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Oposiciones de Secundaria

2017-18

Temario de

Ingls
Secundaria

TEMA 1:

Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas.


Tendencias actuales de la didctica del
ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. INTRODUCTION

2. HISTORY OF THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH AS A FOREING


LANGUAGE

2.1. Up to the eighteenth century

2.2. The nineteenth century

a) The Grammar-Translation Method


b) The Direct Method

2.3. The twentieth century

a) The Audio-lingual method


b) Chomskys Cognitivism
c) The Silent Way
d) Suggestopedia
e) Community Language Learning
f) Total Physical Response
g) The Natural Approach

2.4. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

3. CONCLUSION

4. BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

1. INTRODUCTION

This unit aims to provide an account of the evolution of the different language
teaching methodologies, from its origins to the current trends in the teaching of
English as a foreign language.

This being said, it is important to highlight the distinction that should be made
between second language and foreign language. If the mother tongue is the
language we acquire when we are children, the one spoken in our family, the second
language is the one immigrants learn when they arrive in a new country. On the
other hand, when students learn a different language from their mother tongue at
school they are learning a foreign language.

As teachers, we must be familiar with this evolution of the different didactic trends
up to the 21st century in order to recognise the pros and cons of each method and
be able to follow the one/s we consider most appropriate for our students,
according to the particular needs of a certain group.

This unit will explore, then, the origins of language teaching, the traditional methods
up to the end of the twentieth century, when the emergence of Cognitivism changed
the focus of these methodologies, and finally the Communicative Approach, which
is closely related to the notion of developing the students communicative
competence in the classroom.

2. HISTORY OF THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH AS A FOREING


LANGUAGE

2.1. Up to the eighteenth century

The origin of language teaching can be traced back until the ancient civilisations.
Richards and Rodgers (1992) state that the function of the earliest educational
systems was to teach religion and promote the traditions of the people. In many
cases among these traditions was the teaching of a foreign language.

During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, the educational systems derived from
the Jewish-Christian religious traditions, as well as from traditions derived from

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

Ancient Greece philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, and so on). Those teachings revolved
around grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, etc. and Latin was the lingua franca of
communication in the world. Children who entered the typical grammar schools
were taught Latin grammar (Howatt 1984) as an end in itself.

With the spread of cultural and scientific ideas and movements throughout Europe
during the 17th century there was a shift towards the teaching of modern languages,
as opposed to Latin, and it was vastly assumed that the same methodologies and
procedures applied to the teaching of Latin should be applied to the teaching of
these modern languages.

2.2. The nineteenth century

a) The Grammar-Translation Method

At the beginning of the 19th century modern languages began to enter the school
curricula in Europe. As previously stated, the idea of using the same methodologies
and procedures applied to the teaching of Latin prevailed among the teachers of
that time, and this set of rules evolved into what is known as the Grammar-
Translation Method, which is the offspring of German scholarship. It was the
dominant foreign language teaching method in Europe from the 1840s to the 1940s
and a limited version of it is still used when understanding literary texts is the
primary focus of a foreign language study. Among its advocates we can mention Karl
Pltz or Johan Seiden-Stcker.

The main characteristics of this method are the following:

The goal is to get students to understand literature in a foreign language. Thus,


the focus is placed on writing and reading. The listening and speaking skills were
totally disregarded.

In order to learn the language, students were provided with grammar rules and
long lists of vocabulary, thus relying on students memorisation of word with no
context. They had to translate passages from L1 into L2 and vice versa using those
rules and vocabulary.

The use of the target language was limited to reading the translated passages
aloud in class and the language of instruction was the native language.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

The teacher is regarded as the authoritative voice, the instructor of the lessons.
Therefore, the students have a passive role, receiving negative feedback when
they make mistakes.

Generally speaking, this method is non-communicative, it does not take into account
the real context in which language is spoken. It does not motivate students to keep
learning, since they have to memorise endless lists of vocabulary and grammar rules
and it sounds very unnatural to native speakers due to the lack of real practice.

b) The Direct Method

In the late 1800s and early 1900s some scholars, such as Paul Passy or Maximilian
Berlitz, started to advocate for a change in language teaching. The Industrial
Revolution and the subsequent economic expansion increased the communication
and commerce relationships among European countries. This brought about the
question of what was the best way to teach languages. The increasing interest in the
naturalistic principles helped to the development of this method.

Berlitz, its main advocate, named this method The Berlitz Method (1878) and it was
widely used in private schools at the time.

Among its main characteristics, we can mention:

The direct transmission of the language, avoiding the use of the students mother
tongue. The main priority is oral communication at all times in the classroom,
along with the reinforcement of listening skills.

The teacher uses the inductive method, making the meaning of new words clear
through realia, pantomime or pictures, for example, and paying special attention
to pronunciation and phonetics.

