School of TEFL

Teaching English Methodologies

Main ELT Teaching Methodolgies

Language Teaching Methodologies   Download This As A PDF


Grammar Translation > view video

This approach was historically used in teaching Greek and Latin. The approach was generalized for teaching other languages.

Classes are taught in the students' mother tongue (L1), with little active use of the target language. Vocabulary is taught in the form of isolated word lists. Elaborate explanations of grammar are always provided. Grammar instruction provides the rules for putting words together; instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words. Reading of difficult texts is begun early in the course of study. Little attention is paid to the content 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, and vice versa. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.

The Direct Method > view video

The direct method, sometimes also called natural method, is a method that refrains from using the learners' native language and just uses the target language. It was established in Germany and France around 1900. The direct method operates on the idea that second language learning must be an imitation of first language learning, as this is the natural way humans learn any language - a child never relies on another language to learn its first language, and thus the mother tongue is not necessary to learn a foreign language. This method places great stress on correct pronunciation and the target language from outset. It advocates teaching of oral skills at the expense of every traditional aim of language teaching.

According to this method, printed language and text must be kept away from second language learner for as long as possible, just as a first language learner does not use printed word until he has good grasp of speech.

Learning of writing and spelling should be delayed until after the printed word has been introduced, and grammar and translation should also be avoided because this would involve the application of the learner's first language. All above items must be avoided because they hinder the acquisition of a good oral proficiency.


Audio-Lingual Method > view video


This method is based on the principles of behavior psychology. It adapted many of the principles and procedures of the Direct Method, in part as a reaction to the lack of speaking skills.

The audio-lingual method has students listen to or view recordings of language models acting in situations. Students practice with a variety of drills, and the instructor emphasizes the use of the target language at all times. The audio-lingual method was used by the United States Army for "crash" instruction in foreign languages during World War II. Due to weaknesses in performance, audio-lingual methods are rarely the primary method of instruction today.

New material is presented in the form of a dialogue. Based on the principle that language learning is habit formation, the method fosters dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases and over-learning. Structures are sequenced and taught one at a time.

Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills. Little or no grammatical explanations are provided; grammar is taught inductively. Skills are sequenced: Listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed in order.Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context. Teaching points are determined by contrastive analysis between L1 and L2.

There is abundant use of language laboratories, tapes and visual aids. There is an extended pre-reading period at the beginning of the course. Great importance is given to precise native-like pronunciation. Use of the mother tongue by the teacher is permitted, but discouraged among and by the students. Successful responses are reinforced; great care is taken to prevent learner errors. There is a tendency to focus on manipulation of the target language and to disregard content and meaning.


The Silent Way  > view video


This method created by Caleb Gattegno (1972) begins by using a set of colored rods and verbal commands in order to achieve the following:

To avoid the use of the vernacular. To create simple linguistic situations that remain under the complete control of the teacher To pass on to the learners the responsibility for the utterances of the descriptions of the objects shown or the actions performed. To let the teacher concentrate on what the students say and how they are saying it, drawing their attention to the differences in pronunciation and the flow of words. To generate a serious game-like situation in which the rules are implicitly agreed upon by giving meaning to the gestures of the teacher and his mime. To permit almost from the start a switch from the lone voice of the teacher using the foreign language to a number of voices using it. This introduces components of pitch, timbre and intensity that will constantly reduce the impact of one voice and hence reduce imitation and encourage personal production of one's own brand of the sounds.

To provide the support of perception and action to the intellectual guess of what the noises mean, thus bring in the arsenal of the usual criteria of experience already developed and automatic in one's use of the mother tongue. To provide a duration of spontaneous speech upon which the teacher and the students can work to obtain a similarity of melody to the one heard, thus providing melodic integrative schemata from the start.

Teaching is subordinate to learning and the teacher always starts from the point of where the students are, not what he/she wants to teach.


The complete set of materials utilized as the language learning progresses include:

A set of colored wooden rods A set of wall charts containing words of a "functional" vocabulary and some additional ones; a pointer for use with the charts in Visual Dictation A color coded phonic chart(s) Tapes or discs, as required; films Drawings and pictures, and a set of accompanying worksheets Transparencies, three texts, a Book of Stories, worksheets.



Suggestopedia  > view video

Suggestopedia is one of the teaching methods developed by Bulgarian psychotherapist Georgi Lozanov based on the study of Suggestology. The method has been used in different fields of studies but mostly in the field of foreign language learning. Lozanov claimed that by using this method one can teach languages approximately three to five times as quickly as conventional methods.

The theory applied positive suggestion in teaching when it was developed in the 1970s. However, as improved, it has focused more on “desuggestive learning” and now is often called “desuggestopedia.” [1] Suggestopedia is the latest of the six major foreign-language teaching methods known to language teaching experts (the oldest being the grammar translation method.) The name of Suggestopedia is from the words “suggestion” and “pedagogy.”

Recent developments

Suggestopedia is one of the few methodologies working with relaxation. Mainly based on the discovery of the mirror neurons Ludger Schiffler (2003) has developed the interhemispheric foreign language learning, using gestures and the mental visualization of the gestures during the relaxation period.

Total Physical Response  > view video

TPR stands for Total Physical Response and was created by Dr. James J Asher.

It is based upon the way that children learn their mother tongue. Parents have 'language-body conversations' with their children, the parent instructs and the child physically responds to this. The parent says, "Look at mummy" or "Give me the ball" and the child does so. These conversations continue for many months before the child actually starts to speak itself. Even though it can't speak during this time, the child is taking in all of the language; the sounds and the patterns. Eventually when it has decoded enough, the child reproduces the language quite spontaneously. TPR attempts to mirror this effect in the language classroom.

