behavioural theory

A look at teaching methodology over the last 30 years

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(8160 Words)

Second language teaching can be employed in many ways and is born from many theories hypothesizing how we acquire language through the process of first or second language acquisition. Central to these theories of language acquisition was the emergence of the concept of “methods” of language teaching. It is this language teaching coupled with its methodology I will discuss in this paper notwithstanding that teaching methods can not be applied if we do not understand how students gather all the information for their language acquisition. Methodology can be fundamentally sound but if we (the teachers) do not understand the minds of our students that much clearer, all the hard teaching work will be fruitless. Methodology in teaching in all it forms originates from questions the teacher asks himself about the students and learning environment such as: Who are the learners? What exactly do they do? For what purpose are the students learning the language? In what setting are the students learning?,  With what kinds of language?, In what patterns of social interaction? , and also what are the particular outcomes in terms of quantity/quality of language use, attitudes, and motivation? This is not forgetting the teacher who must consider the design features of his lesson that might include such points as: stated objectives, syllabus specifications, and type of activities, roles of teachers, learners, and materials. These are the sort of questions and ideas that are congruent with referring to a methodology for teaching and will help with answering the question for this paper; what is teaching methodology? I will also generally try to focus on teaching methodology over the last thirty years.

To begin with, teaching methodology in all its forms helps the students in their acquisition of language. Our knowledge of the student and his learning is fundamental with respect to a proficient teaching method. We only need to look at one of the most influential researchers in the language field of developmental psychology. [1]Jean Piaget (1896-1980) explains this point a bit more. He helped posit many theories (which are discussed later in this paper). Piaget became interested in how children think. He recognised that the children’s answers were qualitatively different from the older children’s. This, of course, he recognised, did not mean the younger ones were less smart. The children answered the questions differently because they thought differently. Influential research like Piaget’s is the kind of recognition of students’ learning and capabilities that a teaching methodology has to adapt to. It is a focus like this, that I hope to put across in this paper. Teaching methodology works in many ways and has to deal with a myriad of learning styles and ages.

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