Welcome: Renan Herrera  
Certification Program

The Current Phase:
This Phase contains an over view of what is TESOL, Approaches and Methodologies that have shaped TESOL, something that every English Language Teacher should be aware of and who are we going to teach or the learner.

Phase 1 - Introduction to TESOL

Some familiar terms that are in play in the world of language teaching includes “ESL” (English as a Second Language) and “ESOL” (English for Speakers of Other Languages) - most commonly used in relation to teaching and learning English. “TESL” (Teaching English as a Second Language), “TEFL” (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and “TESOL” (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) are also used in the same context of teaching-learning.

TESOL is an acronym that stands for Teaching English to speakers of other languages.

Within the purview of TESOL comes the teaching of English as a second language as well as a foreign language.

ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) the integral component of TESOL, is extensively used worldwide, especially in the United States.

The terms ESL (English as a second language) and EFL (English as a foreign language) play significant roles in teaching and learning of English language worldwide. Despite sharing the same origin, EFL and ESL differ on the basis of context. This variance in context requires different materials, syllabi and pedagogy.

The term ESL is used to refer to situations in which English is being taught and learned in countries, contexts and cultures in which English is the predominant language of communication. The concept of teaching English to immigrants in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States typify ESL. In these countries, individuals from non-English-speaking backgrounds may speak their LI at home, but will be required to use English for communicating at work, in school and in the community in general. The term is also prevalent in countries where English is widely used as, lingua franca. These include the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong (where its usage reflects the Region's recent past as a colony of the United Kingdom); Singapore (a multilingual society with English as a lingua franca) and India (where the population speaks a range of other languages and where English as well as Hindi enables communication between these diverse linguistic groups).

EFL is used in contexts where English is neither widely used for communication, nor used as the medium of instruction. Brazil, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Mexico are countries where English is taught as a foreign language, either as part of the elementary and high-school curriculum, or in private schools and other educational settings. In most EFL settings there is limited exposure to the language outside of the classroom, and often limited opportunity to use it. The syllabus therefore needs to be carefully structured with extensive recycling of key target-language items. In addition the burden for providing the cultural dimension to the curriculum very much rests with the teacher. Teaching is also complicated by the fact that teachers are usually non-native speakers of English who may lack opportunities to use the language, or lack confidence in using it. In such situations it is important for the materials to provide the sort of rich and diverse linguistic input that ESL learners encounter in the world beyond the classroom.

With globalization and the rapid expansion of information technologies, there has been an explosion in the demand for English worldwide. This has led to greater diversification in the contexts and situations in which it is learned and used, as well as in the nature of the language itself. English no longer belongs to the United Kingdom, or to the United States. It is an increasingly diverse and diversified resource for global communication.

There are many teaching aspects to look at before the actual teaching that will make you well prepared, such as, a solid awareness of language. There are also ideas and methods to learn that will help make you a good teacher. A comprehensive teacher training course driven with a well defined approach has the potential to lead a teacher to this joy of teaching. A proper program, such as TESOL, will equip you with the skills, knowledge and methods to produce your own successful classes.

In order to develop into a successful TESOL professional you will want to develop your own teaching style. You may feel that the real training starts inside the classroom and in front of your students. But this TESOL program endeavors to help you emerge ready, prepared and confident before making your way into the classroom. This TESOL program takes a principled approach towards language teaching. But no amount of theory can prepare you for what you are going to face when you are standing in front of your students. Therefore, in a TESOL program, you are asked to do tasks based on the things that work most of the time (with most classes and most teachers). Moves here are based upon principles of language learning and teaching found in most “communicative language learning” classrooms.

Our endeavor on the TESOL course is to make you go through that experience before you take up a teaching assignment; to help you to be ready, prepared and confident before you step into the classroom.

This course involves behaviors and choreographies that can be employed in classrooms to facilitate learning. Learned behavior for effective teaching when linked with your planned lesson frameworks, will form the choreographies to facilitate your students? learning. To be precise, this TESOL program blends proven techniques with the ability to provide interplay between the students, teacher and texts that constitute real teaching and learning situations. The goal of our program is to get you into the classroom with these “moves”. Then the rest is up to you to use them at your disposal to build a successful personal teaching style that will bring you a memorable lifelong learning experience, and joy in your new chosen profession.

What about methodology, techniques and approaches to language learning? It is evident that talking about language and grammar rules is not a sufficient or even necessary condition for learning language. Equally, talking about language teaching

ideas and methods seems an unlikely condition for learning to teach. Put another way, good teachers know what to do. It is not necessarily true that they know why they do certain things, or what makes them effective. TESOL will present “what to do” based upon things that work most of the time with most classes for most teachers. These “moves” are based upon principles of language learning and teaching that are found in “communicative language learning” classrooms.

The Online TESOL Certificate Program will present the behaviors and choreographies that can be employed in a classroom to facilitate learning. It provides the behaviors for effective teaching, and when linked together in lesson frameworks, forms the choreographies to facilitate learning. The comparison to dancing is more than an accurate metaphor. Like dancing, teaching requires that you learn some body movements and choreographies that are not natural for most. Learning these behaviors and choreographies requires the same neural-motor skills as dancing. The only thing missing is the “music” and that is provided by the interplay between students, teacher and text that constitutes the real teaching learning situation. While anyone can learn to perform the steps, dancing to the music may take some time and experience in classrooms with real students. The goal of TESOL is to get you into the classroom with the “moves” you need to work with. The rest is up to you and a lifelong learning experience called teaching.

