The Nature of Approach

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. .,,e< Reading # 6 Richards, J C. and Rodgers, T.S. Aporoaches and Methods in l a n ~ u a teachina. C.U.P., 14 ~e pp. ! 292.

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he-nature of approaches and methods
in langua'ge teaching

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We saw in the ~receding chapter that the changing rationale for foreign language study and the classroom techtiiqties' and procedures used to teach languages have reflected responses to a variety of historical issues and circumstances. Tradition was for matiy years the guiding principie. The Grammar-Transiation Method reflected a time-honored and scholarly view of language and language study. A t times, the practical realities of the classroom determined both goals atid procedures, as with the determination of reading as the goal in Aiiierican schools and colleges in the late 1920s. At other times, theories derived from linguistics, psychology, or a mixture of both were used to develop a both philosophical and practical basis for language teaching, as with the various reformist proposals of the nineteenth century. As the study of teaching methods and procedures in language teaching assunied a more central role within applied linguistics from the 1940s on, various attempts have been made to conceptualize the nature of methods and to explore more systematically the relationship between theory and practice within a method. In this chapter we will clarify the relationship behveen approach and method and present a model for the description, arialysis, and comparison of methods.

Approach and method
When linguists and language specialists sought to improve the quality of language teaching in the late nineteenth century, they often did so by referring to general principles and theories concerning how languages are learned, how knowledge of language 1s represented and organized in memory, or how language itself is structured. The early applied linguists, such as Henry Sweet (1845-1912),0tto Jespersen (1860-19431, and Harold Palmer (1877-1949) (see Chapter 3), elaborated principles and theoretically accountable approaches to the design of language teaching programs, courses, and materials, though many of the specific practical details were left to be worked out by others. They sought a rational answer to questions, such as those regarding principles for the selection and sequencing of vocabulary ntid grammar, though none of

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Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The nature of approaches and methods in language teaching. En Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching (pp. 14-30). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.

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The nature of approaches a n d methods these applied linguists saw in any existin? niethod the ideal ernbodirnent of their ideas. In describing rnethods, the difference between a philosophy of language teaching at the level of theory and principies, and a set of derived roce dures for teaching a language, 1s central. In an attempt to clarify this difference, a scheme was ~ r o p o s e d the Arnerican applied linguist by Edward Anthony in 1963. He identified three levels of conceptualization and organization, which he termed approach, method, and technique. The arrangement is Iiierarchical. The orgariizarional key is that techniques carry out a method which is consistent with an approach.. . .. .An approach is a set of correlative assurnprions dealing with the nature of language teaching and learning. An approach is axiomatic. It describes the...
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