Teaching Styles There are many different language


There are many different language teaching methods and teaching styles. Diane Larsen-Freeman states in her book Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, that the term 'language teaching method' is a 'set of links between actions and thoughts in language teaching' (Larsen-Freeman 1). The actions and thoughts of teachers, worldwide, lead to many different teaching styles. Through the TEFL course offered by ITTT, students of teaching learn about the ESA method. Engage, Study, and Activate (ESA) is a great outline of how to run a classroom. Many different styles can be incorporated within this outline, as well.

One method, the Direct Method, has been applied for many years by language teachers. The one very basic rule of the Direct Method is that there is no translation allowed in the classroom (23). Instead of translation, the teacher is to use visual aides and demonstrations. The teacher conveys the task at hand directly, in the target language, and does not switch back to the students' native language (23). If, for example, the subject is bicycling, and a student asks what handlebars are, then the teacher would draw them or encircle them on a picture. The teacher also uses many question and answering sessions with the students, in the target language, for repetitive practice. The Direct Method is believed to help students learn through direct association and meaning of the language they are studying, without the use of translation.

Another teaching style used widely by ESL teachers is the Audio-Lingual Method. It is an oral-based approach that drills students using grammatical sentence patterns (35). It is a very interesting method because it has its roots in linguistics and psychology. In 1945, Charles Fries of Michigan University applied principles from structural linguistics while developing this method. Later in 1957, Skinner's behavioral psychology principles were incorporated (35). For example, the teacher will present a new dialogue while the students listen. The teacher only uses the target language and adds actions if needed. The students know what they are hearing; they will have to memorize, eventually. The teacher uses repetition drilling and the students mimic. Then, they progress to single-slot substitution drills and then multiple-slot substitution drills. In this way, the students are being conditioned to learn the structural patterns of the targeted language (41).

The final approach to teaching to be looked at in this article is the Silent Way. In the 1960s, linguist Noam Chomsky argued that language acquisition could not take place only through habit formation. He states that people learn and understand 'underlying abstract rules' and 'novel utterances,' as well. It was further discovered that students are very 'actively responsible' for their own learning of a targeted language (53). Caleb Gattegno, the creator of the Silent Way, believes that 'to teach means to serve the learning process rather than dominate it.' He studied the way babies and young children learn, and concluded that learning is a process that we 'initiate ourselves by mobilizing our inner resources' (54). A teacher puts this knowledge to work by using the teaching style of the Silent Way in the classroom. The teacher will point to charts with sound- color blocks representing different sounds of the target language. There are other symbols representing vowel and consonant sounds, as well. The teacher points a few times with no sound, then repeats in succession again saying the sounds of the letters he is pointing to. The students begin to repeat and join in the sounding out of the letters and words. Through charts and hand signals, the teacher is welcoming the students' brains to formulate their own learning, meet challenges, and create their own stepping-stones for future teaching (54).

In conclusion, the three teaching styles presented here are highly interesting and research has shown, effectual. Many methods and styles lie out there for a teacher to try and discover. Years of experience, and an open mind, will not only increase the teaching tools; but will also open many doors on the road of learning for teachers and students alike. People are different, just as the styles are different, and it is a colorful cornucopia created on the classroom palette of learning.