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Descriptive Linguistics


Submitted By evelynlisondra
Words 12744
Pages 51
Language Teaching Methodology

Theodore S. Rodgers, Professor Emeritus, University of Hawaii


Language teaching came into its own as a profession in the last century. Central to this phenomenon was the emergence of the concept of "methods" of language teaching. The method concept in language teaching—the notion of a systematic set of teaching practices based on a particular theory of language and language learning—is a powerful one, and the quest for better methods was a preoccupation of teachers and applied linguists throughout the 20th century. Howatt's (1984) overview documents the history of changes of practice in language teaching throughout history, bringing the chronology up through the Direct Method in the 20th century. One of the most lasting legacies of the Direct Method has been the notion of "method" itself.

Language Teaching Methodology Defined

Methodology in language teaching has been characterized in a variety of ways. A more or less classical formulation suggests that methodology is that which links theory and practice. Theory statements would include theories of what language is and how language is learned or, more specifically, theories of second language acquisition (SLA). Such theories are linked to various design features of language instruction. These design features might include stated objectives, syllabus specifications, types of activities, roles of teachers, learners, materials, and so forth. Design features in turn are linked to actual teaching and learning practices as observed in the environments where language teaching and learning take place. This whole complex of elements defines language teaching methodology.

Schools of Language Teaching Methodology

Within methodology a distinction is often made between methods and approaches, in which methods are held to be fixed teaching systems with

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