Alternative Ways or Models for Teaching Language

Topics: Teaching English as a foreign language, Language education, Communicative language teaching Pages: 5 (922 words) Published: September 27, 2012
LG 228 Wk 11 Alternative ways or models for teaching language


Harmer (2007) discusses ways of teaching in the context of ‘approaches’, methods’, ‘procedures’ and ‘techniques,’ with ‘method’ describing ‘typical procedures and techniques’ used as the practical realisation of an approach. He traces how theory has been realised in practice over the years.

From GT to DM to ALM: Inductive vs deductive learning. Focus on accuracy vs focus on fluency

B. PPP (Presentation, Practice, Production), a British variation of ALM, including a situational focus

THE CLASSIC MODEL: PPP (Harmer, 1991 ed.) formerly used widely for teacher training purposes.

5 components:[lead-in; elicitation; explanation];[accurate reproduction], and [immediate creativity]. 3 stages
Stage 1: Presentation
Lead in
Introducing context and meaning of new item (seeing/hearing).

Can students produce new item? If so, go to last stages. Elicitation: motivating + important check

Teacher shows how new language is formed (using board, or listening , or L1?, hands, gestures).

Stage 2: Practice:
Accurate reproduction
Students repeat models. Emphasis on accuracy (grammar, pronunciation). a) choral repetition (whole class). Indicate clearly when to start; indicate stress; b) individual repetition (T nominates; S responds; T gives feedback).

Students must use one of the models, based on the cue (instruct; cue; nominate)(as in ALM). During accurate reproduction T corrects mistakes (or asks Ss to correct) immediately. After whole class practice, Ss practice in pairs (one provides cue, other responds).

Stage 3: Production:
Immediate creativity
Opportunity to use language more freely to express what they want (but using the grammar/vocab. given)

In the 1990s PPP was increasingly criticised for being too teacher-centred, and for assuming that learning was done ‘linearly’. It was also considered too prescriptive. More flexible and more ‘communicative’ alternatives were proposed.


Two basic approaches to Language Teaching:

1) Select specific language input, teach in ‘logical line’ (i.e. PPP) ; or, 2) Provide any (e.g. authentic), comprehensible input/activity, then follow up any language points seen to cause problems. Note that this is similar to Task-based teaching (see below).

ESA (Harmer’s 1998 ‘alternative’)
E for Engage (motivate)
S for Study (explicit focus on language)
A for Activate (productive use of any language items available to the learner)

These elements can be re-arranged to create alternative lesson procedures for students at different levels: e.g EASA (‘boomerang’). Note that the order E-S-A is similar to PPP (and Scrivener’s CRA)

New labels enable new ways of describing a variety of teaching procedures. Three basic elements used in each type of lesson:
‘A’: Authentic use (free use to communicate own personal meanings) ‘R’: Restricted use (practice activities)
‘C’: Clarification and focus (study of, and explanation of specific language points) These elements provide opportunities for presentation/explanation/practice and communicative use, but in different orders/amounts to suit different lesson aims, and students at different levels.

Type 1 (CRRA) (like PPP)
a) T presents information about language item
b) Ss work on oral practice of examples
c) Ss do written exercises to practise
d) Ss given opportunity to use items in communicative activities

Type 2 (RCR) (like Test-Teach-Test)
a) T selects activity requiring use of specific language. Ss do activity, T notes problems. b) After above, T uses problems noted to focus and clarify (and teach any language avoided). c) T follows with similar activity to (a)

Type 3 (ACA) (communicative approach)
a) T selects...
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