Techniques in language Teaching

318 Pages · 2015 · 2.67 MB · English

  • Techniques in language Teaching

    Third Edition Techniques

    & Principles

    in Language


    Diane Larsen-Freeman

    and Marti Anderson Great Clarendon Street, Oxford 0X2 6DP

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    First published 2011

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    ISBN: 978 0 19 442360 1

    Printed in China

    This book is printed on paper from certified and well-managed sources.


    The authors and publisher are grateful to those who have given permission to reproduce the following extract of

    copyright material: p.214 Screenshot from Facebook (http://www.facebook.com). Reproduced by kind permission

    of Facebook.

    Sources: p.215 www.wikipedia.com; p.205 The British National Corpus

    Illustrations by: Chris Pavely pp. 26, 38, 53, 56, 72, 87, 89, 106, 118, 135, 153, 172, 183, 188, 193.

    This title originally appeared in the series Teaching Techniques in English as a Second Language, edited by

    Russell N Campbell and William E Rutherford (First Edition 1986; Second Edition 2000). In memory of my parents, Elaine and Randolph Larsen, with heartfelt gratitude for

    their love and encouragement


    In memory of my mother, Mavis Anderson, and in honor of my father, Elmer

    Anderson, who both inspired me to be curious and compassionate



    List of Acronyms

    To the Teacher Educator

    1 Introduction

    2 The Grammar-Translation Method

    3 The Direct Method

    4 The Audio-Lingual Method

    5 The Silent Way

    6 Desuggestopedia

    7 Community Language Learning

    8 Total Physical Response

    9 Communicative Language Teaching

    10 Content-based Instruction

    11 Task-based Language Teaching

    12 The Political Dimensions of Language Teaching and the Participatory Approach

    13 Learning Strategy Training, Cooperative Learning, and Multiple Intelligences

    14 Emerging Uses of Technology in Language Teaching and Learning

    15 Conclusion


    Index Acknowledgments

    We thank the readers of the first and second editions of this book. Your invaluable

    feedback and input have helped to shape this third edition.

    The approach we have used in this book, as in the previous two editions, is based

    on our experience in teaching the methods/approaches course at the Master of Arts in

    Teaching Program at the School for International Training. This book would not have

    been written in the first place if it had not been for the influence of colleagues and

    students there. We are indeed grateful for the time we spent in this wonderful


    Marti would like to thank Diane for being an inspiring teacher and mentor as well

    as beloved colleague and friend. Working with her on this project has been a great


    Diane would like to thank Marti for her willingness to join her in this project and

    her ‘can-do’ attitude throughout. Diane is counting on Marti to make this project her

    own and carry it into the future.

    We wish to thank our life partners for their encouragement and support.

    For the initial faith they showed and for their continued encouragement and helpful

    suggestions, Diane acknowledges with gratitude the editors of this series, Russell

    Campbell and William Rutherford.

    It has also been a pleasure working with the professionals at Oxford University

    Press. For this edition, we want to acknowledge Julia Bell’s helpfulness especially,

    and Ann Hunter’s and Keith Layfield’s skillful copy-editing.

    In addition, this book has benefited from the fact that leading methodologists and

    colleagues have generously responded to requests for feedback on portions of this

    manuscript, either the previous edition or the current one. We are indebted to Earl

    Stevick (To the Teacher Educator), Shakti Gattegno (Silent Way), Georgi Lozanov,

    Allison Miller, and Tetsuo Nishizawa (Desuggestopedia), Jennybelle Rardin and Pat

    Tirone (Community Language Learning), James Asher (Total Physical Response),

    Marjorie Wesche and Ann Snow (Content-based Instruction), Elsa Auerbach

    (Participatory Approach), and Leo van Lier and Mat Schulze (Technology). Their

    comments have made us feel more confident of our interpretation and representation.

