Monday, June 1, 2009

Language Teaching History

Mid-1880s to the mid-1980s, search was for a single, ideal method, generalizable across widely varying audiences, that would successfully teach students a foreign language in the classroom.

The 1970s and 1980s were the years of greatest enthusiasm for methods. in what has been called the “post-methods era”. (audiolingualism, Silent way)

Edward Anthony
1. Approach: set of assumptions dealing with the nature of language, learning, and teaching
2. Method: an overall plan for systematic presentation of language based on a selected approach
3. Technique: specific classroom activities consistent with a method, and therefore in harmony with an approach

Richard and Rodgers (1986)
“method was an umbrella term to capture redefined approaches, designs, and procedures”

Prabhu ( 1990)
“method as both classroom activities and the theory that informs them”

METHOD
1. Series method. Francois Gouin’s publication of The Art of Teaching and Learning Foreign Languages (1880)
2. Direct Method of Charles Berlitz.
3. The Audiolingual Method of the late 1940s
4. Cognitive-code Learning Method of the early 1960s
5. “spirited seventies” to “Designer Methods”: Community Language Learning, The Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Total Physical Response, and others

David Nunan 1991
”It has been realised that there never was and probably never will be a method for all, and the focus in recent years has been on the development of classroom tasks and activities which are consonant with what we know about second language acquisition, and which are also in keeping with the dynamics of the classroom itself”

The Problem Of Method (Brown)
1. Methods are typically top-down impositions of experts’ views of teaching. The role of the individual teacher is minimized. His or her role is to apply the method and adapt his or her teaching style to make it conform to the method
2. Methods fail to address the broader contexts of teaching and learning and focus on only one small part of a more complex set of elements.

Method Vs Pedagogy (Brown;1994)
1. The term method is best replaced by the term pedagogy
2. Method implies static set of procedures, while pedagogy suggest the dynamic interplay between teachers, learners, and instructional materials during the process of teaching and learning. Brown characterizes the basis of language teaching pedagogy in terms of twelve principles that reflect current research and theory about second language acquisition

A Principled Approach
1. We did not need a new method. We needed, instead, to get on with the business of unifying our approach to language teaching and of designing effective tasks and techniques informed by that approach.
2. One’s approach to language teaching is the theoretical rationale that underlies everything that happens in the classroom. It is the cumulative body of knowledge and principles that enables teachers, as “technicians” in the classroom, to diagnose the needs of the students, to treat students with successful pedagogical techniques, and to assess the outcome of those treatments.
3. The interaction between one’s approach and classroom practice is the key to dynamic teaching

Variation at the Approach Level
1. An approach is by definition dynamic and therefore subject to some “tinkering” as a result of one’s observation and experience
2. Research in second language acquisition and pedagogy almost always yields finding that are subject to interpretation rather than giving conclusive evidence

12 Principled Of Approach to Language Teaching
1. Automaticity
2. Meaningful Learning
3. The Anticipation of Reward
4. Intrinsic Motivation
5. Strategic Investment
6. Language Ego
7. Self-Confidence
8. Risk Taking
9. The Language-Culture Connection
10. The Native Language Effect
11. Interlanguage
12. Communicative Competence

Diagnosis, Treatment, and Assesment
A principled approach to language teaching encourages the language teacher to engage in a carefully crafted process of diagnosis, treatment, and assessment

Diagnosis
1. Curricular plans and continues as an ongoing monitoring process in the classroom
2. Specific diagnostic assessment of each student upon entering a program

Treatment
1. It maybe thought of as courses of study or, better, sets of learning experiences, designated to target learner needs exposed by diagnostic assessment
2. Crookes and Chaudron (1991): ranging from controlled (drills, dialogues, reading aloud, display questions/answers, etc), to semi controlled (referential questions/answers, cued narratives, information, gap activities, etc), to free (role-plays, problem solving, interviews, discussions, etc.)
3. Principled choices for treatment is the extent to which a technique promotes a desired goal. (for example intrinsic motivation)

Exercises
Can you give the examples of the relationship between approach and treatment in:
1. Lower inhibitions
2. Encourage risk taking
3. Build students’ self- confidence
4. Help students develop intrinsic motivation
5. Promote cooperative learning
6. Encourage students to use right-brain processing

Assesment
1.Ongoing assessment of students’ performance as a course progresses, or what has commonly been called formative evaluation
2.Assessment cover both production and comprehension skills, a range of assessment tasks, individualized (including computer-adaptive) tests, and increased attention to the communicative properties of tests.

Conclusion
“METHODS,” as we historically understand the term in profession, are not a relevant issue in the sophisticated process of diagnosing, treating, and assessing learners of foreign language

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