The principles of teaching English

The principles of teaching English

Principle is defined as a guide to action, in our case to teaching. Methodol­ogy of teaching English is based on the fundamental principles of Didactics. They are the following: scientific approach in teaching, accessibility, durability, conscious approach, activity, visualization and individual approach to instruc­tion, systematic practice. Except for the basic didactic principles Methodology of teaching English uses specific principles that are applied in teaching a foreign language. Let’s consider them.

Since the aim of teaching English at school is to teach the pupils how to use the target language for communicative needs’, one of the main methodologi­cal principles is the principle of communicative approach. It means that the pupils should be involved in oral and written communication throughout the whole course of learning English.

There are four types of language activities to be developed in pupils: listen­ing, speaking, reading, and writing. Each language activity has its own set of actions that are characteristic of this activity, thus special exercises are needed which should be adequate to each activity. So in teaching a particular language activity the teacher faces specific problems that should be solved since the de­velopment of each activity requires certain techniques and exercises. This is the application of the principle of a differential approach in teaching English, i.e. each language activity requires special attention on the part of the teacher.

The principle of an inteerated approach is another methodological princi­ple. Pupils do not assimilate sounds, grammar units, lexical items as discrete components of the language, but they acquire them in sentence-patterns, pattern-dialogues related to certain situations. Pupils should use their skills in the four language activities as interdependent parts of their language experience.

The principle of durability implies the ability of a pupil to keep in his memory linguistic and language material he learns of ready access, i.e. the pupil can use units of the language whenever he needs them for oral or written com­munication. The durability is ensured: – by vivid presentation of material; – by constant revision and drills; – by the use of the material on the part of the learner for communicative needs; – by systematic control; – by constant supervision of pupil’s habits and skills on the part of the teacher.

The principle of conscious approach to language learning means that the language material is acquired consciously, the pupil understands what he learns. Such approach usually contrasts with “mechanical” learning throughout repeti­tive drill. So the pupils should acquire the rules of the language in order to be able to follow them in the act of Communication.

The principle of activity implies that the pupils should be active partici­pants in the learning process. Activity arises under certain conditions. According to the Sets Theory (теория установки) the learner should feel the need to learn the language, thus the main sources of activity are motivation, desire and interest in the language.

The principle of visualization is very important in teaching English since the process of knowledge gaining begins with sense perception. The use of visu­alization makes the lessons emotionally coloured, gets the pupils interested and awakens their thought. It creates natural or almost natural situations for the use of the language as a means of communication.

The principle of individualization is getting very important at present. There always are some individuals in the class who learn more slowly than oth­ers, or faster than others. The teacher has to assess the progress of each individ­ual in the class and find the way how to manage the classroom activity so that the slowest learners are not depressed being left behind and the fastest learners are not frustrated by being held back. This principle is achieved: by using the indi­vidual cards; by specific selection of exercises for each group of pupils in the class; by the use of additional material, etc.