Comparative Teaching MethodologiesWhen talking about comparative teaching methodologies, specifically for english
as a second language, we are looking into different ways in which to teach english
to a non-native speaker. These methods pull from psychology and teaching methods to try to create the best possible technique to teach a new language. Many methods have been developed, tried and tested and by combining elements of all of them, a teacher can find the perfect blend to match the learning styles of their student.
The Grammar-Translation approach is a method which focuses mostly on comparing the known language with the language which is being learned and can be unbeneficial to the learners. In this style of learning, students will spend a lot of time writing and practicing various sentence structures, an example would be if a Korean student was learning english
, they would spend time making sure they use the correct subject-verb-object sentence structure in contrast to the Koran “free word order” sentence structure with the adjective or verb at the end of the sentence. In conjunction with this, the Lexicon approach is based off that individual words and small phrases are better to learn when developing new language skills instead of grammar and other language structures.
A very psychological, but un-preferred method in teaching foreign languages is the audio-lingualism approach. This method is based off the theory that we need to hear and repeat in order to learn. Using this method in the classroom would result in a very totalitarian approach to education. The teacher would say a word or phrase and the students would repeat it back, this would go back and forth until the teacher is pleased with the students’ pronunciation and then the class would learn the next word or phrase. This is not engaging for the students, but the need to hear and speak the language is further explored in Communicative language Teaching, Community language learning.
The communicative Language teaching method realizes that students need to be surrounded by a language to help them learn it effectively. The theory is, if you place a student in an environment where all they hear is the language they are trying to learn then the education will happen on its own with minimal facilitation. While in theory this sounds fabulous, instruction will still be needed to assimilate the student to the new language. A few techniques have been adopted to incorporate this theory into the classroom, one is the Community Language learning technique where all of the students sit in a circle and talk to each other in the language they are learning. They can choose to talk about whatever they like, or have a topic pre-decided by the teacher. The teacher will stand outside the circle and only help student formulate their thoughts if absolutely necessary.
The last two Methodologies for teaching foreign languages are primarily task based. The first of these is simply called the Task Based Method where the teacher provides a task for the students to complete in english
. This can be a written, speaking or listening task which the teacher will simply note common errors or inconsistencies in the students learning for future lessons; small mistakes can be corrected after the task has taken place. One of the more popular methods is called the PPP method (Presentation, Practice and Production). In this method, the teacher will present a situation for the new language and demonstrate what is to be learned, the students then practice what the teacher demonstrates and then the student will perform what they have learned on their own, usually with a task provided by the teacher. This method allows students to be creative with the language instead of working with prewritten sentences from textbooks.
None of these methods alone are perfect for teaching a new language. A teacher must combine all of the above forms to meet the unique needs of their students, and still, certain methods will be more effective in specific situations. Every individual has a unique learning style, and many methods have been created to meet every learning style, but in a class of many individuals with many different needs, one method is not the answer.