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Numer: 36595
Dział: Języki obce

Which method of teaching English as a foreign language should be chosen?

There are many methods of teaching English as a foreign language to choose from. Each of teachers may have some difficulties in choosing the best method for his/her learners. However, what is the golden mean while selecting a proper method of teaching English? It is a very complicated matter.
Komorowska (2005) notices that one of the most important features are students’ needs. They determine aims and goals of learning. It is often heard that “this” method is better than “that”. People who say that are totally mistaken. Of course one method can be more proper than the other one but obviously it is not better in each case. Nowadays everyone knows Polish realities and is aware of the fact that many people go abroad to work or just to travel. Which method will be appropriate for emigrants then? A communicative approach will be useful where a teacher puts emphasis on practical items of language excluding the overt grammar rules presentation. For instance, if we have a student whose priority is to be fluent in reading literary texts we should apply him/her the Grammar-Translation Method. His/Her task will not be to communicate or to live in a target language community, his/her aim is to read texts, translate and professionally interpret them. This explains that teachers ought to use a method which puts emphasis on practising skills which are most important for the learner.
Another feature, after students’ need, is the age of learners. The age tells us the students’ possibilities, commitment and willingness to learn. Look at young children who have to be taught suitably for their age. They get bored very quickly, they cannot write of course, and fun is the most important thing in their lives, which means that lessons should be based on these features and teachers cannot forget about the fact that these are young learners who have not developed the abstract thinking. Thus, it is obvious that they cannot be taught by the Grammar-Translation Method. These students want to be in motion all the time, have fun and do not be convinced. It should be natural, so The Direct Method seems to be perfect for them. When it comes to teenagers, they want to have dynamic, funny and often-changed activities. Some of them would like to have all the grammar rules explained, so here a teacher uses the Cognitive Method. There will be also students who would like to be taught non-grammatically – by the Audio-Lingual Method. When it comes to adult learners, I must admit that most of them prefer activities based on the Grammar-Translation Method. Older people are very accustomed to the method because it was used in the past, when they were learning foreign languages. It is really tough to convince them that not only grammar and texts translation exist.
Personal features play a significant role in teaching and learning as well. People who are introverts, who do not prefer co-operating in groups, will choose the Grammar-Translation Method which is safe for them. Learners who are go-getting, outgoing and lively would like to have classes based on the communicative approach or the Direct Method. Mavericks and those who like freedom of saying words will accept the Cognitive Method where error practice is leading. Teachers have to take into consideration these features. They seem to be not significant but the truth is unlike to what people can think. Tutors’ task is to prepare appropriate exercises and activities depending on students’ abilities and personal features.
Not only are students connected with the teaching processes but teachers as well. Their attitude towards teaching is an important criterion. Komorowska (2005) presents the research where teachers do not succeed in teaching while using a method which they are not convinced to. Let us have a look at students now. For example, if a particular person is not interested in work in groups and prefers learning alone, he/she would not succeed because of the lack of commitment and willingness to take an active part in it.
Moreover, teachers should make a proper selection of teaching materials. Today, it is easier than before to find interesting exercises, full of pictures, nice texts or unconventional activities.
That is understandable that there is no one perfect method. Therefore, a teacher plays an important role in selecting what appropriate for a particular group is, and how to present, practice and produce the material. It is needed to choose the best aspects of various methods or approaches and use them while teaching. It will help reject the extreme features of methods and classes will become more attractive and not monotonous.
It is also important to see what emphasis is put on grammar. It is noticeable that each method puts different emphasis on grammar issues. There are students who are more interested in grammar explicit explanations while others put less attention to have it explained and practiced in a formal way. On the other hand, each method has techniques and activities that can be used in many cases. As it was said above, a teacher ought to select different features of methods or techniques and apply them while teaching. Only when, there is a mixture of many features and collection of different methods and techniques, then it is a chance that an educational process will succeed.
Moreover, Scrivener (2005) depicts interesting factors what a student needs to do to learn a “language” – it means here “grammar” and what a teacher should do while presenting grammar issues.

To learn a grammar issue learners need to:
- be aware and pay attention while reading and listening exercises where grammar issues exist
- find all the structures in context, e.g. in texts, stories, dialogues, etc.
- understand the form, meaning and use of the items, so how the sentences are created and in what situations these structures can be used
- have a chance to practise what was taught during a lesson.
- use the structure either orally or in a written way.
- memorize and remember items

A teacher needs to:
- prepare many reading and listening activities which should include realistic texts
- give students texts where they could easily notice language items.
- put emphasis where a particular structure may be used and what its form is. A well-prepared exercise will help with it
- enable students to practise new grammar/language items as naturally as it could be
- prepare writing and speaking activities for students
- make a lot of revision tasks

Komorowska, H. (2005) Metodyka nauczania języków obcych. Warszawa: Fraszka Edukacyjna
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2000) Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Oxford: OUP
Pfeiffer, W. (2001) Nauka języków obcych. Od praktyki do praktyki. Poznań: Wagros
Scrivener, J. (2005) Learning English. Oxford: Macmillan Education

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