questions for teachers and educators around the world

ronaldo_7   Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:26 pm GMT
hello.. i'm a teacher trainee who would to have some opinion about this issue. What are the advantages and disadvantages in using eclectic approach to teaching english? thank you. = )
Guest   Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:41 pm GMT
Any teaching approach is better that forces learners to be in charge of their learning. A language is as big as sea and one can not swim through it with the help of others. He or she has to be a strong swimmer to swim through it (i am being a philosopher here but you get my drift, i hope so)and there is only way to do it is to be independent- getting away from traditional methods. I can bet you, you as a teacher, can't impart the whole language to your learners by presenting some tried and tested drills like role plays and asking quizzes on a particular recording. Such stuff does not cut. Language learning is simple, read what is interest of you, listen what is interest of you, you'll make inroads in that way easily and naturally. Sorry to be blunt, most of the teachers and ESl schools don't know how and what they are teaching in their class rooms. They are more interested on the business side. This is true in every country.
Liz   Mon Jul 02, 2007 9:47 am GMT
An eclectic approach can be advantageous if you combine different approaches well and effectively. It's much better than strictly adhering to one particular approach all the time, even when it's not appropriate.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Jul 02, 2007 10:53 am GMT
I don't think you should adopt too much of eclectic approach when teaching English (or any other Language). A Language is a living thing and embraces all the cultures and lifestyles of all its speakers and this is reflected in its use. If you omit from your curriculum anything you consider to be unworthy or irrelevant then you are not really covering the entire range of the Language. By all means prioritise (ok prioritize if you prefer) but do not bee too selective.
Liz   Mon Jul 02, 2007 11:10 am GMT

We seem not to have the same concept of "eclectic approach". You seem to be implying that it refers to the teaching material instead of the methods.

I don't think you omit anything from the curriculum by utilising disparate teaching methods. Adopting eclectic approach and being too selective are far from being the same (at least in my book).
furrykef   Mon Jul 02, 2007 3:06 pm GMT
I think it depends on whether or not you're teaching a whole class or whether you're teaching an individual. Teaching a whole class in an effective manner is extremely difficult because what's good for some students may be bad for others. (Unfortunately, many teachers don't even bother and just teach in an ineffective manner instead.) When you teach an individual, you can play to their strengths and weaknesses.

Case in point: I had Spanish for three years in high school and I never got a good feel for the language. A few years later (about a year ago) I started studying it again and I took my own approach. I got lucky and it turned out that my new approach was very, very good for me, and my grasp of Spanish grew by leaps and bounds in ways that would probably be impossible in a classroom environment. I decided to learn all the ways that verbs could be conjugated all at once, rather than the more usual method of introducing new conjugations every once in a while. (In my three years in high school, I barely learned any conjugation!) First I mastered the conjugations of regular verbs and then the most common irregular verbs, by writing them over and over until I got it. This simple act only took me a few days, but it massively increased my expressiveness in the language, which also boosted my confidence, and of course confidence goes a long way in language learning. But a lot of students will find drilling themselves on conjugation tables boring, and if they find it too boring, the information won't stick, so this same idea might not apply so well to a whole class of students. A lot of students would rather learn vocabulary instead of grammar, but I'm the opposite. I like to be able to make the most of my limited vocabulary before I go on to learn new words.

When you're teaching a class full of students, the most important thing is to infuse them with a *desire* to learn. The best way to do that is to be a really cool teacher: somebody the students love to know. Students love to listen to cool teachers. Of course, this goes for any kind of class, not just language classes. I didn't have any success in learning Spanish until I found a real desire to learn it. Too bad I didn't find that desire while I was actually taking classes, or I might be fluent by now. ;)

- Kef