In the classroom the teacher plays the role of parent. She starts by saying a word ('jump') or a phrase ('look at the board') and demonstrating an action. The teacher then says the command and the students all do the action. After repeating a few times it is possible to extend this by asking the students to repeat the word as they do the action. When they feel confident with the word or phrase you can then ask the students to direct each other or the whole class.

It is more effective if the students are standing in a circle around the teacher and you can even encourage them to walk around as they do the action.

Communicative language teaching (CLT) > view video

Communicative language teaching (CLT) is an approach to the teaching of languages that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of learning a language. Despite a number of criticisms, it continues to be popular, particularly in Europe, where constructivist views on language learning and education in general dominate academic discourse.

In recent years, Task-based language learning (TBLL), also known as task-based language teaching (TBLT) or task-based instruction (TBI), has grown steadily in popularity. TBLL is a further refinement of the CLT approach, emphasizing the successful completion of tasks as both the organizing feature and the basis for assessment of language instruction.

The Natural Approach > view video


The Natural Approach and the Communicative Approach share a common theoretical and philosophical base.  Developed by Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrel and focuses on language input and communication.

The Natural Approach to L2 teaching is based on the following hypotheses:

1. The acquisition-learning distinction hypothesis

Adults can "get" a second language much as they learn their first language, through informal, implicit, subconscious learning.  The conscious, explicit, formal linguistic knowledge of a language is a different, and often  non-essential process.

2. The natural order of acquisition hypothesis

L2 learners acquire forms in a predictable order.  This order very closely parallels the acquisition of grammatical and syntactic structures in the first language.

3. The monitor hypothesis

Fluency in L2 comes from the acquisition process.  Learning produces a "monitoring" or editor of performance. The application of the monitor function requires time, focus on form and knowledge of the rule.

4. The input hypothesis

Language is acquired through comprehensible input.  If an L2 learner is at a certain stage in language acquisition and he/she understands something that includes a structure at the next stage, this helps him/her to acquire that structure.  Thus, the i+1 concept, where i= the stage of acquisition.

5. The affective hypothesis

People with certain personalities and certain motivations perform better in L2 acquisition.  Learners with high self-esteem and high levels of self-confidence acquire L2 faster. Also, certain low-anxiety pleasant situations are more conducive to L2 acquisition.

6. The filter hypothesis

There exists an affective filter or "mental block" that can prevent input from "getting in."  Pedagogically, the more that is done to lower the filter, the more acquisition can take place.  A low filter is achieved through low-anxiety, relaxation, non-defensiveness.

7. The aptitude hypothesis

There is such a thing as a language learning aptitude.  This aptitude can be measured and is highly correlated with general learning aptitude.  However, aptitude relates more to learning while attitude relates more to acquisition.

8.  The first language hypothesis

The L2 learner will naturally substitute competence in L1 for competence in L2.  Learners should not be forced to use the L1 to generate L2 performance.  A silent period and insertion of L1 into L2 utterances should be expected and tolerated.

9. The textuality hypothesis

The event-structures of experience are textual in nature and will be easier to produce, understand, and recall to the extent that discourse or text is motivated and structured episodically.  Consequently, L2 teaching materials are more successful when they incorporate principles of good story writing along with sound linguistic analysis.

10.  The expectancy hypothesis

Discourse has a type of "cognitive momentum."  The activation of correct expectancies will enhance the processing of textual structures.  Consequently, L2 learners must be guided to develop the sort of native-speaker "intuitions" that make discourse predictable.

Source: Krashen, S.D. , & Terrell, T.D. (1983). The Natural Approach. Hayward, CA: The Alemany Press.

Community Language Learning  >view video

The foreign language learner's tasks, according to CLL are (1) to apprehend the sound system of the language (2) assign fundamental meanings to individual lexical units and (3) construct a basic grammar.

In these three steps, the CLL resembles the Natural Approach to language teaching in which a learner is not expected to speak until he has achieved some basic level of comprehension.

There are 5 stages of development in this method.

1. “Birth” stage: feeling of security and belonging are established.

2. As the learners' ability improve, they achieve a measure of independence from the


3. Learners can speak independently.

4. The learners are secure enough to take criticism and being corrected.

5. The child becomes an adult and becomes the know-er.

Dogme  ELT  < view video

A reaction to the heavy emphasis on methods of the 90s, Dogme methodolgy focuses on emergent language and is materials light.  Developed by Scott Thornbury and Luke Meddings, it was a movement against the grammar and textbook driven teaching present in today’s classroom.

Teachers focus on the social uses of language and guide discussion in the classroom and use the students’ own language to scaffold and help students learn.  Lesson planning is de-emphasized and preparation is focused on the needs of the class and not an outside objective laid over the class.

Post Methodology  < view video

Kumaravadivelu (1994) identified what he called the 'postmethod condition', a result of 'the widespread dissatisfaction with the conventional concept of method'. Rather than subscribe to a single set of procedures, postmethod teachers adapt their approach in accordance with local, contextual factors, while at the same time being guided by a number of 'macrostrategies'. Two such macrostrategies are 'Maximise learning opportunities' and 'Promote learner autonomy'.

Nevertheless, and in spite of the claims of the postmethodists, the notion of method does not seem to have gone away completely. In fact, it seems to be doggedly persistent, even if the term itself is often replaced by its synonyms.


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