It is very important for a language teacher to know the Nature of English language Teaching and the way it is learnt. Our method of language teaching will differ whether we regard it as a system 01 a collection of words. Effective teaching of a language will depend on proper understanding of the nature of language and how it is learnt. The only satisfactory approach to the teaching of a foreign language like English is the one based on the nature of language.
English language teaching during the last few decades has been greatly influenced by our understanding of the nature of language. The finding that language is a system, has led to selection and gradation of structures and vocabulary. The fact the language is primarily speech, has underlined the importance of oral work in classroom teaching. The realization that language changes, has resulted in teaching descriptive rather than prescriptive grammar.
Learning a language is one thing and learning about a language is quite another. As such the knowledge of nature of language is learnt through drill, practice and repetition and not through rules. We know that all skills are based on knowledge. A skill has often been described as “knowledge put to active use”. An English teacher having the knowledge of nature of language does not waste his time or that of his students in teaching rules of grammar. He organizes basic structure of English. As a result, his students have greater mastery over English.
Nature of English language Teaching Is Good For All Language Teachers.
The knowledge of nature of language teaching also tells an English teacher that language is an arbitrary system. With such knowledge of nature of language, the English teacher teaches English as the educated native speakers of English use it now, not as they ought to use it.
Kitson says that emphasis should be laid on oral work to be done in the classrooms. Book work introduces activity. With this knowledge, he adopts the audio-lingual approach to teaching English. He does not hurry for the reading skill. He provides his students practice in listening and speaking English. He gives new material in spoken form before his students come across it in reading. As the students first learn to speak English well, they read and write it well later.
A teacher of English, having the knowledge of nature of language, understands that language is-a system and not a collection of words. He knows that learning English means learning its speech sounds, words and structures. With this he gives due importance to teaching of all these basics of language.
Pupils who have been taught through translation method often try to follow the same structure in English. Two languages differ in structure. As such the knowledge of nature of language helps an English teacher in avoiding the use of literal translation while teaching English.
He knows that every language is the product and relation of a society and culture. It has meaning only when it has strong link to that society and culture. Therefore, no two languages have exactly equal words or way of arranging words together. An English teacher having this knowledge about the nature of language teaches the meaning of new words in the situation in which they are used, and not by literal translation