The Eclectic Teacher

Here’s an idea from a training input session entitled ‘The eclectic teacher’. I first used it on a Diploma course and other trainers have commented how useful it (or the idea behind it) has been. Note that the participants will need to have some familiarity with different approaches and methods in ELT history

1 Give the handout below to each person and ask them to tick any of activities 1–30 that they have used in their lessons.

2 They compare and explain their answers in groups.

3 Ask them to match an approach or method to each of the 30 activities. So, for example, 1-5 are things you might ask students to do in a lesson influenced by Grammar-translation.

The full answer key is: 1–5 Grammar translation, 6–10 Audiolingualism, 11–13 Silent way, 14–17 Desuggestopeadia, 18–21 Community language learning, 22–25 Total physical response, 26–28 Communicative approach, 29 Lexical approach, 30 Task based learning. Note that I used Dianne Larsen-Freeman’s excellent Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching as the main reference.


Have you ever asked a student to … Tick
1 translate a literary passage?
2 answer reading comprehension questions?
3 fill in gaps in a passage?
4 memorise a list of new words?
5 write a composition using a set of new words?
6 take turns reading a text aloud?
7 self correct?
8 complete a dictation with you reading the text?
9 memorise a dialogue?
10 listen and repeat?
11 correct another student?
12 take a Cuisenaire rod and imagine it’s something else?
13 give feedback on the day’s lesson?
14 work while you play music in the background?
15 notice pictures on the walls?
16 close their eyes and think about what they’ve just read?
17 move their chair to a more relaxing part of the class?
18 record their conversation?
19 tell you in their own language what they want to say in English?
20 transcribe a recording of what they’ve said?
21 reflect on how they feel about language learning?
22 follow commands, such as stand up, sit down, turn around?
23 give commands such as stand up, sit down, turn around?
24 learn without translation or explanation?
25 only speak in English when they feel ready to?
26 put scrambled sentences in order to make a cohesive text?
27 work with a picture strip story?
28 play a board game?
29 highlight all the verb-noun collocations in a text?
30 listen to a recording of someone completing a task and compare it with the student’s own version?


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