The Latest Trends in English Language Teaching & Learning

1. CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning):

It is one of the latest trends in ELT. This model pursues to make a link between language learning and content development. That is to say, English learning is more oriented around school subjects (History, Science, Geography … etc.). The underlying principle is that English should not be the end of a language program but the means through which learners will acquire knowledge in other fields.

I think that this is a more academic and scientific orientations for which teachers have to be well prepared. The approach demands not only the mastery of English and the management of ELT methods but certain degree of awareness of some disciplines.

2. e-learning applied to ELT:

It is one of the latest trends and how it can be applied to ELT is probably a good area for research as the internet becomes more available to an ever wider group of students. How students interact and how the systems used facilitate that interaction is a question which will need to be understood to increase the effectiveness of this medium.

3. Blended learning:

It is the approach that is at the cutting edge in education and with a wide range of possibilities for ELT. It helps teachers optimize language learning and teaching by using ICT (Information and Communication Technology) resources (internet, web-based tools, CD-Roms, etc.) in combination with face-to-face sessions. E-learning that encompasses the use of technological and electronic support for educational purposes embraces blended learning.

4. TBLT (Task-based language teaching):

It is among the latest trends in ELT nowadays where users can have varieties of learning experiences in life-like environments. It focuses on the use of authentic language and on asking students to do meaningful tasks using the target language. Such tasks can include visiting a doctor, conducting an interview, or calling customer service for help.

Assessment is primarily based on task outcome (in other words the appropriate completion of real world tasks) rather than on accuracy of prescribed language forms. This makes this approach popular for developing target language fluency and student confidence. As such TBLT can be considered a branch of communicative language teaching (CLT).

5. Situated Language Teaching:

In this approach learners involve actively in meaningful language learning situations and contextualized practices created by the teacher. Situated language learning focuses on   the contexts, situations and knowledge construction. Skills and knowledge are best acquired within realistic contexts and authentic settings, where students are engaged in experiential language learning tasks.

6. Edutainment

It is started to be heard most nowadays.  It refers to using online games and games in ELT and self-language learning. Learners should be so engaged that they should forget even they are learning something. In this approach learning and entertainment are two words used together.

Seven Kinds of CLT Activities to Build up Students’ Communicative Competence

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is based on the main goal of involving students in meaningful communication using the target language. There are many activity types that can be used in the classroom to achieve that goal. The following are the main ones of them.

  1. Communicative activities:

In these activities students should use the language in real-life communicative situations where real information is exchanged and authentic language is used. In addition, the language used is not predictable.

E.g. when asking about directions and how to get to certain places; the nearest bus stop, café or train station.

  1. Information-gap activities:

These activities achieve the goal of people’s communication which is getting the information they don’t possess. Students are encouraged in the classroom to do this kind of activities to communicate meaningfully to obtain information.

E.g. divide students into pairs to practise role-playing. Each student has information that the other doesn’t know. One student asks for information on train departures, prices, the time, … etc.

  1. Task-completion activities (puzzles, games, map-reading, … etc.)

In these tasks the focus is on using the language resources to complete a task.

  1. Information-gathering activities (survey, interviews, searches, … etc.)

In these activities students are required to use the language resources to collect information.

  1. Opinion-sharing activities:

In these activities students share their values, opinions and beliefs such as listing the most important qualities of a good teacher or the best friend.

  1. Information-transfer activities:

In these activities students take information from one form and represent it in a different form. E.g. reading information about a subject and represent it in a graph or a map.

  1. Reasoning-gap activities:

In these activities students derive or infer information from given information.

E.g. deriving information from the classroom timetable.