s initiative, in CLT.
concepts that are derivatives from the Communicative Approach
of language teaching are
Instruction involves techniques that are
based on the learner’s needs, styles
and goals. The teaching is an interactive
session here with students’ inputs,
space for creativity, enhancing individual
>> Cooperative and
Collaborative Learning emphasizes on students’
team spirit, promoting intrinsic motivation;
enhancing self-esteem; bonding of relationship
amidst cultural variation and individualities.
It is a collaborative pursuance of goals
>> Interactive Learning
promotes interactive communications and
creates more opportunities for genuine interaction
through pair and group activities; spontaneous
reception and production of authentic language;
catering to real audience and not forced
>> Whole Language
Education initially referred to the ‘wholeness’
of language, encompassing the various significant
components and the blending of oral with
written form of communication. Currently
it is analogous to cooperative, participatory
and student-centered learning; it focuses
on the community of learners, the social
nature of language; exploits meaningful
and authentic language with integration
of the four-skills.
Instruction (CBI) is viewed as the integration
of content learning with language teaching
aims. Content here dictates the form and
sequence of language presentation.
>> Task-Based Instruction
puts task at the centre of one’s methodological
focus and views learning process as a set
of communicative tasks that are directly
linked to the curricular goals they serve,
the purpose of which extends beyond the
practice of language for its own sake.
of languag e
e is a system
of rule- governe
structure s hierarchi cally arranged
formatio n; skills are learned more effective ly if
oral precedes written; analogy, not analysis.
of structur es of sound, form
and order, mastery over symbols of the languag e;
goal; native- speaker mastery.
syllabus of phonolo gy, morphol ogy and syntax. Contrast
s and drills, repetitio n and memoriz ation, pattern
ms that can be directed by
es to produce
and active teacher- dominat ed method. Provides model,
controls direction and pace.
teacher- oriented. Tapes & visuals, languag
e lab often used.
structur alist, gramma r-based
view of languag e.
learning is the same as L1 learning; compreh ension
before producti on, is
d? through carrying out comman ds
n of stress.
oral proficien cy to produce learners who can commun
icate uninhibit edly and intelligibl y with native
e-based syllabus with gramma tical and lexical criteria
being primary, but
, not forms.
ve drills to elicit physical actions.
and perform er, little influence over the content
of learning. with students as actors.
students as actors.
and direct role; “the director
of a stage play”
basic text; material
s and media have an
importa nt role later.
voice, action and gestures are sufficien t.
e is compose d of element
s that give it a unique
and spirit. Function al vocabula ry and core structure
are key to the spirit of the languag e.
s of learning
a second languag
fundame ntally different from L1 learning. L2 learning
is an intellect ual, cognitive process. Surrend er
to the music of the languag e, silent awarene ss then
native fluency, correct pronunci ation, basic practical
knowled ge of the gramma
r of the
how to learn a
lessons planned around
gramma tical items
related vocabula ry.
Items are introduc ed
accordin g to their
gramma tical complexi ty.
response s to comman ds, question s and visual cues.
Activities encoura ge and shape oral response s
explanat ion or
g by teacher.
is a process of personal growth. Learners are responsi
ble for their
and must develop indepen
dence, autonom y and
must (a) teach
(b) test (c) get out of
the way. Remain impassiv
temptati on to model, remodel, assist, direct, exhort.
material s: colored rods, color- coded pronunci ation
e is more than a system for commun ication.
It involves whole
person, culture, educatio nal
develop ment , commun
icative processe s.
involves the whole person.
is a social process of
childlike depende nce to self-
direction and indepen
specific objectiv es. Near native
is the goal.
set syllabus. Course progress ion is topic based;
learners provide the topics. Syllabus emerges from
learners? intention and the teacher?
s reformul ations.
tion of innovati ve and conventional. Translati on,
group work, recordin
g, transcrip tion, reflectio
n and observat ion,
, free conversa tion.
s of a community. Learning is not viewed
as an individua
l accompli shment, but
somethi ng that is
achieved collabora tively.
provides a safe environ ment in which students can
/parenta l analogy.
, which would inhibit
develope d as course progress es.
essence of languag
e is meaning
. Vocabula ry, not
r, is the heart of languag e.
are two ways of
develop ment: “acquisit
ion” – a
natural subcons cious process. Learning cannot lead
to acquisiti on.
d to give beginner
learners basic commun
skills. Four broad areas; basic personal commun icative
skills(or al/writte n); academi c learning skills
on selection of commun icative activities and topics
derived from learner needs.
allowing compreh ensible input about things in the
now. Focus on meaning
, not form.
not try to learn languag
e in the usual
sense, but should
loose themsel ves in activities involving meaning
ful commun ication.
is the primary source
compreh ensible input. Must create positive, low-
anxiety climate. Must chose and orchestr ate a rich
mixture of classroo m activities
s comes from
text books. Primary
aim is to
promote compreh ension and commun ication.
conventi onal, although memoriz ation of whole meaning
ful texts is recomm ended.
occurs through suggesti on, where learners are in
a deeply relaxed state. Baroque music is used to induce
deliver advance conversa tional competence quickly.
