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Chapter 2. A Critique of Methods and Approaches in Language Teaching. Setting the Stage. Two concepts: Content-based instruction Teachers provide practice in academic skills and tasks common to mainstream classes Interactive instruction

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Chapter 2

A Critique of Methods and Approaches in Language Teaching

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Setting the Stage

  • Two concepts:

    • Content-based instruction

      • Teachers provide practice in academic skills and tasks common to mainstream classes

  • Interactive instruction

    • Involves active engagement between teacher and student which results in language production and the development of complex thinking skills

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Methodology & Definitions

  • Methodology – a system of principles, practices, and procedures applied to any specific branch of knowledge

  • Pedagogy – the art or profession of teaching

  • Approach – a set of theoretical principles

  • Method – a procedural plan for presenting and teaching the language

  • Technique – strategies for implementing the methodological plan

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Learning Styles

  • A learning style is an approach a learner uses to learn a new language:

    • Analytical-global

    • Sensory preferences

    • Intuitive/Random and Sensory/Sequential Learning

    • Orientation to closure

    • Competition-cooperation

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Traditional Behaviorist Methods

  • Three methods most common to foreign language teaching prior to the 1970’s:

    • Grammar Translation Method

    • Direct Method

    • Audiolingual Method (ALM)

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Traditional Behaviorist Methods

  • Grammar-translation method

    • Characteristics:

      • Outline of grammatical structure/ vocabulary list

      • Completion of exercises/translation

      • Conversation about language

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • None

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Traditional Behaviorist Methods

  • Direct Method

    • Characteristics

      • Students listen to language in large quantities without translation

      • Grammar rules taught w/ inductive methods

      • Use of realia, pictures

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Discourse, Q&A exchanges with the teacher in target language

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Traditional Behaviorist Methods

  • Audiolingual Method (ALM)

    • Characteristics

      • Emphasis on spoken rather than written lang.

      • Follows sequence of listening , speaking, reading, and writing

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Students learn through stimulus response pattern drills, memorization of dialogues

    • Teacher always corrects errors

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Rationalist and Mentalist Methods

  • Cognitive Anti-Method

    • Characteristics

      • Controlled by learner rather than teacher

      • No linguistic, grammatical analysis

      • No error correction

    • Interactive or content-based applicability

      • Students acquire language globally

      • Students actively engaged in problem solving & critical thinking

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Rationalist and Mentalist Methods

  • Cognitive-Code Method

    • Characteristics

      • Moves from the known to the unknown

      • Promotes creative use of the language

      • Understanding of rule system

      • Learning should be meaningful

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Direct association of target language words and phrases with objects and actions

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Functional Approaches

  • Cognitive Academic Language

    Learning Approach (CALLA)

    • Characteristics of Instructional Model:

      • Topics from major content subjects

      • Development of academic language skills

      • Explicit instruction of learning strategies

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Content is primary focus of instruction

    • Academic language skills emerge from content

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Functional Approaches

  • Total Physical Response (TPR)

    • Characteristics

      • Understanding developed through body movement

      • A listening-speaking approach

      • Principles of contiguity, frequency, feedback

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Students listen and react

    • Teacher can vary commands according to theme or topic

“hold hands”

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Functional Approaches

  • Total Physical Response Storytelling (TPRS)

    • Characteristics

      • Uses storytelling to utilize/expand vocab.

      • Students hear, see, act out, retell, revise, rewrite

      • Intensive use of L2; little error correction

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • High level of interaction

    • Focus is on communication of content

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Functional Approaches

  • Natural Approach

    • Characteristics

      • Focuses on communicative competence rather than on grammatical perfection

      • Offers opportunities to acquire rather than learn language

      • Emphasizes acquisition of vocabulary; modification and improvement of grammar

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Due to emphasis on language acquisition

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Humanistic Approaches

  • Community Language Learning

    • Characteristics

      • Teacher has passive role

      • Cooperative learning community

      • Low anxiety/free expression

      • Five learning stages

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Independent stage marked by active engagement w/ real-life language

    • Teacher can direct conversations towards content

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Humanistic Approaches

  • The Silent Way

    • Characteristics

      • Teacher is silent while students speak

      • Use of color charts, Cuisenaire rods

      • Learners responsible for what they learn

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Limited interactive instructional strategies

    • Language not used for real-world purposes

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Humanistic Approaches

  • Suggestopedia

    • Characteristics

      • Low-anxiety, relaxed environment

      • Based on principles of infantilization, pseudopassivity

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Limited interactivity between students and teachers as all materials are pedagogically prepared

    • Not always adaptable to K-12 settings

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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Humanistic Approaches

  • Rassias Method

    • Characteristics

      • Short and intensive

      • Low anxiety atmosphere w/free expression

      • Techniques are theatrical, creative and energized

  • Interactive or content-based applicability

    • Components of method are interactive and can be content-based

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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What is Language?

  • Sociocultural Theories

    • Participants interact through language and other communicative signs to build their sense of being a person, to build knowledge about the world, and their relationships to each other and the world.

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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What is Language?

  • Sociolinguistics

    • Focuses on the variety of language used in human social life.

    • Differences occur across social classes, race, gender, ethnicities, generations and regions.

    • Language can be studied within a specific speech community or as it occurs in cross-cultural communication

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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What is Language?

  • Status of the Language Variation: Status of the Speaker

    • Negative consequences can occur when one uses a stigmatized variety of a language (Ebonics, Chicano English) or a lower status language (Native American)

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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What is Language?

  • Language as Dynamic & Changing vs. Static and Monolithic

    • Bilingual education has been viewed as a transitional method to replace L1

    • Additive vs. subtractive bilingualism

      • Additive – no displacement of L1

      • Subtractive – L1 replaced by L2; L1 is discouraged

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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What is Language?

  • Language is defined not only by its structure, but by its use to symbolize, represent and create knowledge, identify, legitimize and control.

Marjorie Hall Haley PhD - GMU


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