  Language Acquisition

Second Language Acquisition

Language acquisition is one of the most impressive and fascinating aspects of human development. Language learning is an amazing feat that has attracted attention of linguist and psychologists for generations. Both first and second language acquisition share important similarities that explain the development of the target language in a learners psyche. Several theories have also been used in explaining how language is learned.

The term second language acquisition (SLA) refers to the process through which someone acquires one or more second or foreign languages. Acquisition operates informally in natural context as well as within the confines of the classroom where both product (language produced by the learners at different stages) and process (the mental process and environmental factors that influence the acquisition process) are at play.

While tracing the stages of first language acquisition we discuss that the earliest vocalization of a child is involuntary crying that manifest emotions or biological needs like hunger or discomfort. However, they can clearly perceive the subtle difference between two dissimilar sounds of human language. But the vocal expression of such differences comes several months later. ‘Telegraphic’ sentences begin to form as they combine words into sentences that are devoid of function words and grammatical morphemes. Generally by the age of four, language acquires a basic structure which gradually strengthens with application of formats and rules. Metalinguistic awareness develops during the pre-school years when language is treated as an object as the children embarks on learning and reading.

Exposure to more than one language since birth is referred to as ‘simultaneous bilinguals’; slightly different is ‘sequential bilinguals’ where learning of second language begins at a later stage. Prolonged distance from family language and intense proximity to a second language on the other hand lead to ‘subtractive bilingualism’ during early school days.
Discovery of language progresses through predictable patterns that chart the emergence and development of many features of the language learnt. The developmental sequences or stages are related to children’s cognitive development.

However, it is discernible that a child or adult learning a second language is different from a child acquiring a first language in terms of both personal characteristics and conditions for learning. Characteristically, all learners of second language have had acquired at least one language, irrespective of age. This prior knowledge can turn out to be a negative or a positive aspect in second language learning. It is expected to be a combination of contrasting possibilities. To elucidate further, young language learners begin the task of language learning without the benefit of some of the skills and knowledge which adolescent and adult learners have. The first language learner doesn’t have the same cognitive maturity, Metalinguistic maturity or world knowledge as older second language learners. Although young second language learners have begun to develop cognitive maturity and Metalinguistic awareness, they will still have far to go in these areas, as well as in the area of world knowledge, before they reach the levels already attained by adults and adolescents.

Child learners mostly are far less inhibited in using the language – even in cases of limited proficiency. However, a similar act proves to be very stressful for adults and adolescents when they are unable to express themselves clearly and correctly. Nevertheless, even pre-school children can also differ in their nervousness when faced with speaking a language they do not know well. Some engage in happy conversation in the new language; others chose to listen and participate silently in social interaction with their peers. Fortunately, for these children, the learning environment rarely puts pressure on them to speak when they are not ready.

Learning conditions too tend to differ with age level. Young learners in an informal second language learning scenario are usually allowed to be silent until they are ready to speak. For older learners, the factor of compulsion to speak works in order to meet the requirements of a classroom or for social interactions while shopping, medical visits or job interviews. Young children in informal settings are usually exposed to the second language for many hours every day. Older learners, especially students in language classroom are more likely to receive only limited exposure to the second language. However, a condition common to learners of all age in varying quantities is access to modified input. This adjusted speech style which is called child-direct speech for first language, is sometimes called foreigner talk or teacher talk for second languages. Many people who interact regularly with language learners seem to have an intuitive sense of what adjustments are needed to help learners understand. Of course, some people are better at it than others.

Unlike error correction in first language acquisition which tends to be limited to corrections of meaning – including errors in vocabulary choice, informal second language acquisition usually overlook errors which do not interfere with meaning. Thus, errors of grammar and pronunciation are rarely remarked on, but wrong word choices are susceptible to comments. The only place where feedback on error is typically present with high frequency is the language classroom.


Coming to theories, some have been developed for second language acquisition (SLA) giving primary importance to learners’ innate characteristics; some emphasize the essential role of the environment in shaping language learning, still others seek to integrate learner characteristics and environmental factors in an explanation for how second language acquisition take place.

The Theory of Behaviourism identifies language learning as a result of imitation, practice, feedback on success and habit formation. According to the behaviourists, all learning, whether verbal or non-verbal, takes place through the same underlying process. Learners receive linguistic input from speakers in their environment and they form ‘associations’ between words, and objects or events. These associations become stronger as experiences are repeated. By imitating sounds and patterns around them, children invite positive reinforcement in form of praise or accomplished communication as well as corrective feedback on their errors. Behaviourism is also related to Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) that explains the easy adaptation of second/target language structures if there are similarities with the first; differences naturally make learning difficult.

The theoretical derivation of Noam Chomsky stresses upon the innate language programming within the learner that develops like any other biological functions - Innatism. The environment makes a basic contribution by making available to the learner, reciprocating speakers. Chomsky has referred to the special ability within the learner to perceive the ground rules of any new language system. This inherent language acquisition device (LAD) or endowment which has later been termed as Universal Grammar (UG) simply needs language samples to get activated. UG is considered to be a set of principles that are common to all languages and that permits all learners to acquire the language of their environment during a ‘critical period’ in their development. This critical period does not stretch indefinitely and refers to a concept of right time. A few contrasting arguments that generate from this theory are –

• The unavailability of UG to guide the acquisition beyond the critical period
• Beyond the critical period of acquisition the learners might not attain complete mastery of the target language but would eventually have more knowledge of the language if compared to sole dependence on external inputs.

