Prof. McNeil - ELT Methodology Syllabus





Universidad Pedagógica Nacional


Universidad Distrital Francisco José de Caldas





English Language Teaching Methodology














Over the years, teachers have been trying to find more effective ways of making learners learn a foreign language. In his book Principles of language Learning and Teaching, H.D. Brown defines methodology as “The study of pedagogical practices in general (including theoretical underpinnings and related research)”. (Brown, H.D. 1994:159) Through the years, scholars have been carrying out numerous studies in SLA (Second Language Acquisition) in order to adapt their practice to the learning needs of students. The assumptions about learning that every teacher has determines the kinds of pedagogic decisions about content or methodology.


Numerous changes in the field of SLA research have fostered the emergence of different approaches, methods and techniques, which reflect the current thought about what language is, the way it is learned and taught. Probably some of the most striking differences that have come about are those that have to do with the focus that has been given to different elements of the learning-teaching interaction (focus on the teacher, focus on the learner, focus on contents, focus on processes, roles of learners, roles of teachers...)


It is obvious that due to the fact that this area is relatively new (recent), we can expect further changes in the future. In a field that is so dynamic as that of Applied Linguistics, we can still look forward to the emergence of many more ideas that will eventually give birth to more “Methods” that will claim superiority over the previous ones. Teacher growth and development will then play its role and lead us into the challenging and ever-changing woods.


The current emphasis that has been placed on the use of technology in the language classroom imposes a new need on language teachers and learners: the implementation of procedural frameworks for language learning and teaching  mediated by technology. This course will therefore foster the massive use of information technologies applied to education, within a context that triggers autonomous learning, by training students in the frequent use of self-access materials.





The overall purpose of this course is to introduce the students enrolled in it to the study of the implications of the relationship between ELT methods and psychological, sociological and linguistic theories.





This course aims at:

1.        introducing teacher-trainees to the various ELT methods, their terminology and underlying theoretical assumptions.

2.         raising teacher-trainees´ awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the various ELT methods.

3.        helping teacher-trainees find ways to improve their teaching-practice by becoming more aware of the way learning happens.

4.        helping teacher-trainees find ways to adjust their teaching to the specific groups of learners with specific goals and in specific contexts.                        

5.        examining general teaching models in order to gain some understanding of the principles that underlie them.





This course breaks down into five main areas, each with a further sub-division into topics. The five main areas are:


-Language Theory:                                            The Description of Learner Language

                                                                              First Language Acquisition

                                                                              Second Language Acquisition

                                                                              Human Learning



-General Models for SL Teaching:                   Stern´s SLT Model

                                                                              McLaughlin´s SLT Model (Attention-Processing)

                                                                              Bailystok´s SLT Model (Analysis/Automaticity)

                                                                              Krashen´s SLT Model (Input Hypothesis)


-ELT Methods and Theories behind them:    The Grammar Translation Method

                                                                              The Direct Method

                                                                              The Audio-lingual Method

                                                                              The Silent Way


                                                                              Community Language Learning

                                                                              The Total Physical Response

                                                                              The Communicative Approach

                                                                              The Wholistic Approach



-Principles of ELT:                                              Principles of Course Design

                                                                              Selection, Design, and Evaluation of ELT Materials

                                                                              Testing and Evaluation

                                                                              Error Analysis


-Materials Development:                                   Developing Materials for Language Teaching / Learning

                                                                              Evaluating Language Teaching / Learning Materials


-CALL                                                                 Computer Assisted Language Learning


                                                                              Power Point, Prezi, X-Mind and others

Technological mediations

                                                                              Excel for Teachers

                                                                              Internet for Academic Purposes


-Classroom Practice in ELT:                              Teacher Development and Life-long Learning                       

Classroom Management and Techniques    






Teacher-trainees are expected to do their background reading assignments before attending the sessions. Although there will be some lectures from the instructor, this course is student-centered, eversince it is currently accepted that active involvement on the part of the learners asures both teacher and students the best results possible. Teacher-trainees enrolled in this course are also expected to engage in in-class discussions, presentations, and all the activities required during the term.






Teacher trainees will be evaluated on overall performance. This includes both oral and written works, with appropriate use of target language. Other issues such as attendance, punctuality, responsability, and professionalism will also be taken into account.


Classroom management, use of teaching aids, pacing, procedures, ability to combine what they know with their classroom practice are all important aspects that will also be taken into account.


There will be achievement tests at specific moments during the term. These moments will be negotiated with the participants in the very first session of the course. Achievement tests will be complemented by evaluations administered by the lecturer, self-evaluation sessions, and peer-evaluation exercises.





There will be several evaluations during the term. These will focus on the capacity of the learners to articulate theory and practice in their performance. All marks will be assigned based on the evaluation sheet designed by the team of teachers of the language department and then prorated at the end of the term.





-Brown, H.D. (1994) Principles of Language Learning and Teaching, Prentice-Hall Regents


-Brown, J.D. (1995) The Elements of Language Curriculum,  Heinle & Heinle Publishers


-Ellis, R. (1995) The Study of  Second Language Acquisition, Oxford University Press


-Dubin & Olshtain (1991) Course Design: Developing Programs and Materials for Language Teaching, Cambridge University Press


-Nunan, D. (1988) Syllabus Design,  Oxford University Press


-Richards & Rodgers (1986) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching: A description and Analysis, Cambridge University Press


-Stern, H.H. (1992) Issues and Options in Language Teaching,  Oxford University Press


-Yalden, Y. (1987) Principles of Course Design for Language Teaching,  Cambridge University Press


-A great number of websites will also be provided during the regular class sessions. These websites have been divided into categories covering the major topics listed in the course syllabus, and also the specific needs detected in the students registered for this course. Note that the instructor will provide a long list of sites that are thought to be useful in assisting the students both in the development of their proficiency in the target language and in the development of regular courses they teach in the near future.


Teacher-trainees will be given additional references during the term.