language teaching and learning methodologies

A master list of language teaching (and learning) methodologies.

This page will be updated regularly.

The language instructors at Strommen often have a preferred methodology, or use several methodologies depending on the needs of the student. many of the below methodologies can be interwoven, and experimented with in order to find one that works well with an individual student.

Well established language teaching and learning methodologies (in alphabetical order).


    • Audio-lingual method

      This methodology from the 1970s is more grammar focused and involves the teacher offering an example sentence, which the students repeat. The students must then switch out certain words and maintain the correct grammatical structure. This methodology is no longer used as a foundation for language learning after it was discredited in the 1970s. It is however sometimes still used and can have its uses as an effective tool for clarification. This type of class is very teacher-centeric, which can make it popular because it is comfortable. The input and output is restricted and both parties know what to expect.

    • Automatic Language Growth

      This language learning theory actually asks students to be silent, and not speak when they are first learning the language. The idea is that adults can learn a language naturally without studying, and that in fact some of the study habits we have as adults get in the way of language learning. According to James Marvin Brown, who pioneered this approach,  students who adhered to the long silent period by first listening to Thai for hundreds of hours without trying to speak were able to surpass the level of fluency he had achieved after several decades in Thailand within just a few years, without study or practice, while other students who tried to speak from the beginning found themselves “struggling with broken Thai like all long-time foreigners.”

    • Communicative Approach:

      Otherwise known as CLT, is an approach that focuses on human interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of study.Through interactions with other students and the teacher the students use communication to learn and practice the target language. Students practice outside of the class, and only use texts that are originally written in the target language. Learners talk about personal experiences with other students. The teachers work on topics outside of standard grammar to help the students develop language skills in all types of situations. With CLT, the goal is communicating. There is less focus on perfect grammar.

    • Community Language Learning

      This is an interesting approach that was meant to take the stress out of language learning. The teacher is more like a counselor working with a client. Translation can be used.

    • Comprehension approach

      The comprehension approach is methodologies of language learning that emphasize understanding of language rather than speaking.[1] This is in contrast to the better-known communicative approach, under which learning is thought to emerge through language production, i.e. a focus on speech and writing.

    • Computer-assisted language learning

      Do you use DuoLingo? Computer – Assisted Language Learning (CALL) strongly supports the utilization of information technology (computers) in language learning to improve efficiency and effectiveness of learning that can improve the quality of understanding and mastery of the language studied.

    • Content-based instruction

      Content based instruction is an approach to second language teaching in which teaching is organized around the content or information that students will acquire, rather than around a linguistic or other type of syllabus. During the lesson students are focused on learning about something specific. This could be anything that interests them from a serious subject like math to their favorite movie.

    • Cross Talk Method

    • What is Crosstalk? The concept idea of crosstalk is quite simple: you speak your own native language and your learning partner speaks their language (which you are learning).
    • Direct Method

      Developed in England in the early 1900s, the direct method of language teaching, often called the natural method, refrains from using the learners’ native language and uses only the target language. This methodology abandoned the traditional grammar-translation method.

    • Dogme language teaching

      Dogme language teaching is considered to be both a methodology and a movement. Dogme is a communicative approach to language teaching that encourages teaching without published textbooks and focuses instead on conversational communication among learners and teacher.

    • Focal Skills

      Focal Skills uses the communicative approach, but uses testing and specific modules that must be passed sequentially in order to move on. Assessments in Listening, Reading, and Writing are used to determine whether the threshold level has been attained.