Learners are required to
master prodigio us lists of vocabula ry pairs, although
the goal is understa nding, not memoriz ation.
unit courses consistin g of
1.200- word dialogue s graded by vocabula ry and
s, question and answer, role-play, listening exercise
s under deep relaxatio
passive state and allow the material
s to work on them
(rather than vice versa)
create situation s in which
is most suggesti
ble and present material
in a way most likely to encoura
ge positive receptio
n and retentio n. Must exude
y and confiden ce.
of texts, tapes, classroo m fixtures, and music. Texts
should have force, literary quality and interesti
ng characte rs.
tive Language Teaching
e is a system for the expressi on of meaning
interacti on and
involving real commun ication; carrying out meaning
tasks; and using
e which is
meaning ful to the learner
es will reflect the
needs of the
they will include
al skills as well
as linguistic objectiv
include some/all of the following structur es, function
s, notions, themes, tasks. Ordering will be guided
by learner needs.
learners in commun ication, involve processe s such
as informati on sharing, negotiati on of meaning
, and interacti on.
as negotiat or, interacto r, giving as well as
r of the commun ication process, participa nts? task
and texts; needs analyst, counselo r,
role in promoti ng commun icative languag
task- based material s; authenti c.
Language Learners and their Levels
ESL learners are socio-cultural products, necessarily
conditioned by their surrounding, family orientation,
exposure to the greater society and several such factors.
Therefore, while assessing the learner/s the factors like
age culture, language level and motivation for learning
are always taken into consideration. Any of these factors
could have a bearing on what we perceive to be a ‘good
learner’. However, there are number of general characteristics
that successful students appear to possess. These can
A willingness to listen to the language
• A desire to experiment with the language
• A willingness to ask questions
• An ability to think about their own
learning process and methods
• An acceptance of error correction.
• A desire to learn.
These are all qualities that successful learners usually
have and it is the teacher’s responsibility to encourage
and foster these attributes in the classroom.
The broad categorization would be under the subheads -
young learners and adults. Generally, adults are taken
to mean those who are 18 years of age or more, and the
term is self-explanatory.
However, there are at least three categories of
• First is the post puberty or early teen age learner
• Second is the pre-puberty learner, corresponding
to primary school or 8 to 12 years old.
• Finally, the very young learners, who are often
pre-schoolers, aged 7 years and less. These are becoming
an increasingly bigger market the world over. They have
shorter attention spans, and in the case of very young
ones they have not even completely mastered the grammar
of their mother tongue, but all are generally amenable
to fun games, singing, drawing etc.
and First Language
Approaches to learning vary with the change in cultural
backgrounds of the students.
Students from some Asian Countries, for example are noted
as being very serious about their learning and respectful
to their teachers but sometimes lacking in willingness
to communicate. The problem possibly stems from the fact
in these areas, the teacher is often still expected to
do all the talking and the students are encouraged not
to speak in class unless addressed directly by the teacher.
In some schools TEFL teachers are sometimes frowned upon
and some classes considered unruly because of the noise
(Inevitable and necessary when there is choral work or
pair and group work!). A good teacher should be aware
of their student’s customs and differences that
could affect the success of the classes.
between the different levels of ability in English language
learning have to be clearly demarcated.
The most common breakdown is as follows:
- From zero knowledge of English to very basic knowledge
of English, which cannot be quickly or easily activated.
– Students at this level are likely to
be able to form basic sentence
structures and communicate on simple topics.
or pre-intermediate - Students are able to communicate
and understand a greater variety of topics but lacking
general fluency and depth of language awareness but are
still likely to make many errors even with basic structures.
Intermediate – Able to understand and communicate
on a wide range of issues using limited vocabulary store
but still lacking in accuracy and fluency.
Intermediate – Should be able to actively
communicate on almost all topics using a greater range
of language but still lacking in accuracy.
