TEFL Certification

10 Different Methods of Teaching English

Teaching, like any other profession, is an artistic endeavour. It necessitates knowledge of its subjects, proper implementation methods, openness to new teaching approaches, and patience. It is critical to lay the groundwork for any language for it to flourish. Learning a new language, such as English, necessitates knowledge of grammar, sentence articulation, and proper word enunciation. It is equally important to maintain an environment suitable for boosting performance growth among the candidates. There are numerous English teaching methods available to lay a solid foundation for learning the language. However, various English teaching methods and approaches, have been tried and tested over the years, with some being more effective than others. The teaching methods for any language can be subjective as per one’s requirements. If you’re looking forward to building a career in TEFL, these English teaching methods will prove beneficial in achieving your goal.

Here are the 10 different methods of teaching English

1. Direct Method

The Direct Method often known as the Natural Method focuses more on oral skills. It uses repetitive drilling to teach students the target language that they want to learn. Furthermore, this method is used to learn a variety of languages, including English. In this method, g Grammar is taught inductively. The candidates try to figure out the rule by watching the teacher’s oral presentation. As a result, candidates must be able to express themselves in English with a proper accent and grammatical skills. This method connects ideas with expression, allowing students to communicate in English. Callan and Berlitz are the two most popular forms of Direct Method at the moment. Although it takes time and effort, the results are quite promising. In modern times, this method of teaching English is widely used to communicate in real-time scenarios

2. Audio Lingual Method

The Audio-lingual Method also popular as New Key Method or Army Method is based on behaviorist theory. This method of teaching English is based on the idea that one can learn new things through constant reinforcement. Just like in the army, bad behavior is punished, in this case, the bad use of English, the learner receives negative feedback. Similarly, when a learner demonstrates good English usage, they are positively rewarded. Furthermore, the Audio-lingual Method is similar to the Direct Method as it focuses on using the target language. This method places a strong emphasis on listening and speaking abilities. The activities typically involve repeating the words after carefully listening to the teacher until they have perfected the pronunciation and rhythm. Besides, positive feedback is given for good work, and mistakes are corrected right away.

3. Grammar-Translation

Grammar translation is one of the oldest language teaching methods, dating back to the 16th century. This traditional approach to teaching English prioritizes translation from the candidate’s native language to the target language and vice versa. In the grammar-translation method, students are expected to remember long lists of vocabulary along with detailed grammar formats and rules.

This teaching method frequently favors accuracy over fluency and focuses on developing reading and writing skills. Thus, grammar drills, vocabulary tests, and the incorporation of new grammar concepts in standardized writing tasks are common classroom activities. It is a traditional method of teaching English, but it does not prepare students for spontaneous communication skills. Despite being heavily criticized in modern times, many institutions continue to use this method of teaching English to encourage scientific learning.

4. The Silent Way

The silent way approach uses minimalistic ways of teaching to motivate students to speak the language. This method of teaching English was devised by Caleb Gattegno, allowing beginners and young learners to flourish in English. The Silent way of teaching English prioritizes more on student’s learning than teacher’s teaching. The teachers explain the whole process at first. In this approach, silence is used as a tool to encourage students to independently discover their target language. Besides, the teachers employ a wide range of gestures and facial expressions to effectively communicate with the students. Moreover, the usage of props can prove useful for boosting the learning of the English language.

A pattern of structural syllabus and grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation are constantly drilled and recycled for reinforcement. Furthermore, the teachers monitor the performance of the students and set formal tests for evaluation. Subsequently, the students are encouraged to correct their language errors.

5. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

The communicative language teaching approach is one of the popular English teaching models globally. It employs real-time scenarios to enable students to effectively communicate in the real world. Moreover, the educators focus on fluency in communication rather than accuracy. This approach also emphasizes more on hands-on learning than theoretical. It employs relevant and interactive classroom activities along with authentic source material for learning English. This approach builds a safe environment for students to communicate their experiences as it develops a student-teacher relationship. 

6. Total Physical Response 

TPR short for Total Physical Response is a language teaching method that involves the usage of language objects as instructions. It follows the idea of “learning by doing”. Aural comprehension is the most important skill in this method of teaching English. Here, the students have to do exactly what the teacher tells them. For instance, they may be asked to sit down, stand up, close the book or point to an object in the classroom. The notion that beginners will learn English through a series of repetitive actions is the principle at the heart of this approach. As the learning improves, the instructions gradually progress to a more defined series of actions. These involve additional elements for comprehension including adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions. This method of learning English is quite interesting as it involves fun activities, one such prime example is charades. 

7. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

Content and language integrated learning methods involve studying a particular subject such as science, history, geography, and learning of a language, English in this case, at the same time. This method effectively integrates the two subjects. Here, language teaching is structured as per the demand of the first subject rather than the target language. CLIL method of teaching English creates significant opportunities to aid cross-cultural working. This method is often adopted in schools. Thus, clear integration of the subjects is crucial to facilitate student engagement. 

8. Suggestopedia 

Suggestopedia is an English training method that involves a lot of art and music. This method employs certain principles of memory to teach English. It aims at creating a comfortable environment for shy and apprehensive learners to feel confident in learning English. The students are provided with chunks of information. These texts are then read aloud to the rhythm of classical music or a suitable genre relevant to the target structure. The lessons in Suggestopedia are divided into three stages 

  1. Deciphering 
  2. Concert session
  3. Elaboration 

This method of teaching English is suitable for all levels and allows for a fun and interesting learning environment. 

9. Cooperative Language Learning (CLL)

Cooperative Language Learning (CLL) also known as Community Learning is a widely used method of teaching English. It involves cooperative activities among small groups of learners in the classroom. CLL employs a student-centered approach to learning English. This method of learning English involves social interactions by talking or working together to accomplish tasks. As an approach to teaching English as a second language, a lot of L1 is used for translation purposes. It aims to provide a comfortable environment for students as great emphasis is given on teacher and student bound.

10. Structural Approach

The structural method of teaching English follows a systematic manner of structuring, sequencing, and arranging patterns of words. These rules facilitate articulating a proper and complete sentence with meaning. Furthermore, this approach evaluates language in a detailed manner. Although this approach stresses speech reading and writing is not neglected. The structural technique employs traditional approaches like direct method and grammar-translation to effectively teach English. This method of teaching aims at teaching fundamental skills, namely, understanding, speaking, reading, writing, in order. 

Tips and Guide for Teaching English

Clear Instructions 

Keeping the instructions simple and clear is of utmost importance when communicating with a class of beginners. Use a few necessary words and break down the instructions into smaller units to facilitate comprehension. This is so because students at the beginner’s level will only know a few words in English, too much usage of words will be overwhelming. Moreover, gesturing whenever possible to convey the message effectively. 

Drilling & Repetition

Drilling and repetition of words and phrases are necessary when teaching a new language. it allows students to grasp the sounds of each word. Breaking down the sentence into manageable units and drilling it back with a couple of repetitions allows better comprehension. Although monotonous, this method is an effective way of learning new sentences.  

Avoid Metalanguage

Avoid using complex structures at an early stage of the class. Terms such as past simple, irregular verb or adverb of frequency, etc are alien to the beginners. Thus, it is important to give as many contexts as possible to ensure comprehension. Visual prompt works just as well for this same. Furthermore, avoid asking questions such as “do you understand?”. Some students may be reluctant to accept that they haven’t understood or may find themselves confused with knowing everything. However, do ask relevant questions or allow them to explain what they learned to test their comprehension.

Language Teaching Books  

For those finding innovative ways to structure the lessons, language teaching books are the solution. These books will help you develop language skills. The art of teaching is dynamic, discovering new resources to stimuli original ideas. It is important to engage students in learning a new language, these top recommendations of language teaching books will allow you to breathe in new life in the teaching routine. 

  • How Languages are Learned – Patsy Lightbown & Nina Spada, Oxford University Press
  • Learning Teaching. The essential guide to English Language Teaching, Jim Scrivener, MacMillan Elt
  • The Natural Approach. Language acquisition in the classroom, Stephen Krashen & Tracy D. Terrel, Janus Book Pub/ Alemany Pr
  • CLIL: Content and Language Integrated Learning, Do Coyle, Philip Hood, David Marsh, Cambridge University Press
  • Curriculum Development in Language Teaching, Jack C. Richards, Cambridge University Press

Language Skills Assessment 

The assessment facilitates educators’ understanding of their students. It is important to know your students and their suitable learning style for an effective assessment. Moreover, whatever assessment approach you chose to measure your students’ knowledge, emphasize the positive elements rather than highlighting the errors. This will encourage them to do better. These two forms of assessment can also work effectively together. The two widely used forms of assessment are as follows:

  • Summative assessment

Summative assessment provides insights into what the student has learned over the particular period. Besides, it is used to summarize the achievements of the learner at the end of the course, relative to the learning aims and relevant standards. This data is used to track the progress of the student and inform stakeholders. Moreover, the format of the assessment is determined by the educator. These could be a written test, a reading observation, conversing with a native speaker, or a collaborative group task. 

  • Formative assessment

Formative assessment is usually conducted at the same time as the teaching is being delivered. This allows for a frequent tracking of progress among the students. Teachers are provided with the insights such as what skills have been mastered to restructure the lessons accordingly. The purpose of formative assessment is to highlight the areas that require work, to incorporate them in future lessons and activities.

