Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom

Teaching and Learning in the Language Classroom

A guide to current ideas about the theory and practice of English language teaching

Format: Paperback

Information, ideas and insights into English language teaching to develop your own teaching.

  • ISBN: 978-0-19-442172-0

This book gives teachers a thorough grounding in current ideas about the theory and practice of English language teaching. However much experience you have as a teacher, it can help you to develop professionally. It does this by encouraging you to think about the many possibilities and challenges that ELT methodology presents, and then apply these insights to your own teaching.

Key features

  • Draws on research in a variety of fields and applies it to teaching practice
  • Features topics of current concern, including defining the roles of teachers and learners, critical pedagogy, interactive learning, and using innovative teaching materials.
  • Includes criteria for and advice on evaluating classroom activities, especially those provided in the published materials that most teachers typically use.
  • Can be used as a reference text or handbook by individual teachers or as a sourcebook or class text by teacher trainers.
  • Written mainly for practising teachers but can be used by new and inexperienced teachers to give a thorough introductory overview of ELT.


Tricia Hedge believes that although there are huge differences in the way that English is taught around the world, teachers typically find themselves having to face similar issues. What do I set up as aims for my next lesson with this class and what kind of activities will help to achieve those aims? How do I deal with this reading text in class? What amount of out-of-class work can I reasonably expect my learners to do? How do I make best use of a textbook I am not entirely happy with? These are just a few examples of the many questions typically asked by teachers which she addresses in this book.

Although insights from research can help, there are no 'right answers' provided. Instead, the aim is to give you a solid foundation of knowledge which you can use to evaluate and apply your own ideas about teaching and learning.

The book is organized into four parts.

- Part One ('A framework for teaching and learning') looks at insights from research into learners, learning, and language in use and discusses how these have influenced methodology and materials in ELT. Specific topics covered include: the use of communicative tasks in the classroom, the concept of learner strategies and how you can train your students to develop them, the growth of interactive methodology and its consequences in changing the roles of teacher and learner.

- Part Two ('Teaching the language system') focuses on vocabulary and grammar, and Part Three ('Developing the language skills') on the traditional four language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. There is also discussion of how these different areas fit together.

- Part Four ('Planning and assessing learning') moves on to wider issues. Chapter 10 on course design refers back to topics covered earlier in the book. Chapter 11 deals with the relationship between teaching and different forms of assessment.

There is an Introductory task at the start of each chapter (with supporting guidance notes), as well as a Discussion topics and projects section - which can be used for group discussion - at the end.

The book also has a complete glossary, further reading suggestions at the end of each chapter, a bibliography, and a full index.



PART ONE: A framework for teaching and learning

1 Learners and learning, classrooms and contexts
1.1 Introduction: issues for the language teacher
1.2 What do we know about how languages are learned?
1.2.1 The nature of input
1.2.2 The process of intake
1.2.3 The role of interaction in the classroom
1.2.4 The role of error
1.3 How do differences among learners affect learning processes and teaching procedures?
1.3.1 Aptitude
1.3.2 Learning style and learning strategies
1.3.3 Affective factors
1.3.4 Motivation for learning English
1.4 What factors of context should teachers take into account?
1.5 What roles can teachers and learners play in the learning process?
1.5.1 The teacher's roles and responsibilities
1.5.2 The learner's roles and responsibilities
1.6 What roles can learning materials play?
1.7 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

2 The communicative classroom
2.1 Introduction: the concept of communicative language ability
2.2 What are the components of communicative language ability?
2.2.1 Linguistic competence
2.2.2 Pragmatic competence
2.2.3 Discourse competence
2.2.4 Strategic competence
2.2.5 Fluency
2.3 What are the issues for the communicative curriculum?
2.4 What are the implications for the communicative classroom?
2.4.1 What are communicative tasks and what are their roles in teaching and learning?
2.4.2 How can we manage a communicative classroom?
2.4.3 What does communicative language teaching imply for authenticity in the classroom?
2.5 What are the issues in applying a communicative approach in context?
2.6 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

3 Learner autonomy and learner training
3.1 Introduction: the self-directed learner
3.2 What do we know about the strategies of the 'good language learner'?
3.2.1 Types of learner strategy
3.2.2 Research into learner strategies
3.3 What insights can we gain from educational thinking on autonomous learning?
3.4 What are the implications for learner training in the classroom?
3.4.1 Activities which help learners to reflect on learning
3.4.2 Activities which train strategies and equip learners to be active
3.4.3 Activities which encourage learners to monitor and check their own progress
3.5 What role can self-access facilities play in language learning?
3.6 Are learner autonomy and learner training universally appropriate concepts?
3.7 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

PART TWO: Teaching the language system

4 Vocabulary
4.1 Introduction: the task of learning vocabulary
4.2 What do we know about the lexical system of English?
4.2.1 Denotative and connotative meaning
4.2.2 Meaning relations among words
4.3 How do second language learners acquire vocabulary?
4.3.1 Strategies for vocabulary learning
4.3.2 Factors affecting vocabulary acquisition
4.4 What are the implications for the teaching of vocabulary?
4.4.1 Developing a variety of techniques for the teaching of meaning
4.4.2 Encouraging the development of effective strategies
4.4.3 Exposing learners to vocabulary through reading and training lexical inferencing
4.4.4 Teaching the effective use of dictionaries
4.4.5 Evaluating the vocabulary component of coursebooks
4.4.6 Teaching vocabulary explicitly through a range of activity types
4.4.7 Developing resources for vocabulary teaching
4.5 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

