Teaching Styles The purpose of language teaching seems


The purpose of language teaching seems to be communication. Language is the medium not the message. An important part of language learning is the development of competency. (Kehe, Kehe 2004:119) There have been many schools of thought on which teaching and learning styles are best for language learning. This paper will discuss a few well known teaching styles.

Formal authority is a teacher-centered approach where the instructor feels responsible for providing and controlling the flow of content which the student is to receive and assimilate. (Penn State 2003- 2005) Normally, the teacher teaches from the front of the room and the students follow the lesson. There is not much interaction between students. This style maybe considered to be one of the most traditional styles that we are familiar with.

Facilitator is a student centered approach where the teacher facilitates and focuses on activities. (Penn State 2003-2005) Students are in charge of the activities and the teacher acts more as a coach or mediator between the students. Student interaction and communication is the main focus. Fluency and accuracy can be addressed after the activity has finished or in another class.

Delegator is a student-centered approach whereby the teacher delegates and places much control and responsibility for learning on individuals or groups of students. (Penn State 2003-2005) Creative projects or group work works well in this setting. Students will be solely responsible for the communication between each other and to complete the assigned project or task. The teacher should allow students to correct each other and learn from their mistakes. Demonstrator or personal model is a teacher-centered approach where the instructor demonstrates and models what is expected (skills and processes) and then acts as a guide to assist the students in applying the knowledge. (Penn State 2003-2005) Role-play and acting out real life situations gives students a great way to learn new language and apply it. It also helps students that are afraid to speak or are shy, relax and become someone else. This style encourages student participation and utilizes various learning styles. Students´ learning style is important to both the instructors and the students because: Instructors need to understand their students´ learning styles in order to adapt their teaching methods accordingly. (Penn State 2003-2005)

Teaching styles can also depend on 'teacher' variables and 'student' variables. 'Teacher' variables may include, but not be limited to aptitude, attitude, motivation, age, previous experience, and training. 'Student' variables may include, but not be limited to aptitude for language, attitude, motivation, age, and the nature of previous experiences of learning. (Brumfit, 1984:19) A teacher should consider as many of these variables as possible when choosing what to teach. We cannot base our teaching on exact identification of the product of teaching, but we can concentrate on enabling learners to use the language work for purposes which they will develop themselves. (Brumfit 1984:112). Students will gain more knowledge, retain more information, and perform far better when teaching styles match learning styles (Lage, Platt, & Treglia, 2000). However, it is recognized that it is difficult to match with every learning style and therefore, a range of teaching styles is recommended (Moallem, 2001).



References

Brumfit, Christopher. Communicative Methodology in Language Teaching. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984.

Kehe, D. Kehe P.D. Conversation Strategies: Pair and Group Activities for Developing Communicative Competence. New York: Pro Lingua Associates, 2004.

Lage, M. J.,Platt, G. J. & Treglia, M. (2000). Inverting the classroom: A gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. Journal of Economic Education.

Moallem, M. (2001). Moallem, M. (2001). The implications of the research literature on learning styles for the design and development of a Web-based course.Presented at the AECT 2001 Annual Conference.

Penn State, 2003-2005 (updated 22 September 2004) 'Learning Styles', Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology URL: http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/research/learning_styles.shtml

Penn State, 2003-2005 (updated 22 September 2004) 'Teaching Styles', Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology URL: http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/research/teaching_styles.shtml