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English Teaching Methods

Update on 2024-04-15

English Teaching Methods - Step By Step Methods How to Teach English

English Teaching Methods:

Throughout the history of teaching in colleges and universities, English is a fairly recent addition. It is a 19th-century phenomenon, this act of learning and teaching the English language at higher educational institutes. To teach a language as widely known and equally widely diverse as the English language requires creativity, various teaching methodologies, and approaches to be tried and tested in accordance with the environment of the class and children's standards. 

Teaching students who are beginners of a language or new language learners can be a daunting prospect even for experienced teachers especially if the class consists of one language speaker that is monolingual or even a multilingual group of students. Teaching English is in itself a task that requires a heavy dose of creativity and engagement of students and teachers alike. However, the rewards and watching the students clearly understand and become fluent in the language is an unparalleled experience. 

There are many methods and approaches required which are set aside for teaching languages such as English, French, and the like. However, to kick off the article below we have listed some of the tips which will be helpful in English Teaching Methods.

  1. Keep Instructions clear and simple
  2. Let the students listen 
  3. Drill, Repeat, Drill, Repeat, Drill, Repeat…
  4. Establishment of classroom language early on
  5. Avoid the metalanguage
  6. Students are fluent in their own languages
  7. Prepare well, prepare and talk
Keeping Instructions Clear and Simple:

One of the first tips for teachers looking for English teaching methods is to keep instructions given in the classroom in as few and simple words as possible. It is tempting to use words that teachers normally use in English with their friends and families, however, they need to understand that the classroom is filled with students who do not have a standard level of understanding or fluency in the English language. Hence the instructions or orders that the teachers give in the classroom such as the assignments, class presentations and the like should be delivered to the students in a simple and clear language, and the easiest way to do that is to use as few words as possible. 

Let them Listen:

Students who start learning a language or are enthusiastic language learners start speaking the words and phrases as soon as they learn them, however, they lose sight of one of the most important aspects of the English language, the ability to listen and accustom the human ear to the sounds of the language. Just like French, the English language is filled with consonants and sounds that work together to form coherent sentences. 

However, once a student starts to give importance to the speaking aspect of the language they lose sight of the listening aspect, and hence they fail to learn the art of sounds, the specific distinctiveness of words merged together in a sentence and the like. Thus for teachers who wish to produce fluent English learners who are intimate with the English language in a sacred way, it is necessary to teach them to listen before they learn to speak.

Drill, Repeat, Drill, Repeat and Drill, and Repeat:

The art of learning any language in a way that matters is to drill and repeat the drill on certain specific concepts and topics. English is a language that is perhaps the only language that has its own accents and language rules according to the region and country. One person can learn a certain set of rules as according to a region by practicing the art of listening and speaking, repeating the sentences in your mind and feeling the words roll off your tongue and then repeating it to a level where the student and the tongue become familiar enough with the words that it doesn't sound “foreign” anymore.

Establishing Classroom Language Early On:

Certain students may not feel comfortable enough in the language at the beginning of the classes and general regulations or classroom language may seem daunting for them. Asking a student to ask or speak in front of the classroom will seem daunting, however changing the language and establishing certain specific sentences that some students can ask for help in will boost the confidence of the students. 

Avoid the Metalanguage:

There are certain sentences and language that portray certain specific questions, for example, “Do you understand?”, etc can put the student in a spot where they may not be comfortable and the teacher would never know if the student has understood certain instructions or rules in class. Avoiding language such as, “past tense, irregular verb, adverb of frequency” etc, can be hard to understand for beginners of the English language. Instead, using language that is easy to understand and ensure that the student feels safe and comfortable is by showing the actual use of language and the past tense and other grammatical rules in real-life situations.

Students are fluent in their own languages:

As English language teachers it is easy to forget that behind the broken and grammatically incorrect English, the person has an active and coherent thought process and is fluent in the language of his or her region or home country. As teachers, it is important to become proactive listeners and patient teachers to be able to fully understand the accent and speaking process of the candidate, how he or she forms structures and speaks and which or what areas are his or her favorites that are easy for them to understand, etc.

Prepare well, Prepare, and Talk:

There comes a time when it is absolutely necessary for students to start speaking and using the language they are learning in their day to day conversations. Of course, this stage comes after the “listening” stage but it does come up fairly early in the language learning process. Teachers can help the process along by inculcating various activities and language speaking assignments during their lessons or classes. Students should be encouraged to learn and think as well as make mistakes. Once they make mistakes, drilling the habit of fixing those mistakes is the role of the teacher. Certain things in the language learning process come from listening while some come from speaking, it is the role of the students and the teachers alike to understand and encourage each other by being confident enough to challenge and learn new ideas. This takes preparation on behalf of both the teacher and the student alike. The best thing to do at this stage is to gather and practice, whether by including resources or various entertaining activities or even games, whatever be the path, making sure that the student walks on it is the teacher's job, while accepting that falling is all part of the process and not giving up is the student's job. 

There are many approaches to English Teaching Methods some of which include the following basic ones:

  • Structural Approach to English Teaching:

As the name suggests, the English language and the learning process alike are divided into various small structures including examples such as grammar, syntax, etc. The rules to combine these different elements and how it is all governed are all part of the teaching methods of teachers who use this approach. Grammar textbooks are most commonly used in this approach and by the looks of it, it is a pretty strict and methodological approach to learning a new language (maybe specifically made for people who have an analytical mind).

  • Cognitive Approach to English Teaching:

According to this approach, the learning process is learner or student-led and the student is in the smack middle of the entire language learning process. He or she decides the sequence of learning, the methods, and approaches to language elements and vocabulary words and the various other components of any language. The techniques, strategies, and activities are all student or learner-centric.

  • Psychological English Teaching Approach:

According to this approach, language learning is considered in aspects such as motivation, predisposition, or the previously held knowledge of the student, teacher and student dynamic, stress levels, and the like. It is a psychological mode of learning which focuses on the mind and its grasping power for new languages.

  • Functional and Communicative English Teaching Approach:

Functional approaches are specifically designed to emphasize the spoken word over the written word. According to this approach, the students learn the language keeping in mind its functional usage, examples of some will be ‘most common phrases of the daily language’, etc. Learning languages in a way that focuses on grasping general rules, learning common phrases of the language, and the like, in other words learning the functional part of the language only. Communicative approaches are using the phrases in proper communicative and language etiquette, knowing when to use certain phrases and when it is polite or impolite to use certain other phrases, etc. The gist of this approach can be summed up in the words, “need to know”. 

Hence these four English Teaching Methods or Approaches can be taught in isolation or even in a mixture since it is very easy for them to overlap each other. There are certain themes or concepts in the English language that can best be understood by using one approach over the other, whereas there are others that can be understood via other approaches or activities. Hence just as a language is a fluid group of words and meaning attached, so is the process of learning the language as well. Students can get to understand various concepts and themes of the language by listening and speaking only, while some rules just come naturally. To conclude, we hope this article helped you in clearing up doubts about the various English Teaching Methods and how it is easy to learn and engage students in the process of learning a language itself.

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