5 Grammar
5.1 Introduction: the role of grammar in English language teaching
5.2 What do we know about the learning of grammar?
5.2.1 Noticing
5.2.2 Reasoning and hypothesizing
5.2.3 Structuring and restructuring
5.2.4 Automatizing
5.3 What information can help us in the selection and presentation of grammar?
5.3.1 Grammar as meaning
5.3.2 Grammar in discourse
5.3.3 Grammar and style
5.4 What principles can guide us in the teaching of grammar?
5.4.1 Presenting grammar
5.4.2 Practising grammar
5.4.3 How can we design the grammar component of a course?
5.4.4 How can we suit approach to learner needs?
5.5 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

PART THREE: Developing the language skills

6 Reading
6.1 Introduction: making sense of a text
6.2 What do we know about the process of second language reading?
6.2.1 In what ways is reading an interactive process?
6.2.2 In what ways is reading a purposeful process?
6.2.3 In what ways is reading a critical process?
6.2.4 What is the role of extensive reading?
6.3 What are the implications for the teaching of reading?
6.3.1 How do we establish goals for the reading classroom?
6.3.2 What criteria do we use to select reading texts?
6.3.3 What kinds of tasks help to develop reading ability?
6.3.4 Can we help students to read critically?
6.3.5 How can we encourage extensive reading?
6.4 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

7 Listening
7.1 Introduction: the role of listening in the ELT curriculum
7.2 What do we know about the listening process?
7.2.1 Bottom-up processes in listening
7.2.2 Top-down processes in listening
7.2.3 Purposes for listening
7.3 What 'uncertainties' exist for foreign language listeners?
7.3.1 Uncertainties of condence
7.3.2 Uncertainties deriving from the presentation of speech
7.3.3 Uncertainties because of gaps in the message
7.3.4 Uncertain strategies
7.3.5 Uncertainties of language
7.3.6 Uncertainties of content
7.3.7 Visual uncertainties
7.4 What are the implications for the English language classroom?
7.4.1 Creating reasons for listening
7.4.2 Selecting texts for listening
7.4.3 Designing listening activities for the classroom
7.4.4 Building condence in listening to English
7.5 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

8 Speaking
8.1 Introduction: skills and strategies in speaking English
8.2 What is involved in speaking English competently?
8.2.1 Distinguishing types of speaking situation
8.2.2 Making oneself understood
8.2.3 Managing interaction
8.3 What are the issues in teaching the phonological aspects of English?
8.3.1 Choosing a model for pronunciation teaching
8.3.2 Taking a holistic or atomistic approach
8.3.3 Selecting practice according to student need
8.4 What are the implications for classroom practice in the teaching of spoken English?
8.4.1 Talking with students about spoken English
8.4.2 Making accuracy-based practice meaningful
8.4.3 Designing and evaluating fluency-based activities
8.4.4 Providing a range and balance of activities in a course
8.4.5 Teaching the pronunciation component of a course
8.4.6 Treating error in the classroom
8.4.7 Managing classroom interaction
8.5 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

9 Writing
9.1 Introduction: a contemporary writing classroom
9.2 What do we know about the process of writing?
9.2.1 What strategies do skilled writers use as they compose?
9.2.2 What activities characterize the writing process?
9.3 What are the implications of a process approach?
9.3.1 Helping students to generate ideas
9.3.2 Providing practice in planning
9.3.3 Contextualizing tasks to develop a sense of audience
9.3.4 Encouraging students in revision strategies
9.3.5 Supporting students with technology
9.3.6 Issues in introducing a process approach
9.4 How can we analyse and describe the structure of written texts?
9.5 What are the implications of a text-based approach to writing?
9.5.1 Helping students to identify their writing needs
9.5.2 Building awareness of discourse organization
9.5.3 Helping students to develop crafting skills
9.5.4 Enabling students to appreciate the criteria for an effective text
9.6 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

PART FOUR: Planning and assessing learning

10 Course design
10.1 Introduction: roles for the teacher in course design
10.2 What are the steps in course design?
10.2.1 Considering the students in their context of learning
10.2.2 Establishing goals and objectives
10.2.3 Planning the syllabus
10.2.4 Designing a course unit
10.2.5 What procedures can be helpful in evaluating courses?
10.3 What choices do teachers need to make in course design?
10.3.1 Choosing a textbook
10.3.2 Taking a process approach
10.3.3 Using projects in ELT
10.3.4 Negotiating with learners
10.4 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

11 Classroom assessment by Pauline Rea-Dickins
11.1 Introduction: assessment and testing
11.2 What is testing?
11.2.1 The structuralist influence
11.2.2 The communicative influence
11.3 What is the role of classroom assessment?
11.3.1 What purposes should classroom assessment have?
11.3.2 What kind of feedback is useful?
11.3.3 What assessment procedures are available?
11.4 What characterizes good assessment practice?
11.4.1 Are affective considerations relevant to assessment?
11.4.2 How can good assessment practice be framed?
11.5 Conclusion
Discussion topics and projects
Further reading

Appendix: Notes on Introductory tasks