The ‘Monitor Model’ proposed by Stephen Krashen constitute of five hypotheses’ based on the Innatist theory of second language acquisition.

• The acquisition-learning hypothesis concludes at nominating acquired language as the foremost tool of natural and fluent communication, compared to the conscious process of learning where attention and conformation to form and rule prevails. Fluency here isn?t necessarily controlled and decided by rules.
• In the monitor hypothesis, Krashen designates the learned system as an editor or monitor responsible for fine tuning the language that has been acquired. This acquisition alone can ensure fluency and intuitive judgment about correctness. Monitor is used when the focus is on correctness like in case of written communication. Krashen maintains that since knowing the rules only helps the speaker supplement what has been acquired, the focus of language teaching should be on creating conditions for acquisition rather than learning.
• The natural order hypothesis is independent of the order of rules that are taught in classroom. Acquisition of the second language here attains a predictable, natural sequence where the easy rules are not necessarily learnt at the beginning.
• Exposure to comprehensible input is a significant factor in acquisition.

Krashen claims that if the input contains forms and structures above the learner´s existing level of language competence, it is bound to initiate comprehension and acquisition. Undirected pleasure reading can be such a source of comprehensible input that underlines the theory of the input hypothesis.
• The affective filter hypothesis has features that are linked to classroom

practice and is able to diagnose the reason behind the discrepancy in the level of learning among various students under the same learning condition. The term `affect´ in `affective filter´ refers to motivates, needs, attitudes and emotional states that has potential to filter out input, creating a virtual barrier that prevents learning and acquisition. The filter operates at the disposal of the learner´s state of mind, limiting or encouraging acquisition.

The more recent psychological theories include the model of information processing where acquisition is viewed as the construction of a knowledge system that is accessed automatically for speaking and understanding. This principle of Automaticity involves a timely movement of the control of a few language forms into automatic processing of a relatively unlimited number of language forms. Over analyzing language, thinking too much about its forms and consciously lingering on rules of language all tend to impede this graduation to automaticity.

In addition to the development of automaticity through practice, skill and knowledge also undergo change due to ‘restructuring’. Away form the concept of gradual build-up, skills and knowledge seems to be based on the interaction of existing knowledge or the acquired new knowledge that fits into an existing system and causes it to be transformed or restructured. This set of action can have both positive and negative impact on the learner.
Connectionism is a cognitive approach that attributes greater importance to the role of the environment as compared to the existence of innate knowledge in the learner. The knowledge bank here is developed with the help of exposure to linguistic features through innumerable instances. The Connectionists consider external inputs as the principal source of linguistic knowledge.

Theories have also been based on acquisition that takes place through conversational interaction. Interactions between learners and native speakers produce acquirable inputs that are comprehensive in nature. The interactionist position as discussed by Evelyn Hatch, Teresa Pica, and Michael Long states that the learners need opportunity to interact with other speakers in a way that is conducive to adaptation until the learner shows signs of understanding. Yet another perspective on this role of interaction is the socio-cultural theory of human mental processing. Social interactions between individuals are at the centre stage here. Further collaboration and interaction with more knowledgeable speakers elevates the learners to an advanced level of knowledge.

Acquisition Vs Learning

The distinction between “language learning” and “ language acquisition” has been brought to us by researchers in linguistics, psycholinguistics and cognitive psychology – notably by Steve Krashen, Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker and others – and through studies of both first and second language learning. More significantly, the majority of people who learn another language do so without teachers, books or classroom study. They do it by being exposed to comprehensible input that is for some reason important to their lives – trading, traveling, studying or working. They do it not by thinking about learning language, but by using new sounds and systems to communicate something of importance to them. We might do well to look at this phenomenon since these “non-students” are relatively more successful in their task than the majority of formal language students. The critical difference is the focus on the “message” rather than the form of the language used to transmit the message. To summarize: as illustrated by Dave Hopkins in his book ‘Smooth Moves’:


1. Similar to the process of learning L1 (first or native language)
2. An intuitive process
3. Implicit knowledge
4. Speaking without thinking about it
5. Formal teaching does not help much
6. Strongly influenced by affective factors
7. Peers have a more important influence than teachers or parental figures
8. Language is acquired in a “context” that is understandable to the learner
9. There is a discernable, but as yet incomplete ordering of the sequence of acquisition of linguistic features

1. Learning process is not like learning L1
2. Conscious process
3. Explicit knowledge
4. Thinking before speaking
5. Formal teaching helps
6. Not as dependant upon affective factors
7. Teachers or parental figures are more important than peers
8. Language is often de-contextualized for drills and exercises
9. There is no attention to what is known about the sequence of learning different linguistic features

Another way of looking at this distinction may be the following. Native speakers have a built in “feel” for what is right or wrong in language.

I love to swim.
I enjoy to swim. *

While the second sentence is a logical extension of the first, native English speakers know it isn’t right.
In order to bring language teaching closer to the ‘natural acquisition’ of language characterized by first language learning (L1) certain areas and consideration need to be strongly emphasized. This also helps in reducing the type of ‘learning’ practiced in many second-language classrooms. The areas are –

1. Language context and modeling of language
2. Natural language as it occurs in real life
3. Encouraging learners to participate, initiate and make choices about their learning
4. Learning grammar and vocabulary in context
5. Repeated and varied language models for accuracy, rather than correction
6. Maximizing peer interaction to allow students to observe, hypothesize, experiment with language – i.e. scaffolding as output processing for language development
7. Focus on the “message” rather than the “language”
8. Emphasizing the emotional engagement of the learner.
9. Giving the student time to digest input before requiring production.

