CURENT TRENDS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING EFL/ESL November 2014.
CURENT TRENDS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING EFL/ESLCURENT TRENDS IN TEACHING AND LEARNING EFL/ESLNovember 2014 CHANGE IN THE GOAL OF TEACHING ENGLISH Two key changes in the purpose of teaching English: firstly, the goal is to produce fully competent English-knowing bilinguals rather than imitation native speakers. The purpose is not to aspire to become native speakers of English, but to focus on English as a means of communication. Secondly, English is not viewed as an end in itself but as a means to learn content such as science and mathematics. Content and language integrate learning (CLIL) is an approach where the English teacher uses cross-curricular content and so the students learn both the content and English.TREND 2: EARLY START IN TEACHING ENGLISHMany countries including Romania-have started teaching English in earlier grades at school.CHANGE IN THE APPROACH TO TEACHING CULTUREBoth the local or native and international culture dominate in English language classes. There is less focus on teaching the culture of native speakers of English unless there is a specific purpose for doing so.CHANGING VIEW OF AN ENGLISH TEACHER It is increasingly being recognized that the quality or effectiveness of teachers is determined by their linguistic, teaching, and intercultural competence rather than their being a native speaker of English.CHANGE IN TEACHING CONTENT AND TEST DESIGNTendency towards more locally relevant non-global publishing of courses and materials .The use of a variety of accents in listening activities or tests are encouraged in English language classrooms.There have been significant developments in content (becoming less ethnocentric, more intercultural; less stereotyped, more critical), in syllabus (reflecting new descriptive information about language) and in methodology (reflecting ideas of student learning style and self direction). E-LEARNINGBecause of the proliferation of tablets and smart phones, textbooks may disappear in a few years. Furthermore, the access to knowledge in terms of flexibility and mobility has changed drastically.STRATEGIC TEACHING AND LEARNINGTeaching in English language classes focuses on fostering student thinking as well as language content, outcomes, and learning activities. There are significant and complex student-teacher interactions inside and outside the classroom. The gamification of learning is emerging as a way to make language learning more engaging and relevant to the younger generation.TEACHERS AS LIFE LONG LEARNERSIn a knowledge-based society and to remain competitive and employable, teachers are expected to engage in continuous professional development or professional learning activities from the beginning to the end of their careers. As with any other profession, teachers are also expected to assume greater responsibility for their own professional learning, continually developing their knowledge and skills.NETWORKINGE-communication has made possible a huge range of networking possibilities, including special interest groups, support groups, discussion and chat rooms etc. One effect of this has been to give us access to the experiences of many others, and to enable us to locate and to create the 'local' knowledge that relates to our own needs. This in turn has enabled us to become a bit less dependent on knowledge generated by 'experts' in other contexts, and on the authority of 'the published book'. We are all able to participate in the generation of knowledge and knowledge itself becomes a process rather than finished product. LEARNER CENTREDNESS AND LEARNER NEEDSInterest in learner centred approaches includes attention to learner styles, self direction, self evaluation, multiple intelligences, affective factors in learning, etc. The growing interest in learner centredness indicates a new and emerging valuing of diversity and difference.REFLECTIVE PRACTICE AND TEACHER LEARNINGTeachers question and explore their own practice of teaching: it is a sort of systematic curiosity about going beyond the edges of what we know and do, to find out how we could do things differently or better. Action research might guide us to try to become more aware of our own beliefs and how they frame the way we teach and think about teaching.POTFOLIO DEVELOPMENT FOR TEACHERSA portfolio =the teachers' own statement of their teaching beliefs and values, and a profile of themselves in action. It consists of the teachers' own selection of whatever represents the best parts of their practice, including activities, materials designed, feedback from learners and peers, problems and difficulties faced and worked through, observation notes, test results, videos and audio tapes, anecdotes and stories, own reflections, plans. Portfolios encourage teachers to make their own meaning, define their own success, and to view their work consciously and critically from multiple perspectives.ECLECTICISM OR ANTI-METHOD ERATeachers are not blindly depending on a particular method of teaching prescribed but the they often practice the hybrid of more than one method of teaching. Anti-method era. The methodologists have ever been in search of more effective method of teaching foreign languages or second languages. One method is embraced as an improvement over the other. Nevertheless, no method has been a panacea for the solution of ELT problems. A pessimistic view has been developed among the methodologists themselves. Methods do not matter because they do not exist. The era of method is over. ELT, therefore, is now in post method thinking.STUDENTS AS INDEPENDENT LEARNERSStrategopedia :Give a man a fish He eats for a day Teach him to fish He eats for the whole life. A trend in ELT today has been to make the students independent learners. The purpose is to equip learners with appropriate learning strategies to take the responsibility for self-direction. The students are trained in the use of learning strategies in order to improve their learning effectiveness. Learners learn how to learn. FRUSTRATIONFor some of teachers who are aware of these and other trends taking place today, the main trend seems to be frustration that they are not in a situation where they can go with these trends. So, these invitations to change may frustrate those who feel restrained from changing. AN UNDERLYING TRENDThese trends mark a move away from simple, certain, controlled and established ways of doing things towards complex, uncertain, less controlled and emergent ways of doing things. They value participation in the creation of knowledge, allowing a greater voice for diversity and difference. They show a preference for connectivity and relationship, and a developing tolerance, even delight, in working with the fuzzy, the unclear, the unfinished. FUTURE TRENDS?The future is quite uncertain. Pondering on the existing trends and a wave of change, we can make a sensible guess that we are moving from simplicity to complexity, from uniformity to diversity, from prescriptivism to eclecticism, from oneness to pluralism, from customary to embryonic ways of doing things, more towards flexibility, practicality and towards refinement of current practices in order to make a difference.Perhaps we might be using real text and real situations, reaching across the globe for our communicative practice, working with what students produce rather than creating situations to provoke desired language. Perhaps methodology will be more participatory than teacher-led, and grammar will be seen as more of a process than as a thing out there to be learnt Learning would be emergent and facilitated rather than prescribed and taught.WHO KNOWS? CONCLUSIONLanguage learning and teaching is dynamic and fluid. There is nothing fixed about them (Larsen- Freeman, 2004: 186). Unlike the teaching of other subjects which have by and large remained the same, the ELT tradition has been subject to tremendous change .There is no single most excellent way of teaching languages. The successful language teacher will not confine himself/herself to only a single method. ELT practitioners have not remained reliant on fixed prescribed and imposed practices. Instead, they put into practice a great deal of diverse activities to keep themselves up-to-date and enhance their practices.REFLECT ONDo you follow ( some of)the latest trends in ELT? Why? Why not?2. Is your way of teaching modern or obsolete? Give reasons.3. Positive /negative aspects in following the new trends in ELT.4. Solutions/suggestions to improve your teaching , if necessary.5. What does teaching mean to you?