Academic journal article Education

Which Methodology Works Better? English Language Teachers' Awareness of the Innovative Language Learning Methodologies

Academic journal article Education

Which Methodology Works Better? English Language Teachers' Awareness of the Innovative Language Learning Methodologies

Article excerpt

Introduction

English language teachers utilize several techniques, practices and strategies which base on methods stemming from approaches or language learning theories shaped by learning theories. (Brown, 2001; Freeman, 2008; Harmer, 2001; Nunan, 1999; Richards & Rodgers, 2002). What they do in class is a reflection of a method, the practice of a particular theory and "the formulation of a solution imposed proactively on the learning process" (Widdowson, 2003, p. 19). However, several English teachers apply methodological techniques oftentimes without identifying the theoretical associations. For them, palpable transformations and results are valid and vital, they need to observe student learning and witness the progress. Actually, learning is the overall corollary of education and what ultimately matters for language teachers is the evolution of learning which can only be measured by worthwhile learning outcomes.

On the other, there are of course English teachers who consciously apply the techniques and exploit the principles of the methodologies they espouse. They perceive the theoretical connection between learning theories, approaches, methods and learning. Naturally, "It is extremely difficult to come to conclusions about which approaches and methods are best and/or most appropriate for their own teaching situations" (Harmer, 2001, p.96). They often consider themselves as eclectic if they are choosing from various methods or approaches. However, "eclecticism is not as same as random expediency, an ad hoc reaction to immediate circumstances, but a matter of choosing from a range of options" (Widdowson, 2003, p.19). Therefore, it is imperative for English language teachers to be familiar with these methods or approaches in order to exploit them properly.

For many years, Communicative Language Teaching has been considered to be a methodological revolution in language learning. "Communicative Language Teaching has now become generalised "umbrella" term to describe learning sequences which aim to improve the students' ability to communicate" (Harmer, 2001, p.86). There are yet language teachers who still consider this methodology as the last language teaching methodology. In fact, Communicative Language Teaching marked a beginning of radical changes in language learning. Acknowledged facts and practices in language learning were started to be doubted. Grammar teaching became useless; activities and tasks were all communicative, classrooms and materials were recognised to allow more communicative options and opportunities for learners. Language teachers became the principal adherents of the method.

After Communicative Language Teaching, there were significant events which alter the latitude and attribute of learning in general: the integration of computer technologies in education, the influence of constructivist learning theory and the use of the internet in every phase of human life. Similarly, "Language teaching methods have taken different stance towards the personal in language learning" (Huttner, 2012) and learner-centeredness became the principal element in designing, planning and implementing educational practices. In accordance with all these changes, several innovative language learning methodologies have been introduced to language learning. These methodologies adhered to or integrated various theories, approaches and practices of language learning.

Language learning methodologies refer to the "pedagogical practices in general including theoretical underpinnings and related research. Whatever considerations are involved in 'how to teach' are methodological" (Brown, 2001, p.15). Similarly, in this study, "language learning methodology" is used to mean the pedagogical practices based on any specific language learning theory, approach and method; Audio-Lingual Methodology not Audio-Lingual Method, for instance. These methodologies all claim to make language learning more effective and more appealing to language learners. …

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