Comparative Teaching Methodologies in TEFL
There is a grander purpose of education in a society and a community. Education is the cornerstone of any social community or society. When you have the education you can understand and have a basis for political, religious, and economic points. Knowing is the basis of existence, remembering holds a legacy.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Jessi H. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
The role of the teacher is to teach students how to think critically and objectively about the world around them, and to have an influence on the world around them. Another important role the teacher has is to teach the methods of learning so that the student can continue learning throughout their lives.
Students learn languages through a variety of venues, and it is the role of the teacher to determine the most effective way to present material. As Einstein said, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
Overview of Methodologies
There are many different methodologies when it comes to teaching English that each come with extensive histories, processes, and results. Comparing these techniques are beneficial for the reason that it allows the teacher to understand the fundamentals of each, and to determine the method most effective for the situation. While there are many different methodologies for English teaching, and a debate on which is best to match, the following essay explores some of the most common methodologies today, including grammar-translation; presentation, practice and production; task-based learning; and the lexical approach; as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. Common Teaching Methods
Perhaps the most basic of methodologies and most commonly used is the grammar-translation method, which as the name portrays focuses on finding equivalents in the students’ language to the foreign language. Grammatical rules are learned and then applied while translating back and forth. It is often found in most textbooks. While a fairly basic system, it prevents the student from the natural application of language learning that is used when learning an L1.
Presentation, practice, and production is a common-sense approach of 3 stages. The first is to present the concept in context, the second to practice the concept in a controlled setting, and finally, in the third stage have students produce the concept with limited assistance from the teacher. This method is closely adhered to in many teacher training centers and has a great advantage for lower-level proficiency. It is less effective for higher-level learners who are already familiar with the basics that the PPP teaches.
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Rather than focusing on grammar principles, task-based learning is more concerned with completing a task effectively. Language study is given by the teacher if the need arises. This method allows English learning in the most realistic of situations but has a little detailed study of other principles.
The Lexical approach is one of the newer methodologies, first suggested by Michael Lewis in the early 1990s. A lexical item is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words that forms the basic elements of a language's vocabulary. In this method, the grammatical structure is less important than chunks of words that are commonly found together. One of the most common arguments for presenting this theory is the fact that it in native English phrases, it is often difficult to find a word for word translation, and should instead be taught in chunks to understand the meaning. Debaters of this theory state that while psychologically humans store terms in lexical chunks, it completely forgoes basic principles and building blocks that are needed to fully understand the language.
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In conclusion, the above-mentioned methodologies have advantages and disadvantages. There may be one methodology, or mixture, that will be most effective in different classrooms, for different students, etc. Teachers owe it to their students to present all the material in multiple ways to encompass all areas of understanding. If something doesn’t work, then it is the responsibility of the teacher to create something new. The most important factor are that the student is exposed to English as much as possible and at every point possible should be discovering the language for themselves.
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