LANGUAGE TRAINING METHODOLOGY
Methodology at all levels centres around certain key concepts.
Business Language Services encourages its trainers to keep the above points in mind at all times in all training situations.
1. Communicative Competence
The aim of any language training should be to enable the learner to communicate more effectively and the aim of training for business people is to enable them to do this within the work environment.
Effective communication in any language is a skill and, as with any skill, the only way to improve is to practise. Any language training should have as its central aim the use of the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing by the learner, depending on each individual’s objectives. The learner must be actively involved in using these skills at all times.
Language structures are the tools of language that enable the linking of words into meaningful phrases. As such, they are vital for competent use of the language. However, the learning of structures is not an end in itself and they must only be seen as a means to enabling more effective communication.
To maintain the motivation and involvement of the learner, it is essential that a selection of different approaches and aids are used in the language learning process. This means a variety of:
- different language skills
- different techniques - teacher-centred and learner-centred
- different media - CDs, DVDs, flashcards, tapes, videos, web-based resources, etc.
- different activities - drills, role plays, information exchanges, games, etc.
As language is a skill, repetition of key elements is fundamental in the language learning process. A balance is required between the need for repetition and the need for variety. It is important to enable key elements to be used repeatedly, but through a variety of different approaches.
It is very important that the correct atmosphere is created for effective language learning. Linguistic competence is a very public skill and a relaxed atmosphere is essential if the learner is to feel able to attempt to communicate without fear of making errors.
There is only one correct way to teach a language, and that is in the most effective way possible for the learner. All learners are different and will learn at different speeds and with a variety of different learning strategies. Any language training must ensure constant reference to the requirements and preferences of the learner.
8. Target Language
The aim of all language training is to use the target language as an effective means of communication, and the learner will not be helped in this unless the trainer uses the target language to communicate wherever possible. The use of the learner’s mother tongue must be handled sensitively and the trainee should not be left confused by under use of it in the early stages. The trainer’s aim, however, should be to use the target language as much as possible for all communication during contact time and look to establish a situation where the mother tongue is not used at all. At an advanced level this is of the utmost importance, unless translation and interpreting skills are being developed.