  EFL Teaching – Methodologies and Approaches

Learners of English who have the opportunity to live in an English speaking environment while studying have a huge advantage. They are surrounded by the language continuously and are able to put acquired language into practice in everyday, realistic situations. However, the majority of English learners are living in their native countries, where English is not the first language and as a result do not have these benefits. Many of these students may have the opportunity to use English at work, with their friends or in some other practical way where they are able to use their English on a fairly regular basis. Many other learners of English are not so fortunate and their only contact with the language may be twice a week at a language institute. Even if they have daily exposure to English they get to use it only in English classes at school or at a private language institute. As a result these students do not get sufficient exposure to the language or the opportunity to put into practice what they have acquired in class.

As children we all learnt our native language without the aid of language teachers and course books. We simply absorbed the language around us, processed it and through trial and error formulated internal ideas and rules to allow us to be able to use the language fluently and accurately. This ‘natural language acquisition’ is impossible to replicate in the classroom but many of the most popular methodologies in EFL teaching today try to imitate it as far as practical.

The concept of methodology evolved with the search for an ideal single method that would successfully teach a foreign language in the classroom. This search found new ideologies in a row that replaced the previous one and eventually gave way to the next. In the process, language teaching was deduced to be composed of three hierarchical components – Approach, Method and Technique.

Approach deals with assumptions, beliefs and theories that underline the nature of language, learning and teaching. It is fed by theories about the applicability of language and its nature of learning in pedagogical settings.

Method or design systematically presents the language, following a selected approach. We can also designate it as an umbrella term that marks the specification and interrelation of theory and practice. A strict definition goes as pedagogical practices that include theory and research as the basis, trying to formulate ‘how to teach’.

Techniques are classroom activities and practices specific to any method and also in accordance with the basic approach. Techniques generally involve a wide variety of exercises, activities, tasks; everything that turn theory into practice.

To describe it in a single line we can state that ‘teaching methods are approaches in action’ or ‘practical application of theoretical findings and positions’. History of language teaching has seen new methods emerging every quarter of a century.

The individual methods are based on a set of beliefs about the nature of language and learning. For as long as people have been learning and teaching language, there has been continual, and often heated, debate as to which method and technique produce the best results. The shifting focus over the years have been distinguished under the major methodological findings –

Grammar – translation

This was probably the main stay of language teaching and learning for hundred of years, and indeed is still practiced in many situations. Many of us will have been exposed to this system of learning in the state school sector.

The basic principle of this system is, as its name suggests, learning about a language through finding equivalent in the students’ own language and the foreign language being learned. In is in effect, a system of translation.

The major characteristics of Grammar Translation method can be charted as:

· Classes are taught in mother tongue, with little active use of the target language

· Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words

· Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given

· Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words

· Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early

· Little attention is paid to context of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis.

· Often the only drills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue

· Little or no attention is given to pronunciation

The major drawback with grammar – translation is that it seems to prevent the students from getting the kind of natural language input that will really help them acquire the language. The danger therefore, is that students will learn about the language rather than learning the language itself. This methodology also requires the teachers to be proficient in the students’ native language.

Audio – lingualism

This is the name given to a language teaching/learning methodology based upon behaviorist theories of learning. This theory basically suggests that much learning is as a result of habit formation through conditioning. Audio- lingualism concentrates therefore, to a large degree, on long repetition-drills, in which the students would be conditioned into using the language correctly.

Audio – lingualism largely went out of fashion because most linguists believe that language learning consisted of more than merely forming habits and that speakers of a language are able to process language more effectively from the knowledge they have acquired . However, it is useful to the extent that the language drills are still popular (though in a much more limited way) especially for the low level students.

The characteristics of ALM may be summed up in the following list:

• New material is presented in a dialogue form
• There is dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases and over learning
• Structures are sequenced by means of contrastive analysis and taught one at a time
• Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills
• There is little or no grammatical explanations Grammar is taught by inductive analogy rather than by deductive explanation
• Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context
• There is much use of tapes, language labs and visual aids
• Great importance is attached to pronunciation
• Very little use of the mother tongue by teachers is permitted
• Successful responses are immediately reinforced
• There is a great effort to get students to produce error-free utterances
• There is tendency to manipulate language and disregard content

Presentation, Practice and Production

In this method teacher first presents the context and situation for the language, as well as explaining and demonstrating the meaning and form of the new language. The students then practice making sentences with the language in a controlled way (including drilling) before going on to the production stage where they are able to be more creative with the language.

PPP has proved to be extremely effective in teaching simple language at lower levels. It is less effective with higher level students who already know a lot of language, and therefore do not need such a marked production stage.

Many teacher training centers (and teachers) still use PPP today. The system does, however, lack in flexibility and it is easy for the lessons to become too ‘teacher-cantered’.

Task – Based Learning

In this method the focus is more on a task than the language. Students are given a task to complete (while using the English language). When they have completed the task, the teacher can, if necessary – and only if necessary- provides some language study to help clear up some of the problems they had while doing the task.
The language lessons are based on learning experiences that have nonlinguistic outcomes, and in which there is a clear connection between the things learners do in class and the things they will ultimately need to do outside of the classroom.

