Language teaching and language learning - Methods in a course book for German learners of English

Term Paper, 2008

12 Pages, Grade: 2,7



1. Introduction

2. Language teaching / Language learning – A glimpse on history

3. Analysis of topic 4 from the course book G2000
I. Stage of language learning
II. Topic 4 - Methods, activities and exercises

4. Conclusion

5. Bibliography

1. Introduction

In my term paper I will try to investigate a unit of an English course book for German learners of English as their second language. For this aim I will use the “English G2000 B1 for the fifth grade Realschule”. I chose the “Realschule” version as I’m studying on teaching profession for this type of school.

Considering the extent of this paper I will not be able to investigate this course book completely. Instead of this I will concentrate on a small unit – topic 4 in the end of unit four, which deals with money and shopping. In G2000 every unit closes with such a short topic-unit and it has – just like the larger units – a focus on a language skill. In case of topic 4 it is speaking.

In order not to go beyond the scope of this paper I will put emphasize on the methodological and theoretical background of the exercises and tasks of this unit: Which methods are used? What about the role of the learner/teacher? Which competences are demanded and supported? Is it sufficient to teach English only with the help of a course book?

Therefore I will give a short glimpse on the historical background of language teaching and learning at first, so that the reader deserves basic information about methods and their theoretical background.

For a better entrance to my topic I will also involve the teacher’s manual. It includes information about new vocabulary, materials and methods. Furthermore it offers the teacher instructions for the exercises in the student’s course book.

Therefore it is in a way essential, because it is in fact a manual for the student’s book.

Topic 4 consists of four main exercises. Some of them are slightly complemented by parallel tasks from the pupil’s workbook, which is also available as additional support to the course book. Furthermore there is a Vocabulary Action Sheet in the end of the teacher’s manual including some vocabulary exercises for each unit.

2. Language teaching / Language learning – A glimpse on history

Apart from some exercises where the focus of language learning is on acquiring new words by rather old methods like the audio-lingual method, the unit I investigate includes a lot of communicative language teaching and learning.

I will try to point out the difference between these two methods in this chapter of my paper and give the reader a short glimpse on language teaching history.

The audio-lingual method, which was introduced in the 1950’s said

“that most problems experienced by foreign language learners concern the conflict of different structural systems. With grammar or ‘structure’ as its starting point and the belief that language learning is a process of habit formation, the audio-lingual method paid systematic attention to pronunciation and intensive oral drilling of basic sentence patterns” (Zimmermann 1997: 10) .

This quote already includes that the basis of the audio-lingual method is oral drilling. Learning a language was no longer a creative process like in most of the methods used nowadays, where language is learned by hypothesis building, production and feedback. Instead of this the focus of language learning was on managing the four skills listening, speaking, reading and writing perfectly from the beginning.

The consequence of this was a teacher-centredness. The teacher was the person who sets the tempo, the contents and the way of learning in general.

This changed with the introduction of the communicative language teaching in the early 1970’s. The learner and the process of learning got into the centre of language teaching and detailed knowledge of the language (Structure, Grammar etc.) was no longer that important like in the audio-lingual method. The focus of communicative language teaching is on sociolinguistic and pragmatic aspects and the linguist Hymes invented the term communicative competence

“to represent the use of language in a social context, or the observance of sociolinguistic norms of appropriacy” (Savignon 2001: 16) .

Furthermore communicative competence includes four fields of competences: Sociocultural, strategic, discourse and grammatical competence. While the grammatical competence relates to the sentence and its grammatical form, discourse competence points at the ability to put together statements to a meaningful oral or written text.

Strategic competence implies finding solutions to communicative problems like paraphrasing words which the learner does not know. Finally, sociocultural competence comprises the social norms of language use like meaningful contents of an expression or non-verbal aspects of a language (Haß 2006: 18 f.).

Another important aspect, which will also reappear in point 3.2 of my paper, is related to task-based language teaching, which is based on communicative language teaching/learning. The main difference between them is that task based language teaching/learning can have an additional focus on form, but in general they show a great range of similarity. Both have their main focus on meaningful communication and interaction, negotiation and on an authentic language use. Furthermore both require the use of the learner’s language resources and are learner-centred.

This learner-centredness leads to the concept of task demand and task support in task based language teaching. A task demand on the one hand is what a student needs to know or be able to do in order to solve a task or to deal with it. On the other hand task support is what help is provided by the task, the material or the teacher in order to enable the pupil to solve a task.

Students can deserve cognitive, language, interactional, metalinguistic, involvement and physical demand as well as cognitive, language, interactional, metalinguistic, involvement and physical support. Moreover it is important that demand and support need to be well balanced (Cameron 2001: 25 ff.).


Excerpt out of 12 pages


Language teaching and language learning - Methods in a course book for German learners of English
University of Siegen
Teaching English: Methods And Approaches
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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533 KB
language, methods, german, english
Quote paper
Jens Goldschmidt (Author), 2008, Language teaching and language learning - Methods in a course book for German learners of English, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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