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METHOD OR IDEAS
What is a language?
Language is a tool we use to communicate
with other people. We encode what we want
to say using language which is made up of a
range of components.
We interact with
different people for
different reasons in
different situations in
There is a wide range
of expressions that
‘functions’, i.e. the
things we do with
language, for example,
there are general
functions such as
thanking, asking for
agreeing, and so on.
Using language to interact
Language users need to
make choices about the
language they choose to
communicate with. This
choice is very limited in
the early stages of
learning a language.
In some languages, the
relationship between the
speaker and listener is
reflected in the grammar.
We can divide language activities in the classroom into
two categories—introducing language and using
language that has already been encountered. As learners
progress, they will constantly meet language for the first
time, sometimes inside the classroom, sometimes
There are many ways of helping learners
understand the meaning of a word or
phrase. For example, with a word like ‘job’
translate the word from English into the L1
give the learners examples of types of jobs,
for example, by providing pictures of
people doing different jobs.
It is important for the language teacher to know
as much as possible about the language that
they are teaching. The language system is
complex and learners need to be guided
through it. They will often come across
language for the first time which they will need
to incorporate into their own language system.
Background: The method itself came from the
way individual learners studied classical
languages such as Greek and Latin. This was
done mainly by studying the grammar in detail
and translating texts from the original into the
Teaching Methods and Ideas
Sentences and longer texts are
translated both to and from the
learners’ first language. Little or
no attention is paid to the ability
to speak or communicate.
Grammar rules are given a lot of
attention, especially word
endings and sentence formation.
CLT started in the late 1960s and continues to
evolve. It is not actually a method but an
approach to teaching based on the view that
learning a language means learning how to
communicate effectively in the world outside
TBL focuses on the ‘process’ of
communicating by setting learners tasks to
complete using the target language. During
this period, the learners acquire language as
they try to express themselves and
understand others. The tasks can range from
information gap to problem-solving tasks.
We listen for a
purpose, but this
purpose can be
depending on the
idea or gist.
Chapter 4: Listening
Learners need to develop the following skills:
Learning to listen in various ways
Adapting the way they listen according to the
test and the reason for listening
Recognizing the features of spoken English
We speak in many
different types of
talking to someone
face to face
talking to someone
on the phone
a learner answering
a question in class
Spoken interaction involves two or more
people talking to each other, for example, one
person makes a request and the other person
responds. We call this an exchange.
There are two basic types of texts-authentic and non-
authentic. Examples of authentic texts are
newspaper articles, website pages, emails, packaging
and labels, and so on. Non-authentic texts are
written especially for learners using imaginary
contexts and simplified vocabulary and sentence
Learners need to develop the following skill:
Learning to read in various ways, for example,
skimming and scanning
Adapting the way they read according to the
text and their reason for reading
When we are writing we have to do
something similar except that we do it with
letters rather than sounds. We put these
together to forms words, phrases, clauses,
and sentences, and put sentences together to
make a coherent text.
Spelling causes problems for lots of learners
because there is no one-to-one relationship
between sounds and spelling in English.
Learners need to know the basic elements of
Capital letters: for the beginning of a sentence,
place names, and so on.
Full stops: for the end of a sentence
Commas: to mark the ends of phrases and clauses
Question marks: to signal a question
Apostrophe: to show an abbreviation or
Learners need to develop the skills of note
taking and record keeping.
Note taking is an essential skill in the classroom
particularly if learners are going to be studying
academically at some stage.
During a lesson the teacher should always give
learners time to make notes, make sure that
whatever they themselves write on the board is
clear and relevant, and monitor learners’ note taking
and give advice if necessary.
Before we teach a lesson, we need to decide:
What the goals or aims of the lesson are
What resources to use: a course book or
textbook, handouts or worksheets, posters,
recorded material, etc.
The following guidelines should help to make
progress and achievement tests a positive
experience for your learners.
Test what you have taught.
Test what is useful.
Test all four skills.
Tell your learners ‘when’ and ’what’.
Preparing tests for your learners
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