Communicative Language Teaching

The communicative approach stresses the importance of language functions (such as agreeing, inviting, suggesting, etc.) as opposed to reliance only on grammar and vocabulary. This approach also suggests that if students have enough exposure to the language and the opportunity to use it then language learning would in effect, take care of itself. Activities in CLT typically require students to use the language in real life situations, so role-play and simulation have become popular with this method. CLT places far more emphasis on completion of the task than the accuracy of the language.

Community Language Learning

In CLL students will typically sit in a circle and it is up to them to decide what they want to talk about. The teacher (standing outside the circle) will help, as and when necessary, with language problems that arise during the course of the discussion. This methodology has helped teachers focus on the need to make the lessons as ‘student- centered’ as possible by allowing the students to choose the topic and language.

The important characteristics are:

• Learners are not regarded as a class but as a group that is in need of certain therapy and counseling
• Interaction in interpersonal relationship forms the basis of learning for the group
• Students and teachers join together to facilitate learning in a context of valuing each individual in the group
• Personal defenses are replaced by supportive community feeling
• The teacher is treated as a true counselor
• The counselor teacher could become too non directive.
• It is based on an inductive strategy of learning

The Silent Way

The most notable feature of the silent way is the behavior of the teacher- who says as little as possible. This is because it is believe that if the students had to ‘discover’ the language for themselves ,learning will be better facilitated rather than just remembering and repeating what had been taught . Many teachers have found this method to be a little unnatural in application. The theory of silent way can be summarized as:

• Discovery and creation of language induces learning more than memorizing and repetition of the subject
• Mediating physical objects facilitate learning
• Solving problems that belong to the context of the subject facilitates learning


This method was developed largely on the need for the students to be comfortable, confident and relaxed in order for learning to be more effective. Another feature is that the teacher and students exist in a parent-children relationship; students are given new names and traumatic themes are avoided. A suggestopaedia lesson has three main parts firstly there is an oral review of the previous lesson. This is followed by the presentation and discussion of the new language. Finally, students listen to relaxing music while the teacher reads the new dialogue.

• Music is central to the method
• Practicality of using the method is an issue in absence of music and comfortable chairs

The Lexical Approach
This approach argues that words and phrases are far better building blocks for language acquisition than grammatical structure.

The Natural Approach
Stephen Krashen’s theories of second language acquisition have been widely discussed and debated. Both Krashen and his colleague Tracy Terrell felt that learners would benefit from delaying out put of language until the learner starts to speak. “Learners should be relaxed in the classroom and that a great deal of communication and acquisition should take place, as opposed to analysis”, H. Douglas Brown, Teaching by Principles. In fact this approach recommends the TPR activities at the starter level when “comprehensible input” is a key element in the process of acquisition.

The Natural Approach was aimed at basic personal communication in everyday life situation. The teacher needed to provide oral inputs that the learner is able to understand while the learner was expected to remain silent and take everything in and respond only when he or she was ready. So the teacher through different interesting activities would be the source for all language input.

Krashen and Terrell defined three main stages in this process: (i) Pre-production stage wherein listening comprehension skills are developed. (ii) Early production stage where the learner struggles with the language and naturally makes errors. (iii) The last stage demands production of more complex and longer “discourses” through role-plays, games, open-ended dialogues in groups. The aim is developing fluency rather than accuracy, so error correction should be minimal.

This approach was criticized due to the delay in oral production (silent periods) and its dependence on the teacher to give “comprehensible input”. How does the teacher decide which structures are to be provided to the learner? Some teachers may not be able to do so, on their own. The positive of this approach was to allow students to remain silent till the time they are comfortable to speak. Therefore they do not feel threatened or embarrassed to experiment with the new language. The resulting self-confidence helps in language learning.

The teacher needs to choose the best of what others have experimented with and adapt those insights to the situation he or she is in.

Which methodology is best?
With so many different approaches and methods it can be rather difficult to decide which is the best to use. Unfortunately there is no clear answer as much will depend upon your individual circumstances. Your personality, the culture for students, and their needs will all play a part in your decision. In reality each method has its pluses and minuses but certain conclusion can be drawn:

• Students need as much exposure to language as possible.
• Students need a certain amount of input from the teacher
• Communicative tasks offer real learning possibilities but are not enough on their own.
• Anxiety and stress needs to be low for effective language learning.
• Where possible students should be encouraged to discover language for themselves.
• Vocabulary is as important as grammar. Both need each other.

The methodology that the teacher prefers may not be the preferred or correct option for students from different cultures. Compromise may be necessary.

Over the years, a blind search for the perfect method gave way to integration of approach to language teaching practices. The demand was for unifying approach to language teaching and designing effective tasks and techniques, informed by that approach. The eclectic blend of tasks and activities now are beyond any methodology; they only focus at the dynamics of the classroom.

The enlightened, eclectic approach incorporates a number of basic principles of learning and teaching, inspired by interconnection of reading and observation, discussion and teaching. It is a dynamic composition of perception and experience, where approach and classroom practice is at constant interaction. Feedback on innovations yields new insight and more creative possibilities which run in a cycle. When the eclectic approach is at work, designing of a lesson depends upon the selection of focus. The approach chosen is also guided by factors like the teacher’s experience as a learner, a teacher, observer, reader, and specialized orientation in the same field, if any. Approaches are necessarily controlled by varying contexts and are subject to interpretation.

