Methodology

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Methodology

Unread postby eclare » 08 Sep 2008, 02:42

Hi,

I am currently studying toward a MEdStud (TESOL) on top of my teaching degree (English/drama). As my experience in TESOL/ESL/EFL is limited I am wondering if anyone has any really strong opinions as to preferred methodologies in this area. I have gathered that there is a resurgence in the popularity of the direct method, here in australia in any case but would like to hear from someone out there who is practising this teaching in another culture or environment. I am off to live in India in December and would like to really start as I intend to continue.

Any opinions/suggestions/learned responses would be appreciated.

clare
eclare
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Re: Methodology

Unread postby Peter Easton » 10 Sep 2008, 10:49

Broadly speaking, I believe the Direct Method and the Silent Way are very effective methodologies. It's pretty obvious to me that the standard criticisms of these are not founded in actual experience or the reality of commercial classroom requirements. The so-called 'fallacies' of the Direct Method are not all that relevant in the wider context of what language teachers are usually trying to achieve.
Peter Easton
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Re: Methodology

Unread postby eclare » 11 Sep 2008, 12:53

Thanks Peter for your response. I cannot think of any method that does not attract criticism, but as you say, it is often a theoretical exercise by a non-practicing academic. I am not too familiar with the silent way, i have recently heard that it is the preferred methodology at Holmesglen TAFE in Melbourne and will try to sit in on a class to observe. What do you think is the advantage of the silent way over direct method, they are both rooted in the trusted immersion model which I have always felt has its merits, although misses out on formal grammatical content and can tend to be too situational. Once again, depends on the desired outcome and context.

Cheers, Clare
eclare
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Re: Methodology

Unread postby Peter Easton » 13 Sep 2008, 05:13

The two approaches overlap because they are both constructivist in nature; they allow the student to figure things out for themselves. I always tell new teachers in my organisation that they should try not to tell the students anything, until the students have had the chance to tell you. This includes:

• having students self-correct or peer-correct mistakes
• having students present a review at the end of each class
• having students try spelling a word before you do it for them
• having students reiterate and paraphrase instructions
• teacher using gestures rather than his / her voice
• teacher ‘plays dumb’ and asks questions wherever possible / appropriate

Basically, it gets the students doing all the work while the teacher looks on as an incidental observer rather than a spoon feeder.

The belief that a teacher is a facilitator must be the most clichéd and banal labels in ESL teaching – I hear it said every week when I’m interviewing candidates. With the Direct Method and the Silent Way, teachers are far less facilitators as they are elicitors. We should try to resist the urge to facilitate wherever possible.
Peter Easton
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