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A brief overview of methods and techniques of teaching foreign languages


Foreign language proficiency is one of the important skills of a future specialist. It is impossible to achieve a high level of proficiency in a foreign language without fundamental language training in higher education. Teachers, in turn, must master a variety of methods and techniques of teaching foreign languages. It is important to know modem methods of teaching a foreign language, special training techniques and techniques in order to choose one or another teaching method in accordance with the level of knowledge, needs and interests of students. After all, Ieacliing methods are not simple «algorithmized units», their rational and motivated use at foreign language lessons requires a creative approach on the part of the teacher, because «pedagogy is a science and art at the same time, therefore the approach to the choice of teaching methods should be based on the creativity of the teacher». The purpose of this article is to review the methods and techniques of teaching foreign languages, the feasibility of their use in the classroom.


The method of teaching any subject involves the use of a variety of learning tools. There are different methods and approaches for studying foreign languages. Some methods exist for thousand years, but there are also relatively new ones. All methods have both advantages and disadvantages. But in general, almost all of these methods have more pluses than minuses. In this article we would like to consider the most basic methods of teaching foreign languages, to make out their advantages and disadvantages [1].

Research methods

The oldest is the grammar - translation method. The essence of this method is that first of all a rule is explained to everyone, and then the students follow the translation exercises. It has no relation to lively speech, to lively communication. Words are studied by the list, in isolation from the context, from life. Words are often checked by translation, it means, that we are translating all the time. Grammar is explained in native language. You are often asked to read a piece of text and translate it. Of course, you can learn a language with the help of this method. But it will be very long and unnatural and you will not learn to communicate. There are students who calmly retell Mark Twain in English, but are completely lost when they need to order a steak in a cafe ... The method is difficult, long and inefficient. There is a focus on reading and writing. Nevertheless, in this method there is such a thing as a comparison of two systems of languages, Russian and English. Therefore, elements of the grammar - translation method are always included in the lesson.

The method of immersion is characterized by the fact that only a foreign language is used in the classroom and, in fact, the process of learning a language is similar to the process that everyone had in childhood. Language is around us and we master it intuitively. The idea is good, but it is not suitable for beginners. When a person does not know anything at all in a foreign language, then everything that he hears seems to be stupid and causes misunderstanding. There are no positive emotions. It is not the best method to start with, but it works very well in advanced stages.

Silent method and method of action. These are two similar methods. The essence of the silent method is that the teacher brings in classroom some subjects, takes one subject and names it. All students repeat in chorus, then one by one. Then all the objects are mixed, and already everyone pulls out the object and names it. The lesson is conducted only in a foreign language. The teacher gives commands and performs them himself. And then these actions are done by students. These two methods work well in groups for beginners.

Group method. Everyone is sitting around and talking. The teacher walks and overhears. He is not even a teacher here, but an advisor, an assistant. Students speak, and the teacher records the words, expressions that each student will need. If a student cannot say anything in a foreign language, then he speaks his native language. Then the necessary expressions and words are written on the blackboard, analyzed, the students then return to the dialogue and work in pairs. In this method, in our opinion, there is life. Elements of this approach, we believe, should be included in the lesson of the English language. But this method is not suitable for beginners.

Another method is the communicative approach, which occupies a leading position in the popularity rating of all existing methods. The communicative method also has its pros and cons. It aims to practice communication. This technique works very well in Europe and the USA. Increased attention is paid to speaking and listening. Now there are two monopolists in the field of teaching English - Oxford and Cambridge. Their mutual competition is a pledge of quality. The Oxford and Cambridge approaches to language are united by the fact that most of the courses are based on a communicative technique that is integrated with some traditional elements of teaching. It involves the maximum immersion of students in the language process, which is achieved by reducing the students' appeal to their native language to a minimum. The main goal of this method is to teach a student to speak fluently in the language first, and then think in it. Mechanical reproducing exercises are absent. Their place is taken by game situations; work with a partner, and tasks for finding errors, comparisons, connecting not only memory, but also logic, the ability to think analytically and figuratively. Often in textbooks are excerpts from the English - English dictionary. The whole complex of techniques allows creating an English - speaking environment. The language is closely intertwined with the cultural characteristics of the country of the language being studied, so that a person can navigate in the multicultural world. Typical for textbooks in this group is the presentation of text in small, numbered paragraphs.

But the communicative approach has its drawbacks. The method itself was created in the UK after the war due to the huge flow of immigrants seeking a better life and economic stability. For fast socialization and integration in the country, these people needed to be taught English in a short time. Communication was created. But after all, it was initially assumed that a person studying by this method lives in the country of the language being studied, and the teacher is also a carrier. The use of exclusively English in the classroom was due to the fact that the teacher simply did not know any other languages than English. The lack of vocabulary was compensated by gestures, drawings, etc. Moreover, it was assumed that the emigrant living in the country, going out into the street, immediately plunged into the language environment, where he involuntarily reinforces the things he learned in class, and as a rule, by the beginning of classes he already has the initial information about the language, its sounds and has a minimum vocabulary, etc.

The communicative approach in Kazakhstan does not have such chances for efficiency as, for example, in Europe or in America. This is due to the lack of a language environment for which the communication was designed. And a teacher who is not a native speaker cannot convey the entire palette of a situational language, at least at a level at which it is available to an English - speaking teacher.

Reading as a method of learning a foreign language. To prepare students for communication with a foreign language, the following successive stages of learning are recommended: listening, understanding, speaking, reading and writing.

Each of these stages takes time. Learning a language begins with memorizing words through listening, then comes the understanding Ofindividual words and phrases, followed by conversational speech, etc. To save time, the first three steps are discarded and the reading is entered. It includes basic knowledge of the grammatical structure of the language. To enhance the effect, the structure of a foreign language is explained in the students' native language. The main focus here is on reading. Statistics, when conducting experiments with students, show that the more foreign students read, the greater their success in understanding and communicating in the foreign language being studied. Reading in class and at home should be carried out visually without the pronunciation of words, so that attention focuses on the general (not literal) understanding of sentences, expressions or parts of the text and their free translation into their native language. This method implies that when a student reads about 1000 pages of a foreign text within two years, he will gain operational knowledge of the language being studied.

Research results

Considering the methods of teaching and learning foreign languages, you need to keep in mind that any of these methods can not be applied at one hundred percent. Teachers, who are familiar with different methods, combine them at their discretion, depending on the level of training of students. An individual approach to learning a foreign language should dictate the choice of one or a combination of different methods [2].


So, the purpose of this brief review was to show different methods, different approaches to learning a foreign language and the expediency of combining them in teaching in order to take the best from each of them and minimize the disadvantages. The effectiveness of teaching, in our opinion, lies in the proper selection of existing methods and their proper use in the classroom.



  1. 1. Щукин A.H. Методы и технологии обучения иностранным языкам. - M.: Икар, 2017 - 240 с.
  2. 2. Гальскова Н.Д., Гез Н.И. Теория обучения иностранным языкам. - M.: Издательский центр «Академия», 2005. - 336 с.

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