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Federico Riva

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Theories - Methods & Techniques of Teaching English: An Overview

Theories - Methods & Techniques of Teaching English: An Overview | ITTT | TEFL Blog

This blog post focuses on the theories, methods and techniques of teaching, which are the three elements that make up any methodology and we can start with a statement;

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Some teachers believe that the intelligence of their own children is due to their genes, whilst the intelligence shown by their students is due to their teaching.

This is an interesting statement because it contains within it a philosophical argument and it's a philosophical argument about the way in which we learn.

Basically this first part of the sentence is saying that the intelligence of their own children comes about due to a natural process of genetic inheritance, so that it could be said to be due to nature.

This is exactly the opposite of the second half of the sentence, which is saying that the teaching environment that we create produces that intelligence. So that could be said to be due to nurture.

This argument nature versus nurture has been going on for thousands of years. These two viewpoints are two ends of a scale, or a continuum if you like and every teaching methodology that's ever been created has its starting point somewhere on this scale.


For example if a particular methodology has its theoretical basis starting at point x, then that could be 50% due to nature and 50% is due to nurture.

Another important feature of methodology are some of the terms that we commonly use to define methodology and these are the approach the method and the technique.

Basically these are hierarchical. The approach is an overriding set of principles that a method can actually make use of, whereas the techniques are the things that we do in the classroom to fulfill that method.

An example to illustrate this is as follows.The Humanistic Approach of Maslow and Rogers was developed into a method called Suggestopedia, which uses music as a technique to lower student anxiety.

So the overarching approach of Humanistic education was used to develop a number of teaching methods, of which, Suggestopedia is one. Suggestopedia has a goal of reducing the student’s affective filter to a low value and this is achieved, in part by the technique of playing relaxing music.

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