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is a more generally accepted approach today owing to a wide variety of interpretations and classroom applications. The approach highlights distinct communicative traits and incorporates authentic, real-world simulations and meaningful tasks. CLT can be defined as a unified yet broadly based, theoretically well informed set of doctrines about nature of language and of language learning and teaching. CLT highlights the social, cultural and pragmatic features of languages. CLT uses authentic language to a great extent in an attempt to build fluency. The basic characteristics of the communicative mode of teaching feature distinct digression from the previous approaches.

In Communicative Language Teaching the grammatical, functional, socio-linguistic, and strategic discourse components are at their best possible interplay. The techniques are utilitarian and driven towards fulfillment of individual purposes. Fluency and accuracy are complementary principles that alternatively acquire high degree of importance. Productive and contextualized communication is necessarily the goal and the students need to work towards this goal through the development of appropriate strategies for autonomous learning. The teacher here is the facilitator who is supposed to facilitate authentic linguistic interaction and encourage meaningful construction of language. The functional aspects like fluency and spontaneity displace overt presentation and discussion of grammatical rules and concentrate on the learner’s initiative, in CLT.

The concepts that are derivatives from the Communicative Approach of language teaching are

>> Learner-Centered Instruction involves techniques that are based on the learner’s needs, styles and goals. The teaching is an interactive session here with students’ inputs, space for creativity, enhancing individual competence.

>> Cooperative and Collaborative Learning emphasizes on students’ team spirit, promoting intrinsic motivation; enhancing self-esteem; bonding of relationship amidst cultural variation and individualities. It is a collaborative pursuance of goals and objectives.

>> Interactive Learning promotes interactive communications and creates more opportunities for genuine interaction through pair and group activities; spontaneous reception and production of authentic language; catering to real audience and not forced situation.

>> Whole Language Education initially referred to the ‘wholeness’ of language, encompassing the various significant components and the blending of oral with written form of communication. Currently it is analogous to cooperative, participatory and student-centered learning; it focuses on the community of learners, the social nature of language; exploits meaningful and authentic language with integration of the four-skills.

>> Content-Based Instruction (CBI) is viewed as the integration of content learning with language teaching aims. Content here dictates the form and sequence of language presentation.

>> Task-Based Instruction puts task at the centre of one’s methodological focus and views learning process as a set of communicative tasks that are directly linked to the curricular goals they serve, the purpose of which extends beyond the practice of language for its own sake.

Theory of languag e
Theory of learning Objectives Syllabus Activity types Learner roles Teacher roles
Roles of



Languag e is a system
of rule- governe
structure s hierarchi cally arranged

Habit formatio n; skills are learned more effective ly if oral precedes written; analogy, not analysis. Control of structur es of sound, form
and order, mastery over symbols of the languag e; goal; native- speaker mastery.
Graded syllabus of phonolo gy, morphol ogy and syntax. Contrast ive analysis. Dialogue s and drills, repetitio n and memoriz ation, pattern practice. Organis ms that can be directed by
skilled training
es to produce
response s
Central and active teacher- dominat ed method. Provides model, controls direction and pace.

Primarily teacher- oriented. Tapes & visuals, languag
e lab often used.

Total Physical Response Basically a
structur alist, gramma r-based
view of languag e.
L2 learning is the same as L1 learning; compreh ension before producti on, is
d? through carrying out comman ds
(right- brain
n of stress.
Teach oral proficien cy to produce learners who can commun icate uninhibit edly and intelligibl y with native speakers
Sentenc e-based syllabus with gramma tical and lexical criteria being primary, but
focus on
, not forms.
Imperati ve drills to elicit physical actions.

Listener and perform er, little influence over the content
of learning. with students as actors.

with students as actors.

Active and direct role; “the director
of a stage play”

No basic text; material
s and media have an
importa nt role later.

Initially voice, action and gestures are sufficien t.

The Silent
Each languag
e is compose d of element
s that give it a unique
and spirit. Function al vocabula ry and core structure are key to the spirit of the languag e.
Processe s of learning
a second languag
e are
fundame ntally different from L1 learning. L2 learning is an intellect ual, cognitive process. Surrend er to the music of the languag e, silent awarene ss then active trial.
Near- native fluency, correct pronunci ation, basic practical knowled ge of the gramma
r of the
L2. Learners
how to learn a
languag e.
Basically structur al
lessons planned around
gramma tical items
related vocabula ry.
Items are introduc ed
accordin g to their
gramma tical complexi ty.
Learner response s to comman ds, question s and visual cues. Activities encoura ge and shape oral response s
without gramma
explanat ion or
g by teacher.
Learning is a process of personal growth. Learners are responsi ble for their
own learning
and must develop indepen
dence, autonom y and
responsi bility.
Teachers must (a) teach
(b) test (c) get out of
the way. Remain impassiv
e. Resist
temptati on to model, remodel, assist, direct, exhort.
Unique material s: colored rods, color- coded pronunci ation
and vocabula
Community language learning Languag e is more than a system for commun ication.
It involves whole
person, culture, educatio nal
develop ment , commun
icative processe s.

Learning involves the whole person.

It is a social process of
growth from
childlike depende nce to self-
direction and indepen

No specific objectiv es. Near native

mastery is the goal.

