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Eclecticapproachtoteachinglanguage

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Eclectic approach to teaching language

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MASUMBILLAH

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Published:Friday,13February,2015,Time:12:00AM,ViewCount:46

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The eclectic approach is the label given to a teacher's use of


techniques and activities from a range of language teaching
approaches and methodologies. The teacher decides what
methodologyorapproachtousedependingontheaimsofthelesson
andthelearnersinthegroup.Eclecticapproachforteachingforeign
language is commendable when circumstances do not allow for the
adoption of a single method. Learners of foreign languages
nowadays are prepared to invest less time than before in learning a
foreign language. However, they expect to become sufficiently
competentinthatlanguageinordertobeabletoperformwellunder
particular circumstances. It is neither a teaching tool for the teacher
nor a learning method for the learners. It is a whole way of doing
things such as listening coordinated speaking with subsidiary
elementslikepronunciationandformofthelanguage.
The eclectic method provides a third option for teachers because it
fuses elements from traditional and cognitive methods to deliver on
the strengths of both. It includes content integration, knowledge construction, prejudice reduction, equity
pedagogy,andempowermentofcompetitiveaptitudes.Toaccommodatethesechanges,teachersneedanewway
of thinking. The concept of bilingual knowledge learning has evolved towards a vision based more on
managementandcreationratherthanonebasedonlearningonly.Still,howtoapplythemtobilinguallearningis
anewconceptandcontinuallyinspiresteacherstomoveforward.Teachersshouldhelpchildrenlearnbythinking
about controlling, and effectively using their own mental process. Cognitive learning helps children process new
information by taking advantage of knowledge and attitudes that children already have. Under the principles of
cognitive theory, knowledge that makes sense and has significance to children is more meaningful than inert
knowledgeandknowledgelearnedbyrote.Knowledgetosolveproblemsandtouseskillsinsituationslikethose
theyarelikelytoencounterinreallifeorinothersensesinwhichteachersexpectlearningtotransferto.
Teachingaforeignlanguagemustbesimpleforbothteacherandlearnerandmustbewithinthecapabilitiesofall
teachers. Also, the teacher must feel that pupils are progressing satisfactorily. It must bring about a balance
between the spoken and written word. It must overcome the conflict between fluency and accuracy. It must
increasetherateandamountoflearningwhichtakesplaceintheclassroom.Testingmustbepartofthemethod,
and not separate entity. It must reflect the linguistic habits the child has already acquired by learning his/ her
mother tongue and their ability to assimilate a new language. Since our aim is to have our learners master the
foreign language, no matter what approach we adopt. We should adopt an approach which makes our teachers
mastertheforeignlanguageinlistening,speaking,readingandwritingwithunderstanding.Suchapproachisnot
only structural or only functional but cojoins both. Each approach has advantages as well as disadvantages. The
use of eclecticism does not mean to mix up different approaches randomly. There must have some philosophical
backgroundsandsomesystematicrelationamongdifferentactivities.Usuallyitisrecommendedtomixstructural
approacheswithcommunicativeuseoflanguage.Thekindofeclecticismwetriedtoimplementhereisamixture
of traditional reading based approach and some conversational practice for students. Language is based on
structures which are used to convey meanings, which perform functions. We see language learning as combined
processofstructuralandcommunicativeactivities.
The eclectic theory of language was advocated during the year 1990's and because important for the educational
theoryoflanguagelearning.Itispopularbecauseithastheimpactofgoodresultswithoutmuchpressureonthe
learner. The advantage of this theory is learners have clear vision what they are learning. Multiple tasks, high
interaction, lively learning, objective correlative, and fast results are the salient features of this method. Some
learners go by their own ways of communicating strategy, they will become more confident in writing but most
oftentheyfailinspeaking.Thepurposeofadvocatingelectivemethodistoconnectlifeexperiencestotheideas
presented in learning of the language. The types of learning activities teachers select are often directly related to
theirexperiencesintherealworld.
Languagemustbeputtogetherandlearntconcurrently.Thespokenlanguageallowsonetolocatetheappropriate
waytogetaparticularobjective.Theimportanceofintroducingculturalproductisascrucialtosuchlearningof
thelanguageascapturingandenhancingknowledgeorexpressingone'sfeelings.Theproblemofspeakingranges
from creating a story which has to anticipate events. Elective way of speaking is a wonderful way of achieving
objective of learning. Teachers of English need to focus on the special teaching techniques. There are many
methodsofteachingEnglishoutofwhichEclecticwayofteachingincludepositiveobjectivesofknownmethods
and principles of Eclectic method. Eclectic method is a popular method these days because students are
heterogeneousandversatilelevelintelligentintheclassroom.However,someteachersareverysensitiveofusing
variousmethodstheyfindparticularmethodascomfortableusingintheclassroomwithouttakingmuchtrouble.
Teacher ought to use all the principles of language teaching including cognition and linguistic objectives. A
technique of teaching through electric ways is a rich combination of multiple activities. The salient features of
approach include the low level grammar and oriental context of culture texts which may not bring out whole
linguistic competence of the students if they are to be trained for global market leaders. If teacher does not pay
attentiontotheneedofrespectivestudent,thewholeteachingpracticeisuseless.
SomepeopleadvocateEclecticmethodgreatlyandsomecriticizeitharshly.Ofcourse,ithasitsownadvantages
anddisadvantages.Theadvantageslayingeneralunderstandingaspects.Firstly,withthistheory,itbecomeseasier
andmorepossibleforthelearnerstounderstandthelanguageofthetextwiththecontextofculture.Secondly,it
blends the practice of listening, speaking, reading and writing into an organic whole. It is obvious that any one
method does not serve the right purpose of teaching English. This is how teaching English by combination of
variousmethodsandapproacheswillhelptheteachertoteachEnglisheffectively.TeachingofEnglishshouldbe

