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What is the difference between approach, method and techniques?

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A language learning approach consists of the following three elements:

views about the nature of language
beliefs about language learning, and
ideas about how the above should be applied practically to language learning and teaching.

Richard and Rogers (1986) cite the following examples of approaches:

The Oral Approach
The Structural Approach
The Natural Approach
The Communicative Approach
A language learning method is an overall plan for learning a second language, based on the theoretical approach selected. It involves the design of a syllabus for the course, which in turn consists of learning objectives and techniques for achieving those objectives.

There is often confusion among the terms,approach , method, and technique. These three terms may be viewed as points along a continuum from the theoretical (approach), in which basic beliefs about language and learning are considered, to design (method) in which a practical plan for teaching (or learning) a language is considered, to the details (technique) where the actual learning activity takes place.

Some language learning courses use basically only one technique. These courses could be said to be based on methods such as the Language Learning Cycle, Total Physical Response, or Suggestopedia. More commonly these days a variety of techniques are combined, so the term method is not used in the same sense. Furthermore, some people use the term method interchangeably with technique.

The following are examples of language learning methods:

The Language Learning Cycle
Total Physical Response
Counseling Learning
Direct Method

A language-learning technique is an explicit procedure or strategem used to accomplish a particular learning objective or set of objectives.

All of this can be found with deeper information at: http://www.sil.org/lingualinks/languagelearning/WaysToApproachLanguageLearning/IntroductionToWaysToApproachLa.htm


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Other Answers (1)

  • BonesofaTeacher answered 8 years ago
    you need to be more specific about the field you're asking about.
    in some fields they might mean the same thing.
    in other fields they might be carefully identified.
    for example in my field...
    as an instructor of meditative dance
    my approach is nonverbal, mostly self-directed. it would include things like my philosophy (people can learn for themselves and play is a good form of learning etc.)
    my method is structured sessions with meditative content--
    a sequence of assigned tasks that lead the person to themselves.
    the technique would be a specific exercise i would give ...
    for example..."do one movement on the inhale and another on the exhale"

    so as an instructor of linux
    my approach is matter-of-fact, businesslike, professional, content-oriented. it includes belief like lab is a better learning
    tool than lecture.
    my method is lecture and lab
    techniques might include using examples, going from known to unknown, going from simple to comples or big picture to little picture.

    so as a parent my approach is unconditional positive regard with internal motivation. my approach includes the belief that my children can learn for themselves and make their own decisions.
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