The Best Methodology For Learning/Teaching EFL
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What Is Best Method For Learning/Teaching EFL?

The question of what is the best methodology for teaching/learning EFL is asked on the internet millions of times. It is impossible to answer such a question in a way that will satisfy all educators, teachers, and learners. Some teachers follow the Communicative method and claim it is the best method; others say the Total Immersion method is the best; those who teach using Total Physical Response claim it is the best method; the followers of the Acquisition approach state that it is the only method of subconscious training and therefore, it is the most natural and efficient way of learning a foreign language. All the above methods of teaching/learning English have one common feature: they all suffer a very high failure rate.

Teachers and educators continue teaching what isn't true anymore or what works for some but not for all. Discussions of different methods of teaching EFL would never produce a common opinion about the best methodology. You may respond, "But there is no best methodology!" You are right. Now we don’t have the best methodology but for sure we can create a methodology that will work for all adults, not only for those who are language-capable.

Every big construction or creation of new technology always starts with designing technical specifications that the new method should satisfy.

To start creating the best method for teaching/learning EFL, we need to create a completely different method for the acquisition of English skills that should answer the fundamental questions and meet certain requirements.

3 Fundamental Questions

  1. Should the best method be based on conscious learning and memorization or on subconscious training in English skills?
  2. Should we learn grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, and writing skills separately or should we subconsciously train all language skills concurrently?
  3. Should we turn our teachers into coaches and trainers who will be able to introduce the new technology and add a human touch to using self-training applications in a class or at home or at work?

Now I would like to elaborate on the fundamental questions and help the reader make the correct choice in answering them. Can you consciously learn how to drive a car? Nope. Can you consciously learn how to play basketball or guitar or piano? Nope. Then, why do we try learning EFL consciously? Conscious learning EFL is characterized by the appalling forgetting curve; moreover, it can't stop cross-translation, and adults continue thinking in the native language when trying to speak in a foreign language. It explains why so many adults struggle with the acquisition of English skills.

The correct answer to the first fundamental question is: The best methodology should be based on subconscious training in English skills.

The second question is similar to the first question. If we focus our attention on separate aspects of English, such as grammar, vocabulary, listening, reading, and writing skills, we consciously select a slow system of our mind, called System Two. When System Two is activated, our brains' capacity of finding language patterns and rules of Intuitive Grammar is turned off.

Let me remind you about System One and System Two in our minds. Thanks to the work of the Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman and others, we now increasingly view our cognitive processes as being divided into two systems. We think slowly and fast because our cognitive capacity involves two different systems. System One operates automatically and quickly, with little or no effort and no sense of voluntary control. System Two allocates attention to the effortful mental activity and therefore is slow. For example, conscious learning belongs to System Two, whereas the expression of our feelings and thoughts (i.e., speech) belongs to System One. Therefore, the answer to the second question should be: Subconsciously train all language skills concurrently.

The third question should be answered: Yes, we should turn our teachers into coaches and trainers because the old belief that a teacher could transfer their knowledge to students is obsolete. There is also another reason why we need coaches and trainers, to implement subconscious training in English skills that we need to use an application that would introduce a comprehensible multimedia input. A teacher technically can’t create a comprehensible multimedia input that is necessary for subconscious training.

The best methodology is student-centered and, most importantly, it offers self-training capability under the guidance of a coach or trainer. A coach or trainer will need an application that should meet the requirements outlined below.

Main Requirements For The Best Methodology For EFL Learning

  1. To allow all students to be engaged in multimedia comprehensible input and instructing them to produce the output in English by imitating the recording.
  2. The output is produced by all students concurrently using simultaneous reading, listening, and speaking.
  3. The mobile or web-based applications are used for self-training language skills in the class or online and for continuing self-training at home or at work.
  4. The application allows learners or teachers to create new lessons and apply the same multimedia comprehensible input method to new lessons.
  5. All lessons and drills are made comprehensible due to the built-in support in the native language.
  6. The application should include a module for self-testing of active vocabulary and provide feedback on fluency and grammar.

Requirement 1

Now I would like to elaborate on the main requirements, explaining how you should evaluate them. Due to the technological advances and the fact that we use application for self-training, all students are actively engaged in subconscious training using authentic materials and producing the output concurrently. This process differs from a discussion that students have in a class. In such a discussion, only one student is speaking and the remaining students are listening to the broken English of their peers.

Requirement 2

The second requirement explains why this methodology belongs to subconscious training. Performing three actions at the same time (reading, listening, and speaking) fully occupies the learner’s attention and turns off conscious control of the learning process. Subconscious training is defined as the activity in which all skills—reading, listening, and speaking—are learned simultaneously; it is in sharp contrast with learning English as information to be remembered. Subconscious training helps adult learners to automatically form the direct wiring between English words and the images or symbols they describe. Learners create active vocabulary; they acquire intuitive grammar and the ability to speak fluently without cross-translation. Learners start thinking in English from the first lesson.

Requirement 3

The third requirement explains why the same application is used in the classroom setting and at home or at work. For traditional teachers, it is hard to understand that the teacher should not transfer their knowledge to students. Digital natives prefer self-training guided by a coach or trainer who offers them a human touch by creating new lessons for them and answering questions.

Requirement 4

The fourth requirement ensures the use of authentic materials selected by a teacher or student and application of multimedia comprehensible input to the created lessons. This approach makes the application open-ended and versatile in various professional fields.

Requirement 5

The fifth requirement of support in the native language is ensured by incorporating the application of the Google Translate module, which has more than 92% accuracy in the most common languages of the world. This accuracy is sufficient to make comprehensible any text by translating it into the native language.

Requirement 6

The sixth requirement explains why self-testing is mandatory for the best methodology. Self-testing active vocabulary, speaking ability, and grammatical usage in spoken language are included in every lesson of the application. Besides, the testing module is also a great training tool for spontaneous speaking without cross-translation.

Conclusion

Let’s open the discussion about a technical specification for the best method of teaching EFL. After this kind of technical specification is defined, we may open competition for those teaching methods which best meet it.

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