Foundations of English Language Teaching and Learning

Foundations of English Language Teaching and Learning
Foundations of English Language Teaching and Learning

This article will provide a brief overview of some of the most important foundations taken into consideration when teaching English language learners.

 

It will then discuss the five major approaches and identify their strengths and weaknesses. In particular it highlights three critical areas: literacy as an academic achievement, classroom practices, and language acquisition. The article concludes by discussing briefly how these foundations could be strengthened in order to ensure that students are acquiring English fluently before they learn the rest of their content knowledge and skills through focused instruction in content areas.

 

In order to understand why learners struggle with learning English as a second language in a foreign country, it is important to know about how this skill is learned at home or in other countries where English is spoken as their first language. It is also essential to understand what it means to learn English as a Second Language, how this differs from learning a first language, as well as how the content and skills needed to succeed in school are acquired. This understanding allows educators to develop lessons that teach English and address the needs of English language learners.

 

Most language teachers incorporate some foundational ideas into their teaching practice (Daniels, 1997). However, whether you are an experienced teacher of ESL or a beginner, it is possible that you have not let your fundamental beliefs guide your teaching decisions or reflect on them thoroughly. This article will provide a brief overview of some foundations taken into consideration when teaching English language learners. It will then discuss the five major approaches and identify their strengths and weaknesses. In particular it highlights three critical areas: literacy as an academic achievement, classroom practices, and language acquisition. The article concludes by discussing briefly how these foundations could be strengthened in order to ensure that students are acquiring English fluently before they learn the rest of their content knowledge and skills through focused instruction in content areas.

 

Before investigating foundations of teaching English to non-native speakers, we should consider a few important philosophical questions. Namely, it is important to ask what ‘learning’ is and how it differs from ‘teaching’ or ‘acquiring’ a new skill (Bolton & Candelaria, 2012). Learning differs from teaching frequently as a result of two factors: one is “inherent in the process of learning itself” and the other is based on “transferable skills and knowledge” (Bolton & Candelaria, 2012, p. 6). These concepts are highly relevant to English language learners of all ages. The idea that the acquisition of knowledge takes place naturally within learners has profound implications for supporting learners to achieve at higher levels when they enter into an academic setting with teachers whose role includes instruction in content areas.

 

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