    Any errors of interpretation are entirely our responsibility, of course. List of Acronyms

    ALM Audio-Lingual Method

    BNC British National Corpus

    CBI Content-based Instruction

    CLL Community Language Learning

    CLT Communicative Language Teaching

    CALL Computer-assisted Language Learning

    CLIL Content and Language Integrated Learning

    ELF English as a Lingua Franca

    LCD Liquid Crystal Display

    SLA Second Language Acquisition

    SAARRD Security, Aggression, Attention, Reflection, Retention, and


    SIOP Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol

    TL Target Language

    TBLT Task-based Language Teaching

    WL Whole Language

    ZPD Zone of Proximal Development To the Teacher Educator

    The Work of Language Teaching

    The work of teaching is simultaneously mental and social. It is also physical,

    emotional, practical, behavioral, political, experiential, historical, cultural, spiritual,

    and personal. In short, teaching is very complex, influenced not only by these 12

    dimensions and perhaps others, but also requiring their contingent orchestration in

    support of students’ learning. When language teaching in particular is in focus, the

    complexity is even greater, shaped by teachers’ views of the nature of language, of

    language teaching and learning in general, and by their knowledge of the particular

    sociocultural setting in which the teaching and learning take place (Adamson 2004).

    Indeed, research has shown that there is a degree of shared pedagogical knowledge

    among language teachers that is different from that of teachers of other subjects

    (Gatbonton 2000; Mullock 2006). nulltheless, each teacher’s own language learning

    history is also unique. The way that teachers have been taught during their own

    ‘apprenticeship of observation’ (Lortie 1975) is bound to be formative. There is also

    the level of complexity at the immediate local level, due to the specific and unique

    needs of the students themselves in a particular class at a particular time, and the fact

    that these needs change from moment to moment. Finally, the reality of educational

    contexts being what they are, teachers must not only attempt to meet their students’

    learning needs, but they must also juggle other competing demands on their time and


    Because of this complexity, although this is a book about the methods and

    methodological innovations of recent years, we do not seek to convince readers that

    one method is superior to another, or that there is or ever will be a perfect method

    (Prabhu 1990). The work of teaching suggests otherwise. As Brumfit observes:

    A claim that we can predict closely what will happen in a situation as complex as

    [the classroom] can only be based on either the view that human beings are more

    mechanical in their learning responses than any recent discussion would allow, or

    the notion that we can measure and predict the quantities and qualities of all …

    factors. Neither of these seems to be a sensible point of view to take.

    (Brumfit 1984: 18–19)

    After all, ‘If it could be assumed that learners were ‘simply’ learners, that teachers

    were ‘simply’ teachers, and that one classroom was essentially the same as another,

    there would probably be little need for other than a technological approach to language teaching’ (Tudor 2003: 3), with adjustments being made for the age of the

    learners, specific goals, or class numbers, etc. However, the truth is that

    Learners are not ‘simply’ learners any more than teachers are ‘simply’ teachers;

    teaching contexts, too, differ from one another in a significant number of ways. In

    other words, language teaching is far more complex than producing cars: we

    cannot therefore assume that the technology of language teaching will lead in a

    neat, deterministic manner to a predictable set of learning outcomes.

    (Tudor 2003: 3).

    Tudor goes on to observe that this is true even within a given culture. It cannot be

    assumed that all teachers will share the same conceptions of language, of learning,

    and of teaching.

    Rather than the elegant realisation of one rationality, then, language teaching is

    likely to involve the meeting and interaction of different rationalities. Murray

    (1996) is therefore right in drawing attention to the ‘tapestry of diversity’ which

    makes our classrooms what they are.

    (ibid. 2003: 7)

    Language Teacher Learning

    Recognizing the complex and diverse nature of the work of teaching has stimulated

    much discussion during the last 15 years around the question of how it is that

    language teachers learn to teach (Bailey and Nunan 1996; Bartels 2005; Burns and

    Richards 2009; Freeman and Richards 1996; Hawkins 2004; Johnson 2009; Tedick

    2005). In addition, during this same time period, the journal Language Teaching

    Research began publication with Rod Ellis as its editor. Much of the research reported

    on in these sources can be summed up in what Johnson describes as her current

    understanding of language teacher learning:

    L2 teacher learning [is] … socially negotiated and contingent on knowledge of

    self, subject matter, curricula, and setting … L2 teachers [are] … users and

    creators of legitimate forms of knowledge who make decisions about how best to

    teach their L2 students within complex socially, culturally, and historically

    situated contexts.

    (Johnson 2006: 239)

    Such a view has radically transformed notions of teacher learning. As Richards (2008:

    164) notes: ‘While traditional views of teacher-learning often viewed the teachers’

    task as the application of theory to practice, more recent views see teacher-learning as

    the theorization of practice.’ Rather than consumers of theory, then, teachers are seen

    to be both practitioners and theory builders (Prabhu 1992; Savignon 2007). Given this

    view of teachers as theory builders, teacher education must serve two functions: ‘It

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