No set syllabus. Course progress ion is topic based; learners provide the topics. Syllabus emerges from learners? intention and the teacher?
s reformul ations.
Combina tion of innovati ve and conventional. Translati on,
group work, recordin
g, transcrip tion, reflectio
n and observat ion,
, free conversa tion.
Learners are member
s of a community. Learning is not viewed
as an individua
l accompli shment, but
somethi ng that is
achieved collabora tively.

Counseli ng
/parenta l analogy.

Teacher provides a safe environ ment in which students can
learn and
No textbook
, which would inhibit
growth. Material
s are
develope d as course progress es.
The Natural
The essence of languag
e is meaning
. Vocabula ry, not
r, is the heart of languag e.
are two ways of
languag e
develop ment: “acquisit
ion” – a
natural subcons cious process. Learning cannot lead to acquisiti on.
d to give beginner
s and
intermed iate
learners basic commun
skills. Four broad areas; basic personal commun icative skills(or al/writte n); academi c learning skills (oral/wri tten)
Based on selection of commun icative activities and topics derived from learner needs. Activities allowing compreh ensible input about things in the
here- and-
now. Focus on meaning
, not form.
Should not try to learn languag
e in the usual
sense, but should
try to
loose themsel ves in activities involving meaning ful commun ication.
The teacher
is the primary source
compreh ensible input. Must create positive, low- anxiety climate. Must chose and orchestr ate a rich mixture of classroo m activities
s comes from
rather than
text books. Primary
aim is to
promote compreh ension and commun ication.
Suggestope dia Rather conventi onal, although memoriz ation of whole meaning ful texts is recomm ended. Learning occurs through suggesti on, where learners are in a deeply relaxed state. Baroque music is used to induce this
To deliver advance conversa tional competence quickly. Learners are required to
master prodigio us lists of vocabula ry pairs, although the goal is understa nding, not memoriz ation.

Ten unit courses consistin g of
1.200- word dialogue s graded by vocabula ry and gramma r.

Initiative s, question and answer, role-play, listening exercise
s under deep relaxatio
Must maintain a
passive state and allow the material
s to work on them
(rather than vice versa)

To create situation s in which
the learner
is most suggesti
ble and present material
in a way most likely to encoura
ge positive receptio
n and retentio n. Must exude
y and confiden ce.

Consists of texts, tapes, classroo m fixtures, and music. Texts should have force, literary quality and interesti ng characte rs.
Communica tive Language Teaching Languag e is a system for the expressi on of meaning
primary function

interacti on and
Activities involving real commun ication; carrying out meaning ful
tasks; and using
e which is
meaning ful to the learner
promote learning.
Objectiv es will reflect the
needs of the
they will include
al skills as well
as linguistic objectiv
Will include some/all of the following structur es, function s, notions, themes, tasks. Ordering will be guided
by learner needs.
Engage learners in commun ication, involve processe s such as informati on sharing, negotiati on of meaning
, and interacti on.
Learner as negotiat or, interacto r, giving as well as
Facilitato r of the commun ication process, participa nts? task and texts; needs analyst, counselo r,
process manager
Primary role in promoti ng commun icative languag
e use;
task- based material s; authenti c.

Language Learners and their Levels

ESL learners are socio-cultural products, necessarily conditioned by their surrounding, family orientation, exposure to the greater society and several such factors. Therefore, while assessing the learner/s the factors like age culture, language level and motivation for learning are always taken into consideration. Any of these factors could have a bearing on what we perceive to be a ‘good learner’. However, there are number of general characteristics that successful students appear to possess. These can include:

• A willingness to listen to the language
• A desire to experiment with the language
• A willingness to ask questions
• An ability to think about their own learning process and methods
• An acceptance of error correction.
• A desire to learn.

These are all qualities that successful learners usually have and it is the teacher’s responsibility to encourage and foster these attributes in the classroom.

The broad categorization would be under the subheads - young learners and adults. Generally, adults are taken to mean those who are 18 years of age or more, and the term is self-explanatory.

However, there are at least three categories of young learners.
• First is the post puberty or early teen age learner i.e. 13-plus.
• Second is the pre-puberty learner, corresponding to primary school or 8 to 12 years old.
• Finally, the very young learners, who are often pre-schoolers, aged 7 years and less. These are becoming an increasingly bigger market the world over. They have shorter attention spans, and in the case of very young ones they have not even completely mastered the grammar of their mother tongue, but all are generally amenable to fun games, singing, drawing etc.

Culture and First Language
Approaches to learning vary with the change in cultural backgrounds of the students.
Students from some Asian Countries, for example are noted as being very serious about their learning and respectful to their teachers but sometimes lacking in willingness to communicate. The problem possibly stems from the fact in these areas, the teacher is often still expected to do all the talking and the students are encouraged not to speak in class unless addressed directly by the teacher. In some schools TEFL teachers are sometimes frowned upon and some classes considered unruly because of the noise (Inevitable and necessary when there is choral work or pair and group work!). A good teacher should be aware of their student’s customs and differences that could affect the success of the classes.

Language Level

Distinctions between the different levels of ability in English language learning have to be clearly demarcated.
The most common breakdown is as follows:

Beginners - From zero knowledge of English to very basic knowledge of English, which cannot be quickly or easily activated.

Elementary – Students at this level are likely to be able to form basic sentence
structures and communicate on simple topics.

