Throughout the years, there have been various methods and approaches that have been developed for teaching English to non-native speakers, each with its own pros and cons depending on the setting, situation, and resources available to the instructor and student. As a teacher, it will be up to you to choose which one will be most effective for your class. Below we will discuss the brief overviews of a number of these methods.
The Direct Method
In this method, the teaching is done entirely in the target language. The learner is not allowed to use his or her mother tongue. Grammar rules are avoided and there is an emphasis on good pronunciation. The benefit of using this method is to immerse the students in English. This is done by providing demonstrations on how to use the language with the help of realia and visual aids.
Learning is mostly achieved by translation to and from the target language. Grammar rules are to be memorized and long lists of vocabulary learned by heart. There is little or no emphasis placed on developing the oral ability.
The theory behind this method is that learning a language means acquiring habits. There is much practice of dialogues of every situation. The new language is first heard and extensively drilled before being seen in its written form. Accurate pronunciation and control of structure are of paramount importance.
Total Physical Response (TPR)
TPR works by having the learner respond to simple commands such as “Stand up”, “Close your book”, “Go to the window and open it.” The method stresses the importance of aural comprehension. This is based on the theory that the memory is enhanced through association with the physical movement. It is also closely associated with theories of mother language acquisition in very young children, where they respond physically to parental commands. TPR as an approach to teaching a second language is based, first and foremost, on listening and this is linked to physical actions which are designed to reinforce comprehension of particular basic items.
Communicative language teaching (CLT)
The focus of this method is to enable the learner to communicate effectively and appropriately in the various situations she would be likely to find herself in. The content of CLT courses are functions such as inviting, suggesting, complaining or notions such as the expression of time, quantity, location.
The Natural Approach
This approach stresses the similarities between learning the first and second languages. There is no correction of mistakes. Learning takes place by the students being exposed to language that is comprehensible or made comprehensible to them.