{May 20, 2009}   Thinking aloud again

What happens when old methodologies are used as if they were the newest and the best ways of teaching? People quit. Or even worse, they start thinking that they have to comply to a set of rules that were set by Fred Flinstone & co.

Today I was part of a heated argument where the main point was error correction in little children. I’m not the best friend of the methods and approaches used in the institution, and I pointed out that there is always room for discussion on mistakes. My opinion was the same as that of many: if the mistakes do not cause misunderstanding or lack of communication, they should not be corrected at the very first stages of the learning process.The discussion went on for some half an hour, when someone pointed out the magic results seen by the methodology they use, and then my mind started working.

From what I’ve been taught, read, seen and experienced, children learn what they want when they want. When some unexpected external event takes place, there is a great possibility that children will not make any progress in their learning. And with this I’m not saying that mistakes should be here and there without being noticed. There is a place for everything and a moment for everything, and so, different approaches to teaching come into view.

I’ve seen many different teaching approaches, but going to Sam on Radio’s is too much. Drilling is good, but in the right amount. If your students are being exposed to drilling activities 100% of their classes, they may not be able to work with structures and vocabulary out of the context provided by the drilling activities.

Which is the best teaching approach in your opinion? I’ll go for a mix of CLT and TBL, with a bit of brain friendly activities! And in spite of that archaic knowledge one is exposed to here and there, I’m ready to go on learning and improving my teaching practices.

If you want to enlarge on the topic, you can check these sites:

A well balanced use of error correction

Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism

Principles of L2 Teaching Methods and Approaches

English Language Teaching Methods

PS: I guess these people never heard about the word “Interlanguage”


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