The Developmental Variations In Language Teaching English Language Essay

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As language teachers, most of us are aware of the fact that a huge amount of source- money, time and workforce- has been invested for the improvement of education by governmental or non-governmental organizations in the world as education is one of the most major aspects that determines the future of all nations. In terms of English language education, we can divide the countries as English mother tounge and non English mother tounge countries where such investments has taken place more than the previous one. At present, we should accept thatEnglish is one of the most important languages to open the doors in both academic and business world, especially in developing countries as Turkey. Moreover, the concernment of it has been increasing gradually that is forcing educational institutions to do the best in this field. Today, English is used in many countries for various purposes- as a first language by its native speakers, as a second language by non native residents in English mother tounge countries and as a foreign language by non native speakers in non English mother tounge countries-. Furthermore, more or less, 700 million people speak English all around the world. There has been an increase of 40 percent in the last twenty years and a total one- seventh of the worlds' population. In addition to 300 miilion native speakers, there are millions who speak English as a second or foreign language. The official and non- official use of language in non- English mother tounge countries is very great and, is stil growing rapidly particularly in the areas of technology, business and mass media, therefore, it becomes a major medium of international communication all over the world. Whatever the reason for the earlier spread of English, we should now consider it is a positive development in the 20th Century world context. ' consequently, a large industry dealing with the teaching of English with very different objectives in both English speaking countries and the others'. Now that English is an indispensable language in the world, there are two major questions that have dominated in the field of ELT are- what and how to teach?

Surveys of methods often give the impression that as the answers to these questions changed, the development of English language teaching followed a neat, historical progression, with Grammar Translation Method leading to Direct Methodwhich was in turn replaced by the oral approach and situational language teaching in Great Britain and by the Audio- Lingual Method in the United States, with Communicative Langauge Teaching Finally are to be found such fringe methodologies as Gattegnos' Silent Way, Lazanovs' Suggestopedia, Krashens and Terrells' Natural Approach, and Ashers' Total Physical Response. Broden the scope about the development of language teaching methods around the world, let's handle the Grammar Translation Method first- or Classical Method which was first used for the aim of teaching how to read, write and translate in the target language, so the main focus of the method is the study of grammar and read and write literary texts. Later, as GTM was found inadequate for teaching living languages, Direct Method was urged which emphasized the primacy of speech and met the oral communication needs among cultures, so it has been used in language classrooms to teach learners how to communicate in the target language. Later, The Audio- Lingual Method was appeared that based on behavioursim and habit formation was significant. In addition, using stimulus- response- reinforcement model, it attemped through a continuous process of such positive reinforcement to create good habits in language learners. Although, they could learn language through the ALM, transfering habits that learners mastered in the classroom to communicative environment outside was not good. At this point, linguist Noam Chomsky argued that language acquisition could not take place through habit formation as people create and comprehend utterances they have never heard before, so he proposed that interlocutors have knowledge of underlying abstract rules, which allow them to enderstand and create novel utterances. Therefore, language acquisition must be a procedure whereby people use their own thinking process to discover the rules of the language they are acquiring. This emphasis on human cognition led to the establishment of the cognictive approach- Silent Way-. However, according to Lazanov, language learners create psychological barriers while learning, so, they will be unable to perform that will be limited in their ability to learn, because they are afraid of making mistakes when they try to produce something in target language. In order to provide a better learning environment for the learners Lazanov suggested that Desuggestopedia, is the application of the study of suggestion to pedegogy, has been developed to help students eliminate the feeling that they can not be successful or the nagative association they may have toward studying and, thus, to help them overcome the barriers to learning which based on effective human approach as in the Currens' Theory- Community Language Learning- which aims whole person learning; means that as teachers, we should take care of both students' intellect and feelings as a whole. That is, as teachers we should understand students' feelings that helps them to overcome their negative feelings and turn them into positive energy during their learning process. Later, another method has been put into practice, called Total Physical Response, Based on comprehention approach. According to Asher, most of the other Methods have focused on learners' speaking ability from the first day, however, for him language learning should start firt understanding then proceed to production in the target language. After a while, some educators have figured out that the Methods that have been used are to learn to communicate in the target language; in classroom, students achieved the goal of the lesson, but they could not transfer and use it appropriately when they found themselves in real communication setting. This is why, students need to learn not only linguistic structures but also use the language properly in different social settings. Later, to make learning process more student centred, Content and task Based Approaches has been urged where the main focus is the production in related Content or task in language classrooms. By these Approaches, rather than ' learning to use English' students ' use English as a veichle to acquire it'.