    • Grammar–translation method

      The Grammar-translation method is a traditional technique of foreign-language teaching based on explicit instruction in the grammatical analysis of the target language and translation of sentences from the native language into the target language and vice versa. [Source]

    • Language immersion

      There are a few types of language immersion:

      • Total immersion: In total immersion, the language of instruction is the students’ new language, meaning that students spent 100% of the school day in their new language. However, the problem with this type of language immersion is that students find it difficult to understand more abstract and complex concepts.
      • Partial immersion: In partial immersion programs, class-time is shared between the students’ native language and new language. In most cases, it is an even split of time between the languages. This type of language immersion is preferred by students.
      • Two-way immersion: This type, which is also called bilingual immersion, is a way to integrate both students of the minority language and students of the majority language into the same classroom with the goal of academic excellence and bilingual proficiency for both student groups.
    • Lexical approach

      The lexical approach is a way of analysing and teaching language based on the idea that it is made up of lexical units rather than grammatical structures. The units are words, chunks formed by collocations, and fixed phrases. Basically, you break the sentence down into its parts.

    • Michel Thomas Method

      The method presents the target language by interleaving new with old material, teaching generalization from language principles, contextual diversity, and learning self-correction in an environment that attempts to be stress-free, as the teacher is responsible for learning, not the student. Thomas held that there are three critical components of the teaching environment:

      1. “The first is the analysis of the material to be learned. If the analysis is correct, teaching is easier and the subsequent learning of the pupil ensured.”
      2. “The second is isolating and structuring the most useful information to teach so that there is a logical progression in the skills, knowledge and concepts taught. Easier skills are taught before more difficult ones and useful information is taught before less useful information. In this context useful information is defined in terms of its generalisability and wider applicability.”
      3. “The third component of the learning environment is determining the best way of presenting skills, knowledge and concepts to students so that learning is facilitated.”[17]


    • Natural approach

      See Direct method above. The Natural Approach aims to foster naturalistic language acquisition in a classroom setting, and to this end it emphasizes communication, and places decreased importance on conscious grammar study and explicit correction of student errors.

    • Silent way

      The Silent way method emphasizes learner autonomy and active student participation. Silence is used as a tool to achieve this goal; the teacher uses a mixture of silence and gestures to focus students’ attention, to elicit responses from them, and to encourage them to correct their own errors.

    • Suggestopedia

      Suggestopedia asserts that the physical surroundings and atmosphere of classroom are vital factors in making sure that “students feel comfortable and confident”. It also promotes various techniques, including art and music, in teaching languages.Deciphering: In the deciphering phase, a teacher introduces to their students some written or spoken content. In most materials the foreign-language text is on the left half of the page with a translation on the right half.

      Concert session: The concert session phase consists of active and passive sessions. In the active session, the teacher reads the text at a normal speed, while their students follow. In the passive session, the students relax and listen to the teacher reading the text. Baroque music is played in the background.

      Elaboration: The students express what they have learned through acting, songs, and games.

      A fourth phrase, production, is also sometimes used.

      Production: The students spontaneously speak and interact in the target language without interruption or correction.

    • Task-based language learning

      Task-based language learning focuses on the use of authentic language to complete meaningful tasks in the target language. Such tasks can include shopping for lemons or visiting the doctor. The results of how the task goes are the assessment. This makes TBLT especially popular for developing target language fluency and student confidence. As such, TBLT can be considered a branch of communicative language teaching (CLT).

    • Total physical response

      The model has three vital features: 1) grasping the spoken language must come prior to speaking, 2) comprehension is developed through body movement, and 3) the period of listening period helps a learner to be ready to speak. Such a model does not force the learner to speak.

    • TPR Storytelling 

      Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling lessons use a mixture of reading and storytelling to help students learn a foreign languageThe method works in three steps: in step one the new vocabulary structures to be learned are taught using a combination of translation, gestures, and personalized questions; in step two those structures are used in a spoken class story; and finally, in step three, these same structures are used in a class reading. Throughout these three steps, the teacher will use attentive limiting of vocabulary, consistent easy comprehension questions, frequent comprehension checks, and very short grammar explanations known as “pop-up grammar”

    • Vocabulary development

      This approach has a  focus on vocabulary aquisition. See our Frequency vocabulary list for EnglishItalian, German, Spanish.

    • Whole language

      Whole language is an approach to, or attitude toward learning that sees language as a whole entity, and writing, speaking, reading, and listening should be integrated when learned.


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