The use of this method started to descend in the 1920s because, according to
Richards & Rodgers (1992) although it had enjoyed popularity, not everyone had
embraced it enthusiastically because they argued it was difficult to implement in the
classroom setting.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

2.3. The twentieth century

a) The Audio-Lingual Method

This method was designed as an answer to the need for new language teaching
methodologies in the late 1920s. Considering the Direct Method as very slow in the
process of students learning, new ideas based on Structuralism (mastery of element
of the language and rules by which they are governed) and Behaviourism (learning
as a mechanical process of habit formation through repetition of stimulus-answer
sequences) started to arise and converge into this method, which originated during
WWII in the USA, when there was the need of learning foreign languages very quickly.

The National Defence Education Act of 1958 had provided funds for the study and
analysis of modern languages based on Army programmes such as Army Specialised
Training Programme. Its main objective was to achieve proficiency in different
foreign languages through certain drills and techniques.

Since it had a considerably positive effect on language teaching in the USA, this new
approach emerged under the name of Audiolingualism.

Its main characteristics are:

Students are presented with stimuli they must respond to. If their response is
correct, they are rewarded (positive reinforcement); if they response is incorrect,
they are corrected (negative reinforcement) and that response supressed
consequently.

Grammar rules are explained inductively and the new vocabulary and structures
are presented through dialogues, which are memorised by the students.

Among its weaknesses, we can highlight the fact that the learner has a very passive
role, as happened in the Grammar-Translation Method, and this keeps students
motivation very low. Besides, students dont have the chance to engage in real
communication situations, since the method is based on repetition of patterns.

b) Chomskys Cognitivism

Toward the second half of the twentieth century Noam Chomsky posited a
revolutionary theory in his book Syntactic Structures (1957) and it had a great impact
on language teaching methodologies.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

He stated that humans cannot learn a language by habit or repetition, but rather by
the acquisition of a finite set of rules that govern each language and that can
produce infinite combinations, adjusting the speakers speech to new and
unexpected situations to create a suitable response.

The notion of linguistic competence relates to the previous concept and refers to the
linguistic knowledge any native possesses.

The Cognitive Approach derives from Chomskys ideas and proposes:

Creativity: students can create infinite combinations of sentences from that finite
set of rules.

Positive analysis of errors as a way of testing ones progress.

The student must play an active role in the class and in their own learning
process.

c) The Silent Way

Caleb Gattegno is the main advocate of this method (1976), which aims to stimulate
the students to speak using tokens and picture charts while the teacher remains
absolutely silent during the lessons.

Students start by learning sounds, which they associate with colours. There is a
colour-coded phonics chart called fidel, which is projected onto a screen to be used
with a pointer and coloured rods are also used in this method and help students
learn colours, gender and number concepts or prepositions.

Some of the innovations of this method lie in the arrangement of materials inside
the classroom, the fact that the teacher tries to speak as little as possible, thus
encouraging students to produce more language and the level of autonomy and
responsibility the students can achieve, making hypotheses and trying them before
actually discovering how a certain rule works.

d) Suggestopedia

In the 1980s the Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov developed this method with
the aim of boosting the potential of the human mind when it comes to learning a

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

foreign language. In order to do so, the arrangement of the classroom to create an


optimal atmosphere is an essential element to his method, as well as the use of
music during the lessons. According to Lozanov (1978), Suggestopedia prepares
students for success by means of yoga, hypnosis, or experimental science.

At the beginning of the course the students select one new name and identity,
following role-play situations in the classroom. They supposedly feel more
comfortable because they dont have to expose themselves as much as if they were
not playing.

A typical course would be divided into two stages of phases: the receptive phase is
the one when the teacher read the dialogue synchronising the cadence of the
language with the rhythm of the background music. Afterwards, the students can
read the dialogue and the translation along with the teacher and finally they must
close their eyes and listen to the music and the teacher reading the dialogue again.
During the activation phase students are expected to engage in a number of
activities designed to help them apply the previous knowledge to the patterns of
language present in the dialogue.

Since the main goal is communication, errors might be overlooked by the teacher,
thus increasing the level of motivation among the students.

e) Community Language Learning

This method follows a humanistic approach, which was supported by Charles A.


Curran and it focuses of the affective needs of the students. The teacher is seen as
a counsellor and the learners as clients in the language used in the classroom.

He posited that communication takes place in a situation where there is an


interaction between teachers and learners. One of his principles is that the students
must build a positive relationship with the teacher through trust and interpersonal
communication.

The process is divided into five stages and compared to the development of a child
(from total dependence to total independence). It is a student-centre method and
the teacher acts as a facilitator of knowledge, translating messages supplied by
students in their mother tongue, which are then recorded and transcribed in the
target language. Finally, the teacher and the students analyse the transcriptions in
the target language and determine errors and structures to be practiced later on.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

It certainly added some important innovations to the theories of language learning


in terms of counting on the affective part of the human being as an essential
element to the teaching-learning process.

f) Total Physical Response

This method was developed in 1977 by James Asher and it was built around the
combination of speech and action. He follows the notion of natural order first
language acquisition, which explains the way in which a child acquires their mother
tongue. Therefore, there is a stage when the students must only listen and respond
to the teachers instructions (in the imperative form), only acting, until they finally
reach the stage when they achieve oral proficiency in the target language. The
teacher plays an active role in this method.

