ELT Articles


Principles Underlying Language Teaching

The following are principles of language teaching, in light of the guidelines presented for language learning.

Language teaching is more effective when teachers

Ø  encourage the development of a positive self-image by providing success-oriented tasks and positive feedback

Ø  create a supportive environment, one that allows pupils to take risks, to make errors and experiment with the language

Ø  create a language-rich environment, one that provides pupils with ample opportunities to encounter a variety of verbal and visual stimuli and use the language in different contexts and registers

Ø  activate and build on pupils' background knowledge

Ø  take pupils' level of cognitive and linguistic development into account

Ø  are aware of and sensitive to pupils' diversity and cater to it

Ø  encourage pupils’ autonomy

Ø  help pupils become aware of using appropriate learning strategies

Ø  allow pupils to find out what they know or do not know by themselves

Ø  create problem-solving contexts

Ø  provide feedback that is on-going and formative

Ø  provide opportunities for peer interaction

Ø  encourage pupils to use English outside the classroom

Ø  stimulate pupils to broaden their horizons through the use of English

Principles Underlying Language Learning

The following principles underlie language learning.

·        Language learning is facilitated when pupils:

Ø  have developed literacy skills in their first language.

Ø  have maximum exposure to the target language and opportunities for using it

Ø  are motivated and are willing to invest the effort and persistence needed for foreign language learning.

Ø  develop a positive self-image in the target language.

Ø  develop confidence in their ability to use the target language.

Ø build on their prior language and world knowledge

Ø  have opportunity to use the language as a means for gaining information in other areas to learn by doing.

Ø  are conscious of how they learn and how they can constantly develop better ways of learning the language.

Ø  are aware of the learning objectives.

Ø  use learning strategies effectively.

Ø  take responsibility for their own language learning.

Ø  analyze and reflect on their learning.

Ø  interact, share information, exchange ideas and opinions and work together

Ø  have opportunities for problem solving in the target language.

Ø  are encouraged to experiment with their growing control of the language and are not afraid to make errors.

Ø  feel challenged within the range of their possible performance.

Ø  have opportunities to develop independent reading habits.

Ø  have opportunities to use the target language outside the classroom.

Ø are motivated to continue finding out about people, cultures, music and literature related to the target language.

Principles Underlying the Choice of Materials

Teaching materials are any resources (traditional, electronic or digital) used for language learning and teaching purposes, including coursebooks, newspapers, recordings and videos. The following principles underlie the selection of materials.

·        Materials selected:

Ø  are appropriate to pupils' interests, experiences and knowledge

Ø  provide opportunities for meaningful communication

Ø  enrich pupils' general knowledge

Ø  expand pupils' world knowledge by exposing them to relevant and current events

Ø  are compatible with pupils' level of proficiency

Ø  serve as resources for projects

Ø  are presented in a variety of text types and media and are used for different purposes

Ø provide opportunities for contextual language use and practice

Principles Underlying Classroom Assessment

Assessment is viewed as an integral part of the teaching-learning process. It involves collecting evidence of learning over a period of time, using a variety of assessment methods. The goals of assessment are to provide feedback on both the on-going progress and the end-product in achieving the standards. Formative (on-going) and summative (end-product) assessment are carried out using both traditional tests and alternative methods of assessment. Since both traditional and alternative methods of assessment each have their own respective advantages, they are used as complementary components in the assessment process. The focus of assessment is on pupils' ability to apply their skills and knowledge of English to meaningful situations. The following are principles underlying classroom assessment, divided into four categories: formative and summative assessment; alternatives in assessment; assessment requirements and criteria; and the role of pupils.


·       Formative and Summative Assessment

Ø  Assessment focuses on both the on-going process and on the product.

Ø  Assessment allows for different levels of progress in pupils' language development

Ø  Assessing attainment of the standards is carried out by collecting and recording information in a variety of ways.

·         Alternatives in Assessment

Ø  Feedback is based on a collection of evidence from a variety of sources

Ø  Group processes and products are included in classroom assessment.

Ø Assessment should include tasks, such as thematic projects, that promote pupils' involvement and reflection on learning and require pupils to use a variety of learning strategies and resources.

·        Assessment Requirements and Criteria·

Ø  A wide range of opportunities for assessment is necessary.

Ø  Pupils are assessed at various stages of the learning process

Ø  Criteria for assessment represent all areas of language ability

Ø  The type of task and content of task to be assessed should be made clear to pupils

Ø  Criteria for assessment are known to pupils prior to the assess

Ø  Criteria for assessment can be negotiated between pupils and teacher. ·

The Role of the Pupils

Ø  Pupils take an active part in the process of assessment.

Ø  Pupils learn how to set their own goals and assess their progress.

Ø  Pupils are given ample time to think about and revise work to be assessed.

Ø  There are opportunities for peer and self-assessment.

                                                                                                                              M. Louznadji