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Language Teaching and learning

What is a language?

Language is systematic. Language is a set of arbitrary symbols. Those symbols are primary vocal, but may also be visual. The symbols have conventionalized meanings to which they refer.

Language is used for communication.

Language operates in a speech community or culture. Language is essentially human, although possibly not limited to humans. Language is acquired by all people in much the same way; language and language learning both have universal


Teaching and Learning

Learning is acquisition or getting. Learning is retention of information or skill.

Retention implies storage systems, memory, cognitive

organization. Learning involves active, conscious focus on acting upon events outside or inside the organism. Learning is relatively permanent but subject to forgetting.

Learning involves some form of practice, perhaps reinforced

practice. Learning is a change in behaviour.

Teaching cannot be defined apart from learning. Teaching is guiding and facilitating learning, enabling the learner to learn, setting the conditions for


Your understanding of how the learner learns will determine your philosophy of education, your teaching style, your approach, methods, and classroom techniques.

Language Teaching and Learning

Complex process

New language
New culture

L1 vs L2
Total commitment Emotional and intellectual involvement

Who does the learning and teaching? Who are those learners and teachers? Where do they come from? What are their native languages? Level of education? Socioeconomic levels? Who are their parents? What are their intellectual capacities? What sorts of personalities do they have? What is the teacher's native language? Experience? Training? Knowledge of the L2 and its culture? Personality characteristics? How do the teacher and the learner interact with each other?

What is it that the learner must learn and the teacher teach? What is language? What is communication? What does it mean when we say someone knows how to "use" a language? What are the differences between L1 and L2?
The language teacher needs to understand the system and functioning of the L2 and the differences between the learner's L1 and L2. One thing is to speak and understand the language, and yet another to understand and explain the system of that language (structure, morphemes, phonemes, words)

How does learning take place? How can a person ensure success in language learning? What cognitive processes are involved in second language learning? What kind of strategies does the learner use? What is the optimal interrelationship of cognitive, affective and physical domains for successful language learning?

When does second language learning take place? A common observation tells that children are better at acquiring an L2 than adults, is it true? If so, why does age of learning make a difference?

Is the learner in a FL or in a L2 context? is the learner exposed to the language 5 hours a week in a classroom? 7 days a week in an immersion program? Or 24 hours completely immersed in the L2 culture?

Language Teaching methods through the years

Grammar translation
Direct Method S.XIX Audiolingual The designer method The silent way Suggestopedia Community lang. learning Total physical response (TPR) The natural approach Communicative Language teaching





Type of activities