Helping Students to Become More Effective Writers

Language Teaching Approaches and Methods
Dr. Desmond Thomas,
International Academy,
University of Essex
Why do people learn English?
Communication with native speakers
Career prospects
Academic study
Access to information
Access to literature and culture
What do they need to learn? (1)
Pronunciation of individual sounds
Word and sentence stress
Language functions
What do they need to learn? (2)
• Appropriacy in discourse
• Structure of discourse
• Language varieties
And they need to develop: reading,
listening, speaking, writing skills
How languages are learned: theories
• Behaviourism. "Verbal behaviour" by
B.Skinner (1957)
• Cognitivism (Innatism) . "Review of Verbal
Behaviour" (1959) and "Syntactic Structures"
(1957) by N.Chomsky.
• Interactionism (Socio-constructivism) See
works by Piaget and Vygotsky.
Which approaches lead to success?
The structural approach?
The notional-functional approach?
The communicative approach?
The lexical approach?
The task-based approach?
An eclectic approach?
Approaches leading to methods
Grammar-translation (R&R p.3)
The direct method (p.9)
Situational language teaching (p.31)
The audiolingual method (p.44)
Communicative language teaching
(p.64) and post-CLT
• Alternative methods: TPR, CLL, Silent
Way, Suggestopedia, Natural Approach
Characteristics of CLT
• Based on the idea of 4 types of
communicative competence
(grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse,
strategic) and therefore ...
• Focus on function rather than form
• Focus on linguistic appropriacy
• Focus on actual language use
Implications for the CLT classroom
Communicative speaking activities
Communicative writing activities
Use of ‘authentic materials’
Emphasis on S-S interaction and on
learner autonomy
• Attitude to error-making changes
• Role of the teacher changes
Further reading
• Lightbown, P. & Spada,N. 1999, How
Languages are Learned, OUP.
• Littlewood, W. 1981, Communicative
Language Teaching, CUP
• Richards, J. & Rodgers, T. 1986, Approaches
and Methods in Language Teaching, CUP

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