Locating methods in ELT Education: perspectives and possibilities

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Abstract

This chapter explores the place of language teaching methods within ELT education programmes. It asks what, if anything, a focus on methods brings to ELTE, and how methods might be explored in practice on teacher education programmes and courses, if, as is claimed, methods are ‘dead’ and ELT has entered a ‘Postmethod’ era.

The discussion first outlines ‘traditional’ understandings of ‘method’ and methods, and the substantial criticisms of these conceptualisations that have emerged since the early 1990s. It subsequently examines how thinking about language teacher education has developed in similar ways over the same period, with a move away from top-down prescriptions for practice to an appreciation of the importance of teachers’ own contextually-based reflections and understandings for their professional development. The chapter then draws on a range of ELT educators’ own perspectives to examine why and how language teaching methods are (still) focused upon in ELTE, given these moves towards complexity and diversity in the field. It finds that methods retain a place within ELTE programmes as they are seen to provide a prompt for teachers to attend to and reflect upon the links between practice and theory. Consequently, a focus on methods acts as a springboard for more general reflection about language teaching and learning. Central to this perspective, however, is the key acknowledgement of the importance of teachers’ own contextually-informed understandings, beliefs and sense of plausibility in implementing or adapting methodological ideas and shaping their classroom practices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of English Language Teacher Education
EditorsSteve Walsh, Steve Mann
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Chapter19
Pages285-298
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315659824
ISBN (Print)9781138961371
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019

Publication series

NameRoutledge Handbooks in Applied Linguistics

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