– Students should have a very good knowledge of
English language and now will be studying more subtle
It should be noted that while the above terms are the
most commonly used their actual meaning can differ considerably
depending on where you work and which text book you may
be using, an elementary student in one country could be
viewed as intermediate in a different country!
common European framework recently established by the
council of Europe state the following six levels:
• Breakthrough Basic User A1
• Way stage, Basic User, A2
• Threshold , Independent User, B1
• Vantage, Independent User, B2
• Effective Operational Policy, Proficient
• Mastery, Proficient User , C2
The complex variables introduced by sociopolitical contexts
of teaching (country, societal expectations, cultural
factors, political constraints, the status of English),
the ethics and views of the institution one is teaching
in (school, university, language school, adult education,
vocational/workplace courses), and the implied purposes
for learning English (academic, technical, social, immersion,
enrichment, survival) heavily conditions the teacher-student
relationship and the final output in the classroom . Each
of these considerations is essential to incorporate into
your choices of techniques, lesson organization, and supporting
Children exercise a good deal of both
cognitive and affective effort in order
to internalize both native and second
The difference between children and adults
(that is, persons beyond the age of puberty)
lies primarily in the contrast between
the child's spontaneous, peripheral attention
to language forms and the adult's overt,
focal awareness of and attention to those
Children are blessed with fluency
and naturalness that help them to score over the superior
intellect of the adults. The context of classroom instruction
may introduce some difficulties to children learning a
fail to differentiate between very young children (4-6
years old) and pre-pubescent children (12-13 years) and
the whole range of ages in between. There are actually
many instances of six- to twelve-year-old children manifesting
significant difficulty in acquiring a second language
for a multitude. Ranking high on that list of reasons
are a number of complex personal, cultural, and political
factors at play in elementary school education. Teaching
ESL to school-age children, therefore, is not merely a
matter of setting them loose on a plethora of authentic
language tasks in the classroom. To successfully teach
children a second language requires specific skills and
intuitions that differ from those appropriate for adult
teaching. Five categories may help give some practical
approaches to teaching children.
The Job of teaching ‘Young Adults’,
‘Teens’ and ‘high school-age
children’ should preferably be a
mix of variables that can appropriately
cater to an age of physical, psychological
transition between twelve and eighteen.
Students at this stage of evolution from
childhood to adulthood need to be handled
with special consideration. Some thoughts
worth verbalizing are:
Intellectual capacity adds abstract operational thought
around the age of twelve. Therefore, some sophisticated
intellectual processing is increasingly possible. Complex
problems can be solved with logical thinking. This means
that linguistic metalanguage can now, theoretically, have
some impact. But for any intellectual endeavor to be successful
the learner must pay full attention to the task at hand.
If a learner is simultaneously trying to attend to other
things like her/his appearance, or to sexual thoughts,
or to planning a weekend party, or whatever, the intellectual
task at hand may suffer.
Attention span extends with intellectual maturity. However,
with potential diversions present all around, the same
attention span tend to get shortened.
Varieties of sensory input are still important, but, again,
increasing capacities for abstraction lessen the essential
nature of appealing to all five senses.
Teaching process dedicated to teenagers should have elements
to bolster their ultra-sensitive sense of self-image,
ego and self-esteem. The secondary school teacher should
aim at that by avoiding embarrassment of students affirming
their personal talents and strength making room for acceptance
of mistakes and errors de-emphasizing competition between
peers encouraging group work and activities
Compared to children, adults have superior,
cognitive abilities that spell success
for them in varied classroom endeavors.
Their need for sensory input can largely
be generated from their imagination (“imagine
touching a leaf” VS actually touching
it). Adults also score an advantage over
children for having acquired self-confidence
that help them to handle shyness to certain
The cognitive faculty also enables them
to deal with languages that are not currently
contextualized. Therefore, besides considering
the thumb-rules specified for teaching
children, special suggestions can be:
Adults are better at handling abstract rules and concepts.
But beware! As an adult you may get carried away by too
much abstract generalization about usage and never get
around to practicing the language in real life situations.
In other words too much focus on language learning concepts
and rules may hinder the actual language learning process.
Adults have longer attention spans and can concentrate
on material that may not be intrinsically interesting
to them. But again, the rule of keeping your activities
short and interesting applies also to adult teaching.
Sensory input need not always be quite as varied with
adults, but one of the secrets of lively adult classes
is to make the activities multiple sense based.
Adults often bring a modicum of general self-confidence
(global self-esteem) into a classroom. The fragility of
egos may therefore not be quite as critical as of children.
Yet we should never underestimate the emotional factors
that may be attendant to adult second language learning.
Adults with their more developed abstract thinking ability,
arc better able to understand a context-reduced segment
of language. Authenticity and meaningfulness are of course
still highly important, but in adult language teaching,
a teacher can take temporary digressions to dissect and
examine isolated linguistic properties, as long as students
are returned to the original context.
1. Write about your past formal or informal language learning
experiences (any language which is not your first language).
Would you consider them to be effective or ineffective?
Give reasons for your answer. (Word limit – 250)
Why do you think the CLT has gained popularity in the
language classroom? (200 words)
How would you approach a class with true beginners and
false beginners? How would you keep the latter challenged
without overwhelming the former? (150 words)