Summary of Principles in Language Teaching

Provided by Dr. Bill Flick, Director of ESL at Auburn


Direct Method


Silent Way


1. Goals

Read literature in L2. Develop mind. Learn grammar, vocabulary, and culture.

Communication. Think in L2. Direct association in L2 without translation.

Communication. Automaticity by
learning new habits.

Self-expression of Ss; independence from T.

Everyday Comm. Tap Ss mental powers by desuggesting barriers to learning.

2. Role of the teacher/student

Traditional. T is the authority. Ss learn from the T.

T directs.

T-centered. T provides model of L2 for imitation.

T as facilitator, resource, provides what Ss need.

S must trust and respect T as authority. Ss adopt childlike roles once they feel secure.

3. Teaching/
Learning     Process?

Translation. Deductive study of grammar. Memorize vocabulary.

Associate L2 and meaning directly in real context.  
Use L2 only. Inductive grammar. Syllabus based on topics/ situations.

New grammar and vocabulary through dialogues.
Inductive grammar. Learning is habit formation.

Ss guided to discover the structure of L2. Initial focus on accurate pronunciation.

Relaxing atmosphere, music, activate whole brain + peripheral learning. Reception then activation phase.

4. Nature of student/teacher interaction

T to S.

Both initiate interaction. Some S/S interaction.

S/S in drills.

T active, but mostly silent.
S/S interaction encouraged.

T/S and S/S interaction from beginning.

5. How are     students’ feelings     dealt with?




Positive feelings encouraged, also S/S cooperation.

Focus on confidence and sense of security via suggestions.

6. View of language/      culture?

Literary language over spoken language.

Spoken language over written.

Language as system of patterns/units.
Simple to complex.

Language expresses the spirit of a culture.

Communication as a 2-phase process: language + extra- linguistic factors.

7. What language      skills are   emphasized?

grammar. Reading/writing.

Vocabulary over grammar.   Focus on communication.

Structure important. Listen-speak-read-

Pronunciation & intonation.   Structure.
Oral before written.

Vocabulary. Explicit but minimal grammar. Language use over linguistic form.

8. Role of the native language?

L1 in classroom. Two-way translation.

Not used.

L1 habits interfere
with L2. Avoid L1.

Used to form sounds in L2 and for feedback. Otherwise not used.

L1 used in translation of dialogues. As course proceeds, L1 reduced.

9. How does evaluation occur?

Written translations. Apply grammar rules.

Use of language (interview).

Discrete point testing for accuracy.

Continuous observation. Ss develop their own criteria.

In-class performance.

10. Treatment of errors?

T supplies correct answer.


Avoid errors by overlearning.

Self-correction; peer correction.

No overt correction Modelled correctly.

11. Associated with whom?


Francois Gouin, Charles Berlitz

Charles Fries

Caleb Gattegno

Georgi Lozanov

Community Language Learning

Total Physical Response

Natural Approach

Communicative Language Teaching

1. Goals

Communication. Promote nondefensive learning.

Communication. Learning L1=
learning L2.

Communicative competence. Facilitate acquisition by providing comprehensible input (i+1).

Communication in social context. Appropriacy. Functional competence.

2. Role of the teacher/student?

Counselor/client. As S assumes more responsibility, becomes independent of T.

Director. T provides model of L2 for imitation. Later role reversal.

T as facilitator. Primary responsibility is with S.

Facilitator. Manager of learning activities. Promotes communication among Ss.

3. Teaching/
Learning     Process

Security, aggression, attention, reflection, retention, discrimination. Ss initiate speech in L1, T supplies L2.

Comprehension before production. Modelling by T followed by performance.

Comprehension before production. Developing model approximates L2 (L1, . . . L2). Gradual emergence of speech. Task oriented.

Ss learn to communicate by negotiating meaning in real context.   Activities include information gap, choice, feedback.

4. Nature of     student/teacher interaction?

Changes over time. Importance placed on cooperative relationship between T/S and S/S.

T speaks, Ss respond nonverbally. Later, Ss verbalize.

S-centered.   Both initiate interaction. S/S interaction in pair and small group activities.

T arranges tasks for communication. S/S interaction.

5. How are     students’ feelings dealt with?

S viewed as whole person, no separation of intellect and feelings. T "understands” Ss.

Ss have fun in a nonstressful situation.

Affective factors over cognitive factors. Optimal learner has low affective filter.

Ss are motivated to learn thru usefulness of language functions.

6. View of language/      culture?

Language for developing critical thinking. Culture integrated with language.

Spoken over written.

Language as a tool for communication. Language function over linguistic form.

Language in social context, for communication.

7. What skills are emphasized?

Ss determine syllabus by what they what to say.

Grammar and vocabulary (initially via imperatives). Comprehension precedes production.

Vocabulary over grammar. Function over form. Comprehension–e
speech emergence.

Function over form. Discourse and sociolinguistic competence + all 4 skills.

8. Role of L1?

Used in the beginning, less in later stages.

Not used.

L1 can be used in preproduction (comprehension) activities.

Generally not used.

9. How does     evaluation occur?

Integrative tests. Self-evaluation.

By observation.

Communicative effectiveness. Fluency over accuracy. Task oriented.

Communicative tests. Fluency and accuracy.

10. Treatment of errors?

Nonthreatening. Correction by modelling.

Unobtrusive correction.

No error correction unless errors interfere with communication.

No error correction unless errors interfere with communication.

11. Associated with whom?

Charles Curran

James Asher

Tracy Terrell, Stephen Krashen


Based on
Diane Larsen-Freeman, Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (1986),
Alice Omaggio Hadley, Teaching Language in Context (1993),
H. Douglas Brown, Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (1994).