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The Usefulness of Methods in Language Teaching Essay

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Introduction:
Recently a big debate has been aroused on the issue of teaching methods and their usefulness to the actual practice in classroom. Some writers start to claim that methods are dead and are no longer considered in the teaching/learning process such as Brown(2002) . Whereas some others like Bell (2007) think that method still play a vital role in the teaching learning process. This essay will examine both views with relation to my own experience as a teacher and teacher trainer. First I will give a summary of both points of view then will review the usefulness of methods in relation to my profession and context.
Summary of the two points of views:
Brown (2002) claims the death of methods signaling the post-method era where there is no place for formulas in the second language teaching. Basing his literature in the linguists' findings about the failure of methods to solve the learning/teaching problems. The main attack over the methods is that: Methods are too prescriptive, they are 'laden with interested knowledge' and they can't be empirically proved to work in real classroom. He goes towards the Principles Approach to language teaching with its twelve principles and the three stages of the 'crafted process' of diagnosis, treatment and assessment' to match the different contexts and situations.
However, the fact of the uselessness of methods seem to be just in the theoretical phase of it, and as a debate among the linguists according to Bell (2005). David Bells conducted a survey study to measure the extent to which methods are/are not considered in practice in classrooms as an attempt to investigate Block's claim that "Whereas the notion of method no longer plays a significant role in the thinking of applied...


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...ot depart from the books they were typed in. How can I - as a teacher- develop certain 'unknown' techniques based on unclear principles? Approaches are always ambiguous specially to the less trained or experienced teachers Richards & Rodgers (2001). We as teachers will always need prescribed methods, not to follow rigidly, but to have more choices. It is always a fact that "there is never was and probably never will be a method for all" Nunan(1991 :228). And there are always " aspects of all methods which might usefully be incorporated into one's classroom practice"( Ibid:248).
Conclusion:
To conclude, Though methods do not give one-one solution to the problems of teaching and learning, they always give us a rich source of solutions to adapt, modify and develop in our own contexts. We may not be able to claim their death, neither now, nor in the near future.



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