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Glossary of Language Teaching Methods

Audiolingual teaching combined a learning theory based on ideas of habit-formation, and practice with a view of language as patterns and structures; it chiefly made students repeat sentences recorded on tape and practice structures in repetitive drills. Originating in the USA in the 1940s, its peak of popularity was probably the 1960s, though it was not much used in British-influenced EFL. (Note it is not usually abbreviated to ALM since these initials belong to a particular trade‑marked method).

Audiovisual teaching presented visual images to show the meaning of spoken dialogues and believed in treating language as a whole rather than divided up into different aspects. Teaching relied on film-strips and taped dialogues for repetition. It emerged chiefly in France in the 1960s and 1970s and was highly influential in modern language teaching in England

Bilingual Method (Dodson (1967): this little-known method used in Wales depended on both languages being present in the classroom, in that meaning was conveyed by translation, not word by word but by gist.

Communicative teaching based language teaching on the functions that the second language had for the student and on the meanings they wanted to express, leading to teaching exercises that made the students communicate with each other in various ways. From the mid-1970s onwards this became the most influential way of teaching around the globe, not just for English.

Community Language Learning (CLL) is a teaching method in which students create conversations in the second lang­uage from the outset, using the teacher as a translation resource.

The Direct Method was the name for any method that relies on the second language throughout. I.e. it can be applied to almost all the language teaching methods recommended since the 1880s.

Grammar-translation method: this traditional academic style of teaching which placed heavy emphasis on grammar explanation, translation exercises and the use of literary texts.

Language maintenance and bilingual language teaching: teaching to maintain or extend the minority local language within its own group.

New Concurrent Method (Jacobson and Faltis, 1990): this required teachers to switch languages between L1 and L2 at carefully planned key points chosen by topic, function, etc.

Reciprocal language teaching is a teaching method in which pairs of students alternately teach each other their languages  ‘language of the day’, to teach each other their own language.

Submersion teaching: sink-or-swim form of teaching in which minority language children are put in majority language classes.

Suggestopedia (Lozanov, 1978) is a teaching method aimed at avoiding the students' block about language learning through means such as listening to music.

Task-based learning is an approach that sees learning as arising from particular tasks the students do in the classroom and has been increasingly seen as a logical development from communicative language teaching.