Primary Methods of Teaching English

Throughout the history of teaching languages a number of different teaching approaches and methodologies have been tried and tested with some being more popular and effective than others.

Language teaching, like any other topic, has undergone a lot of changes. It has shifted to role-plays, interactive games, short visuals, etc. from the traditional ways, such as lectures by facilitators with only a blackboard to support and spell repetition and grammar worksheets, have shifted to role-plays.

Let´s take a look of 5 Primary Methods of Teching English:

Natural or Direct Method

This method of teaching English, also known as the direct method, seems to be a response to the Grammar translation technique. In this process, the teacher who is aiming to teach English as a second language, asks the learner to think in English so that they can communicate in English.

The technique aims at building a connection between thought and expression. It required the teacher to strictly prohibit the student from using his/her native language. The learner is supposed to perfectly express himself/herself in English, with proper accent and usage of grammatical skills.

The Grammar Translation Method

Just like its name suggests, this method of teaching English is grammar heavy and relies a lot on translation. This is the traditional or ‘classical’ way of learning a language and it’s still commonly used when learning some languages. Some countries prefer this style of teaching and the main idea behind this method is that the students learn all grammar rules, so they’re able to translate a number of sentences. This is particularly common for those students who wish to study literature at a deeper level.

Cooperative Language Learning (CLL) Method

Cooperative Language Learning or CLL forms part of a wider teaching approach known as Collaborative or Community Learning (CL). CLL seeks to make the maximum use of cooperative activities involving pairs and small groups of learners in the classroom. As such, it is a student-centered, rather than a teacher-centered, approach to language teaching.

Total Physical Response

Total Physical Response, otherwise known as TPR is an approach that follows the idea of ‘learning by doing’. Beginners will learn English through a series of repetitive actions such as “Stand up”, “Open your book”, “Close the door”, and “Walk to the window and open it.” With TPR, the most important skill is aural comprehension and everything else will follow naturally later.

Audio Lingual –

The Teaching process is based on Skinner’s theory of behaviorism and his representative experiment of operant conditioning. According to which a positive reinforcement helps in learning new things.

In this approach, the student is supposed to learn the language’s structure and everyday usage rather than emphasize understanding the words. Patterns of commonplace discussions are taught, and the learners repeat it, followed by testing. This process is carried on until the student answers correctly.


English teaching is an exciting task, as we are multi-lingual and have a diverse socio-economic background. Teaching English as a second language is a challenge as we can see that for non-native speakers, various methods need to be devised.

Remember that learning English can be so fulfilling. It can open up your life to new experiences, opportunities and friends all over the world. Nothing stands between you and fluency!

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