The traditional form of teaching can be defined by a classroom setup where a teacher stands in front of a class of 20 to 40 students and delivers a lecture. However, over the years, things have changed drastically, and so have teaching and learning methods. The method of teaching English to young students is no longer considered the same now.
This is due to the following reasons:
- The present generation is exposed to the world through social media.
- Their knowledge base is augmented by the information readily available on the internet.
- The students these days are quite impatient, and to grab their attention, teaching methods need to be aligned to their dynamic thinking process.
Language teaching, like any other topic, has undergone tremendous changes. It has now shifted to role-plays, fun and interactive games, small visuals, etc., from the old and traditional ways, such as lectures by teachers with only a blackboard to support and spell repetition and grammar worksheets.
Language teaching has a lot of challenges. A lot of the time, it is a foreign language that the learner can't pick up from their surroundings, and one needs to teach patiently and systematically so that the students become more confident and can read, write and speak the language effortlessly.
The English language is considered the language of the world, and English teachers have altered their teaching methods over the years to suit the present scenario.
With the development of new research and changes in the approach to education, English teaching methods have now become more intuitive and focus on a holistic view of language learning, i.e. going above and beyond the mere cognitive functions of the learner. This emphasizes more value on the external factors compared to the traditional methods, like allowing the student to learn language by applying language outside the classroom or conducting lessons based on the student's strengths and interests.
Methods of Teaching English
1. Task-based Approach
Traditional teaching methods and curriculum planning revolved around the topics considered helpful for students. This meant that students were to learn the grammar and vocabulary that teachers thought students needed to know.
However, The task-based approach is represented by a significant paradigm shift since the focus is now more on skills and competencies. This task-based approach isolates individual skills and competencies in order to teach what students need to know.
Sample tasks could be such as ordering something in a restaurant or cafe, booking a room in a hotel, or perhaps more advanced tasks like critiquing a movie or voicing out their opinions about politics. In this approach, the language taught usually revolves around the task itself.
2. Project-based Approach
The project-based approach addresses students' actual needs by adapting language to the skills and competencies they truly need personally or professionally.
The actual application of this approach begins by determining the global objective that the individual or group of students have.
For example, if you are teaching a business English class, you should understand why students are in the class, to begin with, and plan the course accordingly.
In class, it is also essential to address the difficulties students encounter and cover all the vocabulary and grammar needed to cover each section. The teachers should also give students various projects to assess their learning. The project can be anything, such as an oral presentation or a class play. Therefore, the project must consist of individual tasks that lead students to the goals in the assessment.
You can also add a mixture of entertaining videos, natural dialogues, and relevant course content to this project-based approach.
The suggestopedia method is based on the memorization technique of the language. For example, students are asked to read texts and dialogue aloud, usually to the rhythm of some type of music. The music is usually some type of classical music or some other genre apt to target structure. This is also referred to as "concert reading". The use of concert reading fosters an accessible, comfortable learning environment, especially for shy and apprehensive students.
The Suggestopedia method is perfectly suitable for all levels and allows for lots of creativity and fun. Even advanced students can get a kick out of "singing" through their dialogues. For example, if the lesson's focus is on prepositions, you can sing out the following sentence: "Tom went ___ the market ___ the street." Then, students will shout back, "to" and "across" to fill in the blanks.
This type of reading makes for tremendous controlled practice following a grammar presentation.
3. Lexical Syllabus
This lexical syllabus approach is based upon the core language that students need to learn pertaining to their needs. Professional students need very specific vocabulary related to their field.
This approach entirely focuses on content, tasks, and homework assignments. Therefore, these assessments should be based on what students achieved. Examples of these assessments include constructing an email for a job application or arranging a time for an interview.
This approach requires teachers to actually understand what students need right away and then focus on that while expanding students' horizons as their communication skills develop.
4. Using Smartphones
Smartphones have become an essential part of modern life. Smartphones act as a useful tool for students, such as a dictionary, translator, and grammar reference apps. Much like computers or laptops, students should understand that their phones aren't just for play or personal use but to be used as a learning tool.
Other uses for smartphones in the classroom could be instant polls, surveys, or even recording sessions. Students can also record themselves in action, which is perfect for helping them receive feedback on specific tasks and activities.