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ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY

METHODOLOGY AS A CONCEPT AND ITS RELEVANCE IN EFL TEACHING AND


PLANNING

By: Claudia Snchez


Gerardo Prez
Class:English as a Foreign
Language Methodology
Professor: Roxanna Correa Prez

August 25th, 2014. Concepcin.

Many teachers round the world talk about methodology, yet some of
them know exactly what methodology is and its relevance in teaching English
as a foreign language. To know what methodology is, some authors must be
analysed in order to achieve some knowledge about the topic. According to
Scrivener (2005), it refers to a way of teaching. It has to do with what language
is, how people learn, how teaching helps people learn. The teacher has to make
methodological decisions about the aims of a course, what to teach, teaching
techniques, activity types, ways of relating with students, ways of assessing.
Due to what has been defined, it has been come up with a definition of what it is
believed methodology is:
Methodology is a process which helps and guides the teacher at the time
of making a lesson plan to answer the main questions that may appear,
such as what to teach, how to teach and to whom. Furthermore,
methodology helps teachers to be aware of how students learn in order
to use different techniques to foster students learning process.(Prez &
Sanchez, 2014)
In addition to that, as methodology is important for the learning and teaching
process, planning a lesson must be considered as crucial for both novice
teachers and experienced teachers. Planning lessons are important for
teachers because as Woodward (pp.1, 2006) states they are to help us shape
the spaces, time and learning we share with students. Thus, our definition of
methodology will be explained through the development of this essay;
furthermore, it will be analysed why and how planning a lesson is a good
method to clarify your thoughts, to organise the activities and tasks and it will
always tell that you care about the learning process of your students.

To start with, there are many definitions about what methodology is and
most of them are not related to one another. It means that those definitions may
confuse some readers if they are not proficient enough in the subject. However,
competent readers might complement their knowledge and even take
advantage of it. In our opinion, an appropriate definition is that which can
explain and clarify the concept, in a complete and smooth form. Considering
that, we strongly believe that our definition is appropriate because it carries the

elements that were discussed above. It is important to highlight that we are not
saying that other definitions are wrong, because as we mentioned before, there
are many authors that have defined the concept properly. However, it is the
reader the one who decides if a definition is suitable or not, depending on their
amount of knowledge. On the other hand, our own definition (Prez and
Snchez, 2014) has been based on Scriveners, and it was created in order to
be understood by anyone, from a person who does not know anything about
methodology, to a competent person in this topic. There have been linked the
three main aspects that are involved in an English teaching class; Teacher,
students and content, or as Kansanen and Meri (1999) points out, the didactic
triangle. Hence, the aspects of what to teach, how to teach and to whom are not
only part of our definition. For instance, Scrivener (2005), cited by Correa
(2014), emphasizes the issue of what to teach when he claims that the teacher
has to make methodological decisions about the aims of a course, what to
teach, teaching techniques, activity types, ways of relating with students, ways
of assessing.On the other hand, Brown (2001) relates the question how to teach
with methodology when he mentions thatwhatever considerations are
involved in how to teach are methodological. Similarly, Tamura (pp. 169, 2006)
points out that the methodology of teaching English has to take into account the
problems posed by the English language for the students who will learn it which
means that to whom (student) is an important part of methodology. Therefore,
these three questions (what to teach, how to teach and to whom) that are part
of our own definition of methodology are also aspects concerned in planning
lessons which will be develop throughout the rest of the essay.

Whilst teaching a lesson, different unexpected situations may appear and


if the teacher has not planned or even prepared beforehand a class, it is
possible for the class to be an altogether mayhem. Although there are some
issues against planning lessons. As Woodward (pp. 3-4, 2006) suggests that
those issues might be different according to the experience that educators
have; moreover, those concerns are the following: a beginner teacher might
claim that planning takes too long and on the other hand an experienced
teacher would state that it is getting boring. Whatever your position or dislike
about planning, a teacher must not utter that planning is not worthy or even that

is not necessary. For instance, a beginner teacher that claims that planning
takes too long is because they need to follow too many steps to fulfil an
assignment given by their supervisor. Sometimes planning could be too long for
them due to their lack of experience and beginner teachers might need more
guidance, and that is why they need to fulfil those tedious planning sheets.
Even though that it may take too long, beginners cannot deny that those hours
are worthy and those sheets accomplish their goals. On the contrary, more
experienced teachers may state that it is too boring due to that they have
enough experience to think and prepare a lesson while having breakfast or
even while driving to school. For most experienced teachers, it is not necessary
to sit down and take some notes in order to have a clear idea of what to do in a
lesson plan. Although teachers are able to fulfil a class without any
inconvenience, it does not mean that it is not necessary for you to plan it
(Woodward, 2006). A classroom is not a place where a teacher can improvise
and do whatever he or she wants, it is a place where learning occurs and what
is more important a teacher deals with humans that are part of a society.
Finally, it does not matter whether you are beginner or an experienced teacher,
you cannot utter that planning is not necessary. Planning helps teacher to have
a clear idea of what to teach; it does not matter whether you write down a whole
document or just a few notes in your notebook but it is worthy.

