Method, methods and methodology

Historical trends and current debates

Authored by: Graham Hall

The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching

Print publication date:  May  2016
Online publication date:  May  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415747394
eBook ISBN: 9781315676203
Adobe ISBN: 9781317384472


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Whether conceptualised as a disciplinary field (Richards and Rodgers, 2014) or a profession (Pennington and Hoekje, 2014), ELT is often characterised as being in ‘ferment’ (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 254) and subject to ‘fashions and trends’ (Adamson, 2004); debates surrounding language teaching methods and methodology have been central to this perceived flux. Yet we are also in an era when unifying narratives and overarching explanations of intellectual and social developments “are viewed with suspicion” (Canagarajah, 2006: 9); in attempting to explain and understand the past, histories are always partial because they are informed by particular viewpoints and biases (ibid.). Consequently, there are a number of differing accounts of the recent history of methods in ELT, each with its own emphases and each having implications for the way we might make sense of contemporary debates and practices within ELT. This chapter therefore aims to convey this range of perspectives on the development of methods in our field, narratives which, at times, diverge and offer conflicting accounts of the past and present.

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