Proper Pronunciation

Teaching proper pronunciation is often looked over when it comes to teaching a new language. Skills such as writing, listening, and grammar accuracy are given more impetus. Pronunciation skills enable students to speak clearly with confidence in the target language. Here are some of the methods to build pronunciation skills

  • Listening skills 

Building listening skills is fundamental to developing proper pronunciation. In this process, the learner’s ears are tuned to the sound and rhythm of the target language. This can be done via TV podcast, online radio, or recording of a native speaker. Aligned with tailored vocabulary, students will gradually pick more words and phrases. 

  • Phonetical 

Beginning with teaching the sound of a new alphabet helps in the follow-up content of English lessons. Adding phonics in the curriculum allows students to understand the sound system of the target language. Students learn how the syllabus is pronounced. Moreover, it improves other core language skills such as reading, listening, and speaking. In this case, IPA short for International Phonetical Alphabets is widely used as it provides a guide to pronunciations in many dictionaries and language textbooks.

  • Word of Mouth 

It focuses on the movements of the mouth when pronouncing a word or reading a sentence. The students learn how each sound is made by mirroring how wide there is open and where their tongue is positioned. 

  • Reading Aloud

Lastly, encouraging students to read aloud magazines, newspapers, and books in English, will not only improve their pronunciation skills but also develop overall language skills. This is an effective way to evaluate their reading skills to spot phonemes, phrases, or words they struggle with. Moreover, practicing talking in the target language will boost their pronunciation skills.

Good Preparation

 Being patient with the results is the key to successful teaching. At the initial stage, students mispronounce or incorrectly articulate sentences. Since they comprehend in their first language and attempt to translate them into English, it is natural to find errors. As teachers, it is imperative to be patient and proactive listeners. This will allow effective communication between teachers and students. Prepare an organized range of activities for interactive learning. Employ suitable methods of teaching English to boost learning. 

Other important skills 

To have an effective classroom, it is crucial to incorporate certain characteristics including engaging classroom presence, value in real-world learning, and exchange of best practices. 

  • Adaptability – Teachers are expected to work in a constantly evolving environment and adjust to the changes involved in the teaching methods. Particularly, with the internet and new technologies, there may be constant changes in the field throughout the career. Adaptability is a key skill required for teachers to educate students on varying levels of teaching. 
  • Embrace technology- technological evolution has played an integral part in accomplishing levels of productivity in terms of teaching. It provides unlimited resources to improve skills. Digital learning tools such as software programs, educational apps, and other devices increase engagement among students. 
  • Dedication- it goes without saying that teaching is a demanding job. However, dedication is instrumental to helping your students succeed. Enthusiasm is infectious, it will keep up your energy levels and prevent you from getting discouraged. 
  • Class management- Organizing activities, conflict resolution, creativity, etc is a part of class management. Developing these skills is crucial for effective teaching. Besides, being consistent in planning various teaching methods will facilitate an engaging classroom environment. 


The prevalence of social media and the internet has evolved the way of learning English as a whole. It is has become crucial for teachers to employ different methods of teaching English to address the needs and interests of the students. Although teaching involves challenges, it is one of the most satisfying jobs ever. Witnessing the growth of learners from beginners to being able to hold a rudimentary conversation is incredibly rewarding. There is no quick fix to becoming fluent in the language, therefore, teachers must employ different methods of teaching English. Although these approaches may not be the best for every classroom, educators can deploy and tailor these methods to suit the needs of the learners.


Q. For how long is a TEFL certificate valid?

A. A TEFL certificate does not expire, it is valid for life.

Q. Is TEFL difficult?

A. Generally speaking, TEFL is not difficult to pass. Completing the training from a good institute will help you achieve desired fluency in the language.

Q. Is TEFL a good career choice?

A. Yes. Although TEFL has the reputation of a short-term career choice, one can make TEFL a successful long-term career. 

Q. Are they any age restrictions for TEFL teaching?

A. There are no age restrictions for teaching English. Candidates interested in working in a classroom environment with openness to innovative ideas of teaching can take up the profession.

Q. Are English teachers in demand?

A. Due to the increasing numbers of people wanting to learn English, it demands English teachers is growing. Moreover, this demand is estimated to rise in the coming years.

Q. What is an average salary of an English teacher?

A. Salaries vary considerably depending on the organizations and employers. However, on average, the salary of an English teacher ranges from 14000 to 35000 euros. 

Q. What are the different terms used for English as a foreign language teaching?

A. The commonly used terms for English as a foreign language namely include:
Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) – is used for teaching English to those who are interested in learning English for work or leisure.
Teaching English as a second language (TESL) – often used for teaching English to people who abode in an English-speaking country, but to speak English as a first language.
Teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) – is an umbrella term that incorporates both TEFL and TESL, including other variations such as ESL AND ESOL.


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