Furthermore, planning lessons might not be the most pleasant


experience for teachers, still planning helps educators to come up with
organised tasks and activities that foster students learning process. Every
lesson that a teacher prepares must be connected with the previous one which
means that the activities must be coherent and there should be variety (Harmer,
1989: 162). Thereupon, planning lessons are useful for teachers to have some
guidance in order to know what activity teachers should prepare after a specific
lesson. As it was said before, some experienced teachers may claim that it is
too boring or not necessary, still having a sort of script of what you have being
doing is altogether valuable since they will show you if what you are going to do
is coherent or even relevant. Besides, Harmer (1989) suggests that students
will want to see a coherent pattern of progress and topic-linking so that there is
a transparent connection between lessons, and so they can perceive some

overall aims and objectives to their program of study. It means that it is not only
for teachers to have something to help them to create some coherent activities
but for students it is important to notice variety and coherence as well.
Moreover, there are two dangers according to Harmer (1989) that may
prejudice the success of a sequence of lessons. Those are the following: the
first is predictability which means that students will know what to expect of your
lessons and as a consequence of that motivation would be not enough to
arouse their curiosity. The second one is sameness which means that students
might not feel as excited as they used to be (Harmer, 1989: 162). Thus,
planning lessons benefit teachers to create a variety of activities and to design a
coherent sequence of lessons that promote students learning process.

Therefore, students may not know about what planning lessons are
about whatsoever, yet students are the main audience that a teacher has.
Students might be able to tell whether a class was previously prepared or not,
as well. They have the ability of seeing every detail, both good and bad. This
situation should be the main reason of why is important to plan a lesson, since
whether students realize when a class is not well prepared or even when it is
not prepared at all, they would lose the confidence on the teacher. It is crucial to
highlight that in a class it is necessary the existence of confidence between the
teacher and the students in order to make the learning process a success and
to accomplish the aim of the class. Therefore, if there is not any confidence, it
would be more difficult to achieve the meaningful learning for both, the teacher
and the students. In addition, to plan the lesson would show the students how
important is their learning process to the teacher. Harmer (1998) claims that for
students, evidence of a plan shows that the teacher has devoted time to
thinking about the class. In other words, students perceive when a teacher
cares about their learning process just by watching what he or she does whilst
teaching. Fortunately for some teachers, a lesson plan does not need to be the
formal and elaborated one, it could be some notes as well, according to Harmer
(1998) but even the notes are still a plan of a kind. Finally, teachers should
consider to plan their lessons in order to have a guide which could improve the
teaching process.

On the whole, English as a foreign language methodology is related to


planning lessons in several ways that were analysed in brief above. Starting
with our own definition, it could be said that indeed it is appropriate in the sense
that it could be understood by everyone and because it contains the main
aspects of didactic that are teachers, students and content, as well. Likewise,
these three concepts are present in the questions how to teach, what to teach
and to whom. Furthermore, those important issues must be covered by any
teacher whilst planning a lesson. How to teach, in the whole, refers to the way a
teacher plans a lesson and it is worthy to plan because it clarifies the teachers
thoughts and ideas and how they will perform in front of a class. On the other
hand, what to teach is altogether related to the content and wherefore to
activities, more specifically, that will be developed in a class. If a teacher plans
the content and activities to develop in a class, there will be no danger of
sameness and predictability because his/her lessons will be created carefully.
Finally, to whom refers to the learner which is the most important element,
because he or she is the one that learns. It is necessary to mention that teacher
and content must be related in order to foster students learning process. There
is no other way for us to demonstrate that teachers care about it than planning
carefully the lessons and students notice when a teacher prepares his/her
classes; wherefore, students can tell whether their teachers care about them
and their learning process. Concluding, methodology and planning lessons are
undoubtedly related to each other and our definition of methodology is
appropriate not only because emphasises what it is, but also because it is
related to planning and why and how planning is as worthy to improve teaching
as to promote the learning process.

References
Brown, H. (2001). Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language
Pedagogy. New York, NY: Pearson Longman.
Correa, R. (2014, August). English Language Methodology [Power point
Presentation].
Harmer, J. (1998).How to teach English. Harlow: Pearson Longman.
Gower, R. Philips, D. & Walters, S. (2005). Teaching Practice, A handbook for
teachers intraining.Oxford, UK: Macmillan.
Prez, G. & Snchez, C. (2014).Definition of Methodology[PowerPoint slides].
Concepcin.
Scrivener J. (2005).Learning Teaching.Oxford, UK: Macmillan.
Tamura, E.T. (2006). Concepts of the Methodology of Teaching English.The
Economic Journal of Takasaki City University of Economics.48(3), 169188.
Woodward, T. (2006).Introduction.Planning Lessons and Courses: Designing
sequences of work for the language classroom (pp. 1-15). UK:
Cambridge University Press.