Teaching Approaches and Methodology




Lesson Planning Approach

Alternatives to Translation

Non-verbal Communicative Teaching

Teacher as Counsellor

Suggestions for good communication

Different Learner Styles


There are many theories and methodologies ranging from e.g. Total Physical Response to the Silent Approach, which have been used to teach students a second language. However, we shall just focus on one particular methodology.


I. Difficulties

However, first of all, we should outline one of the typical difficulties that are experienced. It is often problematic for JTEs and ALTs alike is streamlining their combined efforts in the classroom (i.e. effectively team-teaching together).


There are a number of reasons for this, namely:


1. Communicative and cultural language barrier: the JTE and ALT have difficulty understanding each other's intended actions and ideas.


2. In some cases, fear, reluctance or apathy towards team-teaching by either ALT and/or JTE.


3. Under- utilization of the ALT in lessons due to the reasons stated above.


4. Lack of awareness of the differing student learner styles that exist in the classroom.


II Suggested Lesson Planning Approach:

A very simple yet effective method of teaching is achieved by using the ARC approach. (as outlined by Jim Scrivener 'Learning Teaching' (1990))-for information on ARC teaching methodology and Jim Scrivener. The lesson is essentially divided into 3 clear stages.


Clarification & Focus stage- e.g. Teacher/ALT demonstrates, explains, illustrates, pre-teaches the necessary new vocabulary, grammar etc. in order for the students to do the first exercise.

Restrictive Exercise stage- Ss do an exercise as stipulated by the T/ALT to practice grammar structure and form, increase their English accuracy and test and demonstrate their ability on a given language point.

Authentic Exercise stage-Ss do an exercise that involves communication with language fluency practice which can be used and directly relates to- real- life and is meaningful. Such activities are normally enjoyable as they are flexible and allow the students to decide what to do/say for themselves.


A typical lesson might run something like this: CRCAC

From “Learning Teaching” by Jim Scrivener, Longman p.134


Authentic Use



Restrictive Use




Clarification & Focus
I show you
I tell you
I help you find out
You find out for yourself




. For a lesson to be 'balanced' you need to have all of the 3 stages above. Without them, both the lesson staging and the learning process are not complete. This also makes it difficult to determine how well your students have learnt and understood what you both have been trying to teach them.


Consider these rhetorical questions.:


-How can a student know what they are supposed to practice if they haven't been shown what to do? How can a student do an exercise if they cannot understand the grammar structures or vocabulary that you want them to practice during the exercise?


All of the above problems should be addressed in each Clarification & Focus Stage of the lesson.


-How can a student openly communicate with another student using newly taught English if they have not had the chance to practice the new structures beforehand?


Such a topic should be addressed in the Restrictive Exercise stage of the lesson.


-Why would a student be interested in practicing English structures and being tested on a grammar point if they didn't know how such phrases, vocabulary etc. could be used effectively in real-life situations in English speaking countries?

i.e. Students need to have a Reason and a Purpose to their learning English in order for it to be interesting.

The above point should be addressed in the Authentic activity stage of the lesson.


Each stage is as essential as the next in the whole lesson staging process. Every step is inter-linked and relies upon the preceding part to facilitate student learning. Thus an authentic activity (i.e. one used to demonstrate either a student's fluency or raise awareness of real-life/authentic language through use) is as important as the Clarification and Focus (illustration/explanation) and Restrictive (practice) stages during the lesson.


Clarify what students need to do by telling/showing/helping them and lastly allow them to find out for themselves.


By 'bringing the language to life'- using real-life scenarios etc.(authentic material/activities)- you are providing the students with an interactive, meaningful context for learning English. Such knowledge has a real, specific purpose and can be used directly thereafter in a real-life situation in countries where English is spoken.



III. Alternatives to Translation:


It is often better to explain the meaning of words by using alternatives to translating into Japanese. The following are suggested methods:


1)    Using Pictures

This works well for nouns and adjectives. You can draw or use a picture source from a book, the internet etc. to demonstrate the word.


2)    Using gestures

Gestures work well for verbs, adjectives, prepositions and a whole range of grammar.


3)    Using Easy English

Explain the meaning of the word using words that the students already know.

Environment = the area around us. The trees, animals, rivers, air etc.

Voluntary = when you do something because you want to.


4)    Using the word in a sentence/in a context

Write up a sentence in English, which uses the word, to convey its meaning effectively. Students are surprisingly good at inferring or deducing meaning from context.


e.g. President = George Bush is the President of the USA.

   Friendly= a friendly person always smiles and says hello.


IVThe Non-verbal communicative Teaching technique:


Non-Verbal Communicative Teaching requires that only English be used in the classroom. Students learn the meanings of new words and phrases through gestures, body language, and context. This technique is widely considered to be the most effective means of introducing new language concepts. 


V. Teacher as Counsellor in the Classroom:


It is important to empathise with your students.To do this requires acceptance and a deeper understanding of our students. This is not always easily achievable.


-Acceptance should be unconditional. Accepting students unconditionally is difficult yet achievable.

-Empathic (deeper) understanding: It is better to accept a student from his or her standpoint. This requires the teacher to be adaptable and versatile in their relationships with students and to modify their stance from student to student.


VI. Useful suggestions for good communication in the classroom:


1)    True communication is a two-way process.

2)    Communication is mutual understanding.

3)    True communication results in mutual influence.

4)    The key to a good relationship is trust.

5)    The purpose of teaching is learning: learning is changed behaviour.

6)    Admittance of our ignorance is the entrance to our own education.

7)    Knowledge is more than information- it is conversion.

8)    Careful listening involves patience, openness and a desire to understand.

9)    Communication lies more in feelings than in words.

10)Be aware of the dangers of comparing.

11)When you borrow strength, you build weakness.


VII. Different Learner Styles:


Of course, all of the above is potentially useless if both the JTE and the ALT have not considered using a range of activities to cater for the various learner styles that exist in the classroom. Each of us has a preferred method of learning and each of us responds and learns better when that particular teaching-learning style is being administered in the classroom:


-Visual-Spatial Learner ( ability to visualize objects and spatial dimensions, and create internal pictures and images)

-Verbal-Linguistic Learner (the ability to use words both orally and written)

-Logical-Mathematical Learner (the capacity for inductive and deductive thinking and reasoning, as well as the use of numbers and the recognition of abstract patterns)

-Musical-Rhythmic Learner (ability to recognize tonal patterns and sounds, as well as sensitivity to rhythms and beats)

-Intrapersonal Learner (capacity to understand yourself and act adaptively, spiritual inner state of being- self-reflection and awareness)

-Interpersonal Learner (quickly grasp and evaluate moods etc. of others and have good capacity for person-to-person communications and relationships)

-Bodily-Kinesthetic Learner (use the body to express ideas and feelings and have the ability to control physical motion)


1. Useful site with brief overview of different learner style preferences and multiple intelligences



2. Also see Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences' and Daniel Goleman: 'Emotional Intelligence'



Student-focused lessons =lessons where students are more active and involved in the lessons and where the teacher takes a more passive role.


Eliciting passive knowledge = where the teacher draws out knowledge from the students by asking questions. Knowledge that the student has acquired over a period of time almost unconsciously and rarely uses.


Article References:

Rivers W.M. The Psychologist and Foreign Language Teaching(Appendix 1964)

Murgatroyd S. Counselling and Helping (Methuen 1985)