http://www.observerbd.com/2015/02/13/72233.php

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2/18/2016

Eclecticapproachtoteachinglanguage

made easy by brining into realistic situation, the best way of teaching English is by creating situations. The
situationmakesthelanguageeasilycomprehensible.Itconnectsacloserlinkbetweenanexpressionsandusageby
coordinatingmeaning.Itisalsoimportantthatcreatingsituationsshouldbeappropriatetostudents'levelandtheir
context of culture. Teachers of English themselves are not very efficient in many cases. This is why Eclectic
method may be appropriate in many situations. It advocates that number of methods can be used based on the
selectionofparticularmethodwhichdependsonlevelofstudents.However,basicprinciplelearningissimplicity.
Eclecticmethodoflearningisanintegralpartofthetotallearningprocess.
LarsenFreeman(2000)andMellow(2000)bothhaveusedthetermprincipledeclecticismtodescribeadesirable,
coherent, pluralistic approach to language teaching. Eclecticism involves the use of variety of language learning
activities, each of which may have very different characteristics and may be motivated by different underlying
assumption. The use eclecticism is due to the fact that there are strengths and weaknesses of single theory based
methods. Reliance upon a single theory of teaching has been criticized because the use of a limited number of
techniquescanbecomemechanic.Thestudentsthuscannotgetbenefitsoflearning.
Experiencehasshowntimeandagainthatstickingblindlytoasingle'pure'methodorapproachtoELTleadsto
marginalresultsandshortlivedcompetenciesinrestrictedareasoftheforeignlanguagepractice.Eclecticismhasa
verystrongadvantagetorecommenditundervariousconstrainedcircumstances.Itinvolvesaphilosophyoflocal
solutions to local problems. It is a very democratic approach to language allowing for a freedom of choice.
(Tarone & Yule 1989:10). Wills (1990) sees an eclectic approach as a response to the conflict between syllabus
andmethodology,whicharenotdiscreteoptions."Brumfit(1984)recommendsthatalanguagelearningprogram
should provide a balance of activities. Some of which focus on accuracy and some on fluency. Accuracy
presupposes a focus on form and fluencyon exchanging meaning accomplishing tasks and reaching outcomes.
Crombie points out a recent tendency syllabus designers accept eclecticism as offering better opportunities for
betterteaching.Increasingly,syllabusdesignersseemtobeadoptingtheviewthatthebestsyllabuswillinmany
cases, be one which is based on eclecticism: one which emerges from a combination of approaches rather than
fromasingleapproach.(Crombie1985:10)
Therealissueisnotwhichsyllabustoputfirst:itishowtointegrateeightorsosyllabuses(functional,notional,
situational, topic, phonological, lexical, structural, skills) into a sensible teaching program (Swan 1990:89).An
eclecticapproachbasedonthestructural,functionalnotionalandcommunicativeapproachestolanguageteaching
couldkeepabalanceofaccuracyandfluency.
Masum Billah is Programme Manager, BRAC Education Programme and VicePresident, Bangladesh English
LanguageTeachersAssociation.Email:masumbillah65@gmail.com

7Comments

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CornelioCasimiroEduardoMondlaneUniversity
ILIKEDTHISAPPROACH
LikeReplyMar7,20158:32pm

MuhammadAlam
Iendorsethispointofview.Theconceptinthepieceofwritingisveryclearandappealing
aswell
LikeReplyMar13,201510:08pm

QueenvictoriaLawsonPrincipalConfidentialSecretaryatFederalUniversityWukari,
TarabaState(FUWUKARI)
Theapproachisgood
LikeReplySep27,20155:10am

ShohelRanaCoordinatorTeacherDevelopment(CTD)atEnglishinAction
Reallygreatpathprovidingwritingforteachingandlearninginappropriate,situationaland
cognitiveinthebangladeshicontext.
LikeReplyJan16,20169:33pm

SoukainaIslamIFCS
thanksthisiswonderfull
LikeReplyFeb2,20163:35am

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