TEFL Methodologies

How To Teach English

TEFL Teaching Methodology looks at the general approaches or methods used to teach English‏‎ as a foreign language. Over time they have changed and borrowed from research, developed from each other and expanded on previous methodologies.

As you will see below, many of these methods overlap and often teachers will not use a single method but blend them and mix them according to their preference and the general approach of the school or country they are working in.

Audio-Lingual Method

This is basically drilling into the students sentence patterns and having them repeat them again and again and again.

See the main article, Audio-Lingual Method in TEFL.

Behaviorist Method

This is the foundation of several methods of teaching English such as the Audio-Lingual method as well as the Direct Method. It’s all about stimuli and response and getting students to learn language as a matter of habit.

See the main article, Behaviorist‏‎ Method in TEFL.

Communicative Method

This focuses very much on communication being the primary goal of language. In other words the students learn how to perform certain functions in English rather than learn about, for example, the grammar. As an example, instead of learning about the past simple‏ a class might instead learn how to tell a story (which will mean using the past simple).

See the main article, Communicative Language Teaching‏‎.

Content & Language Integrated Learning

CLIL is based on the idea that subjects like geography, physics, history, etc. can be taught and learned in a language which is not the student’s mother tongue‏‎. In other words, English becomes the medium of teaching rather than the subject being taught. It’s also known as CBI or Content Based Instruction.

See the main article, Content and Language Integrated Learning‏‎ in TEFL.

Direct Method/Full Immersion

Sometimes known as Full Immersion, this tries to imitate the way in which native speakers learn a language as children. Essentially the class is dominated by English only‏‎ and no other language is used.

See the main article, Direct Method‏ in TEFL and for a specific look, Full Immersion‏‎ in TEFL.

Dogme in TEFL

This is essentially talking with students, discussing topics ad hoc (in English of course) without organized materials. It is light on grammar but strong on communication.

See the main article, Dogme‏‎ in TEFL.

Grammar Translation

This relies a lot on translation from the students mother tongue‏‎ into English and vice versa. These days it is considered very old fashioned and not very productive. One of the main criticisms of this method is that students spend far too long thinking and working in their mother tongue rather than English; also they are more prone to problems such as MT Influence‏‎.

See the main article, Grammar Translation‏‎.

Inductive vs Deductive

Inductive teaching (sometimes known as inquiry or discovery teaching) involves giving the students examples of language and working with them to get them to understand what is being said, the grammar of the language and so on. On the other hand, deductive teaching starts off by giving students rules and then the teacher working with them to produce language.

See the main article, Inductive vs Deductive Methods in TEFL.

Task Based Language Learning

Similar to CLIL in a way, this is all about getting the students to perform specific tasks in English. These should be related to the reason why the students are learning English in the first place, e.g. for business, for holidays, etc. It is a very functional approach to language learning.

See the main article, Task Based Language Learning‏‎ in TEFL.

Total Physical Response

Total Physical Response or TPR is based around the idea that language can be learned through actions and movements; the whole body, in other words, is involved in language learning and not just the head.

See the main article, Total Physical Response‏‎ in TEFL.

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  1. gamal

    Thanks a lot. It’s very useful.

    • Pete West

      Thank you for taking the time to write to us!