Those methods that have been introduced are being practices today at different level of educational institutions - primary, secondary, college, high schools, universities and private language schools - not only in Turkey but also in other countries where English is used as a foreign language. Today, the importance of those Methods are changing in some parts of the world, depending on the needs of learners. Some of these methods have had more effect during certain times than the others. For instance, in 1950s- 60s, although other language teaching Methods were practiced, the Audio- Lingual Method was explicitly predominant in the USA; learning is Based on the principles of behaviourism and habit formation is essential which is actualised by means of repetations and other mechanical drills. Meanwhile, a variation on Audio- Lingualism has been urged by British educators as PPP- Presentation, Practice, Production- the main difference between these two, in PPP model, language has taught in social and authentic contexts, that is vitally important for language teaching and learning as context is the body of information. In a sense, the meaning of the words in context can be more comprehensible and clear for learners. According to Larsen and Freeman, between 1970s- 1980s, was a period in which a number of innovative Methods emerged,such as Gattegnos' Silent Way(1972), Community Language Learning(1976), Total Physical Response (1977), Suggestopedia (1978) and the Natural Approach (1983). Innovation in ELT field in the late 1980s and 1990s has been stimulated by a special concern for the language learning is best served when students are interacting- completing task or learning Content or resolving real life issues where their attention is not directed toward the language itself, except when a focus on linguistic form is necessary (Larsen-Freeman, p.179).

The place of English in Turkey, today, it is one of the subjects taught in most of the government-sponsored schools. French and German are the alternative languages, but the majority of the students elect English, and in most cases they have no other alternative. Students are exposed to several hours of basic English instruction a week throughout the six years of secondary education; nevertheless at the end of this period the general level of proficiency is not very high. Attendance in foreign language classes is required during the university years as well, but once more, the success of these classes in general does not go beyond the acquisition of sorne professional vocabulary.

Besides these traditional government schools, there exist a number of private and government-sponsored secondary schools in which the medium of instruction for most subjects is English. Most of these schools are located in the bigger cities such as Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir, but in recent years such schools have been founded in other cities as well. Some of them have primary sections where instruction in English begins as early as the second year. Enrolment in these schools is subject to entrance exams, as attendance there is highly sought after. Among these schools, privately sponsored ones are in general open only to the children of wealthy families as the tuition fees are quite high. Such schools have a seven-year programme as opposed to the six-year programme of traditional secondary schools, and the first year is devoted to intensive language teaching.

Higher education is also available in two English-medium state universities. One of them is Bogazici University in Istanbul, which is actually a continuation of the former Robert College, an American enterprise up to 1973. The Middle East Technical University in Ankara was founded in the 1950s with English as the medium of instruction as it was originally planned to be a higher education centre of the Middle East. These universities have very high prestige and their graduates are readily hired both by the government and private enterprise, primarily due to their knowledge of English. Admittance to these universities is subject to the central university entrance examination organised from Ankara. Both universities offer preparatory English classes in the first year; during which intensive English courses are provided for those students who do not have the required proficiency to follow the classes in English. English has also become the medium of instruction in some newly-established private universities in Ankara and Istanbul such as Bilkent University, Baskent University (Ankara) and Koc and Bilgi Universities (Istanbul). Under these educational circumstances, therefore, it becomes clear that there is a range of proficiency in the knowledge of English in Turkey ranging from people fluent in both spoken and written discourse to those who know only a few items of vocabulary. More and people are aware of the fact that at least some knowledge of English is necessary to get ahead in life.  It brings high status to the individual socially, as well as extending job opportunitie. To give an example, graduates of English language and literature departments can easily obtain jobs in tourism, or the exchange departments of banks by virtue of their knowledge of English, while a number of economists who speak only Turkish are unemployed. Consequently, many parents, especially those from the middle class, do their best to have their children educated in one of the English-medium schools. They strongly feel that knowledge of English will be beneficial for their children. A big area of business has developed which concentrates on preparing students for the entrance examinations of these schools. Intelligence and aptitude tests are prepared to adrnit only the so-called brightest children. Admittance to an English-medium school, therefore, provides additional prestige to the individual.

In terms of language teaching methods that have been used in our classrooms are variable, depending on the factors. For example, I would like to mention my personal experiences from my childhood when I was in secondary school, although my foreign language was French at that time I can easily remember the teaching and learning process which was complately based on Grammar Translation Method, where the teacher was an authority and had to teach at least 50 or 60 students at once. In fact, the stuation in terms of cramped classrooms is stil the same as most of our classrooms which are full of at least 40-50 students so, it is impossible to be effective for the teachers during their teaching process, in such classrooms, they can not use, especially, communicative methods effectively as the negative factors are limited the process, even, while they are under pressure to complete the curriculum in time, with the fear of inspectors who are watching them, mostly they tend to use the simpliest method ( the best known) for them- Grammar Translation Method- that they can rule the class and the process easily- On the other hand, if they have few number of students in a private school or a language school, that time as teachers we have opportinuty to use different kinds of methots to teach the language to the learners as effective as possible. However, at this point, its significant that the teacher should be aware of the methods and their features- about when, where and how they can use them- as it needs a good educational backround if not they also tend to use the simpliest one and they failed to teach the target language effectively. Moreover, sometimes, although we may have necessary knowledge in the field we don't want to apply them, as using new things a kind of threatening process for our psychology.