Low or pre-intermediate - Students are able to communicate and understand a greater variety of topics but lacking general fluency and depth of language awareness but are still likely to make many errors even with basic structures.
Intermediate – Able to understand and communicate on a wide range of issues using limited vocabulary store but still lacking in accuracy and fluency.

Upper Intermediate – Should be able to actively communicate on almost all topics using a greater range of language but still lacking in accuracy.

Advanced – Students should have a very good knowledge of English language and now will be studying more subtle language items.

It should be noted that while the above terms are the most commonly used their actual meaning can differ considerably depending on where you work and which text book you may be using, an elementary student in one country could be viewed as intermediate in a different country!

The common European framework recently established by the council of Europe state the following six levels:

• Breakthrough Basic User A1
• Way stage, Basic User, A2
• Threshold , Independent User, B1
• Vantage, Independent User, B2
• Effective Operational Policy, Proficient User, C1
• Mastery, Proficient User , C2

The complex variables introduced by sociopolitical contexts of teaching (country, societal expectations, cultural factors, political constraints, the status of English), the ethics and views of the institution one is teaching in (school, university, language school, adult education, vocational/workplace courses), and the implied purposes for learning English (academic, technical, social, immersion, enrichment, survival) heavily conditions the teacher-student relationship and the final output in the classroom . Each of these considerations is essential to incorporate into your choices of techniques, lesson organization, and supporting materials.

Teaching Children

Children exercise a good deal of both cognitive and affective effort in order to internalize both native and second languages.

The difference between children and adults (that is, persons beyond the age of puberty) lies primarily in the contrast between the child's spontaneous, peripheral attention to language forms and the adult's overt, focal awareness of and attention to those forms.

Children are blessed with fluency and naturalness that help them to score over the superior intellect of the adults. The context of classroom instruction may introduce some difficulties to children learning a second language.

Many fail to differentiate between very young children (4-6 years old) and pre-pubescent children (12-13 years) and the whole range of ages in between. There are actually many instances of six- to twelve-year-old children manifesting significant difficulty in acquiring a second language for a multitude. Ranking high on that list of reasons are a number of complex personal, cultural, and political factors at play in elementary school education. Teaching ESL to school-age children, therefore, is not merely a matter of setting them loose on a plethora of authentic language tasks in the classroom. To successfully teach children a second language requires specific skills and intuitions that differ from those appropriate for adult teaching. Five categories may help give some practical approaches to teaching children.

Teaching Teens

The Job of teaching ‘Young Adults’, ‘Teens’ and ‘high school-age children’ should preferably be a mix of variables that can appropriately cater to an age of physical, psychological transition between twelve and eighteen.

Students at this stage of evolution from childhood to adulthood need to be handled with special consideration. Some thoughts worth verbalizing are:

• Intellectual capacity adds abstract operational thought around the age of twelve. Therefore, some sophisticated intellectual processing is increasingly possible. Complex problems can be solved with logical thinking. This means that linguistic metalanguage can now, theoretically, have some impact. But for any intellectual endeavor to be successful the learner must pay full attention to the task at hand. If a learner is simultaneously trying to attend to other things like her/his appearance, or to sexual thoughts, or to planning a weekend party, or whatever, the intellectual task at hand may suffer.

• Attention span extends with intellectual maturity. However, with potential diversions present all around, the same attention span tend to get shortened.

• Varieties of sensory input are still important, but, again, increasing capacities for abstraction lessen the essential nature of appealing to all five senses.

• Teaching process dedicated to teenagers should have elements to bolster their ultra-sensitive sense of self-image, ego and self-esteem. The secondary school teacher should aim at that by avoiding embarrassment of students affirming their personal talents and strength making room for acceptance of mistakes and errors de-emphasizing competition between peers encouraging group work and activities

Teaching Adults
Compared to children, adults have superior, cognitive abilities that spell success for them in varied classroom endeavors. Their need for sensory input can largely be generated from their imagination (“imagine touching a leaf” VS actually touching it). Adults also score an advantage over children for having acquired self-confidence that help them to handle shyness to certain extent.

The cognitive faculty also enables them to deal with languages that are not currently contextualized. Therefore, besides considering the thumb-rules specified for teaching children, special suggestions can be:

• Adults are better at handling abstract rules and concepts. But beware! As an adult you may get carried away by too much abstract generalization about usage and never get around to practicing the language in real life situations. In other words too much focus on language learning concepts and rules may hinder the actual language learning process.

• Adults have longer attention spans and can concentrate on material that may not be intrinsically interesting to them. But again, the rule of keeping your activities short and interesting applies also to adult teaching.

• Sensory input need not always be quite as varied with adults, but one of the secrets of lively adult classes is to make the activities multiple sense based.

• Adults often bring a modicum of general self-confidence (global self-esteem) into a classroom. The fragility of egos may therefore not be quite as critical as of children. Yet we should never underestimate the emotional factors that may be attendant to adult second language learning.

• Adults with their more developed abstract thinking ability, arc better able to understand a context-reduced segment of language. Authenticity and meaningfulness are of course still highly important, but in adult language teaching, a teacher can take temporary digressions to dissect and examine isolated linguistic properties, as long as students are returned to the original context.


1. Write about your past formal or informal language learning experiences (any language which is not your first language). Would you consider them to be effective or ineffective? Give reasons for your answer. (Word limit – 250)

2. Why do you think the CLT has gained popularity in the language classroom? (200 words)

3. How would you approach a class with true beginners and false beginners? How would you keep the latter challenged without overwhelming the former? (150 words)

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