This method emphasises the role of comprehension in learning a second language.


Asher himself pointed out the importance of associating this method with others in
order to be fully successful.

g) The Natural Approach

This method was developed in 1982 by Tracy Terrell and Stephen Krashen and it was
applied on Krashens work with second language acquisition, counting on the
experience of Terrell as an ESL teacher. The book The Natural Approach (1983)
explains their five hypotheses, which are:

The Acquisition/Learning Hypothesis: the acquisition of a language is achieved


through an unconscious process, by understanding and using the language in
significant communication. Learning, on the other hand, is a conscious process
when the learners are aware of their own knowledge of language forms.

The Monitor Hypothesis: conscious learning monitors the process, testing and
correcting linguistic production.

The Natural Order Hypothesis: grammar structures are acquired in a predictable


order.

The Input Hypothesis: the learner understands information better when that new
piece of information is a bit over their current level of knowledge (which is known
as i+1).

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

The Affective Filter Hypothesis: the learners level of anxiety of self-confidence


affects positively or negatively to their learning process. Thus, the lower the
anxiety, the higher the learners capacity to store knowledge is.

2.4. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

From the late 20th century onwards there was a critical change in pedagogy that led
to what is known Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). Chomskys revolutionary
ideas in the 50s and 60s on generative transformational grammar opened the way
to a new approach that focuses on the functional and communicative potential of
language and the students development of their communicative competence.

The notion of communicative competence comprises four major competences:


linguistic, discourse, sociolinguistic and strategic, according to Canale and Swain
(1980). In general, its advocates agree on the fact that developing communicative
competence is the aim of this approach.

According to Richards (2006) these are the main changes that language teaching has
undergone following the previous claims.

Learner autonomy: through the use of small groups in the classroom or self-
assessment, students get to be more responsible of their own knowledge.

The social nature of learning: interaction is crucial. Cooperative work is an


example of this methodology.

Curricular integration: English is now linked to other subjects in the curriculum.


Working through projects reflects this aspect of CLT perfectly, as well as text-
based learning.

Focus on meaning: content-based teaching reflects this view and seeks to make
the exploration of meaning through content the core of language learning
activities.

Diversity: each learner has their own learning pace, ways, and has different
strengths as well as special needs.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

Thinking skills: the teacher should try to develop the students critical and creative
thinking (higher-order thinking skills). They learn in order to be able to use certain
skills in situations beyond the classroom.

Alternative assessment: different types of assessment can be used to test lower


and higher-order skills, such as portfolios, self-assessment, interviews, and so on.

Teachers as co-learners: the teacher is seen as a facilitator of knowledge, as well


as an explorer, always trying different strategies and alternatives to boost their
students learning process, thus receiving feedback as they are engaged in the
teaching process and learn from it, alongside the students.

Finally, it must be said that there is no single CLT model to be applied in the
classroom. Different language teaching approaches have emerged according to the
different situations and contexts given in each classroom.

There are two methodologies linked to CLT that should be mentioned here: content-
based instruction and task-based instruction.

Content-based instruction is a topic-based methodology where students learn the


language through cross-curricular contents such as science, maths, P.E., etc. The
language being learned is taught along with the contents of that subject.

Task-based instruction is based on specially designed instructional tasks, which can


create the right interactions in the class that will lead to language learning.
According to Willis (1998) there are six types of tasks as the basis for TBI:

Listing tasks: making up a list of things to take with you on vacation.

Sorting and ordering: working in pairs to make up a list of the most important
characteristics of an ideal vacation.

Comparing two items: ads, articles, etc.

Problem-solving: answering a letter/email where someone asks for advice.

Sharing personal experience.

Creative tasks.

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Ingls Secundaria
TEMA 1. Evolucin de la didctica de las lenguas. Tendencias
actuales de la didctica del ingls. El enfoque comunicativo.

3. CONCLUSION

We have dealt with the different methodologies regarding language learning since
its origins in the Middle Ages to our current multicultural society, where learning
foreign languages efficiently is almost mandatory.

As teachers, we must be familiar with the different methodologies in order to take


and apply those aspects of each one of them we find most appropriate for our
students in a certain situational and communicative context.

4. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Richards, J. and Rodgers, T.S. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.


Cambridge, C.U.P: 1986.

Richards, J.C. Communicative Language Teaching Today. Cambridge, C.U.P: 2006.

Willis, J. A Framework for Task-Based Learning. Malaysia, Longman: 1998.

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