MAThe Fundamentals of ELT Methodology

Credit points: 8
Contact hours: 150

Main Instructor

Janez Skela, PhD


Andreja Drašler, MA, Teaching Assistant
Janez Skela, PhD

Course Description

Specific course features:

The course is comprised of two compulsory parts/sections:

  • The Fundamentals of ELT Methodology
  • Lesson observations and reflective analysis

Training procedures used in the course:

lectures, seminar classes, workshops, practical classes, guided individual study, cooperative learning, experiential learning, guided group lesson observations (i.e. sitting in on lessons delivered by other teachers at primary and secondary schools)


The final mark is comprised of the following:

  1. regular attendance and active class participation: 20%
  2. seminar paper: 20%
  3. micro-teaching presentation: 10%
  4. lesson observation report: 10%
  5. exam: 40%

Grading scale of 6-10 (pass) and 1-5 (fail), in accordance with the Statutes of the University of Ljubljana and with the examination system of the Faculty of Arts.

The Fundamentals of ELT Methodology

Aims and Specific Competences:
  • to help the trainees transfer knowledge and competences gained within the General Teaching Module courses, and to show the trainees how to apply these general principles to the teaching of English;
  • to give the trainees a sound grasp of the nature of current language teaching methodology;
  • to develop in the trainees an understanding of the principles of (foreign) language teaching based on current theories concerning language acquisition, linguistics, language pedagogy, and the sociological and psychological aspects of learning;
  • to give the trainees a sound grasp of the theory of language teaching methodology so that they will not only understand what methods are appropriate in a given situation but also why they are appropriate;
  • to provide both the theoretical background to the Communicative Approach and opportunities to see how these ideas are manifested in practical classroom materials and procedures;
  • to study the factors involved in classroom teaching of English at the primary and secondary school levels, and, if possible, the teaching of English elsewhere;
  • to develop in the trainees an understanding of how different language skills are intertwined;
  • to introduce the trainees to basic features of teaching different language skills and subskills (i.e. listening, reading, speaking, writing, vocabulary, grammar), and help them learn how to teach these skills;
  • to develop in the trainees an understanding of cross-curricular links with other school subjects;
  • to help the trainees plan lessons based on different teaching sequences or models (e.g. presentation – practice – production, etc.);
  • to acquaint the trainees with different teaching materials used to teach English in primary and secondary schools;
  • to develop in the trainees the ability to use current ELT approaches creatively;
  • to develop in the trainees the capacity for self-evaluation and self-reflection, linked with an orientation towards autonomous learning which will help them to undertake their own continuous professional development and growth once their initial training is over;
  • to introduce the trainees to action research procedures, and thus increase their understanding of teacher-initiated classroom investigation.
Course Content:
  • A paradigm shift (from teacher-centredness to learner-centredness).
  • The interaction of (language) learning and teaching.
  • Distinction between L1 terms & L2 terms (implications for teaching).
  • Bilingualism, multilingualism, plurilingualism.
  • Learning vs. acquisition.
Learner-/learning-centred teaching.
  • Learner variables/characteristics: motivation, aptitude, age, learning styles and strategies, multiple intelligence theory, etc.
  • Attitudes to errors and error correction strategies. Interlanguage.

The nature of communication (the communication continuum, the information gap).

Class management (different interaction patterns: lockstep, pairwork, groupwork, individual work).

Developing language skills and subskills:

  • teaching listening
  • teaching speaking
  • teaching reading
  • teaching writing
  • teaching and learning vocabulary
  • teaching and learning grammar

Teaching literature and intercultural competence.

Transfer & models of language teaching and learning (e.g. presentation methodology & task-based methodology; the 'three Ps' model; the 'three-part skills' model; different formats of lesson plans).

A hierarchical system: techniques, methods & approaches.

  • Language teaching methods (principle features): grammar-translation method, direct method, audiolingual method, oral-situational method; communicative approach.
  • A short historical sketch of language teaching.
  • The notion of methods and the break with the method concept. Principled eclecticism.
Exploring theories of language learning (e.g. Krashen’s Monitor Model). Brown, H. D. 2001. Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. [2nd ed.]. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall Regents.
Brown, H. D. 2000. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. [4th ed.]. White Plains, NY: Longman.
Celce-Murcia, M. (ed.). 2001. Teaching of English as a Second or Foreign Language. [3rd ed.]. Boston, Mass.: Heinle & Heinle.
Chastain, K. 1988. Developing Second-Language Skills: Theory and Practice. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Doff, A. 1988. Teach English: A training course for teachers. [Trainer's handbook and Teacher's workbook]. Cambridge: CUP.
Harmer, J. 1998. How to Teach English. Harlow: Longman.
Harmer, J. 2007. The Practice of English Language Teaching. [4h ed.]. Harlow: Longman.
Johnson, K. 2001. An Introduction to Foreign Language Learning and Teaching. Harlow: Longman.
Larsen-Freeman, D. 2000. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. [2nd ed.]. Oxford: OUP.
Lightbown, P. and N. Spada. 1999. How Languages are Learned. [2nd ed.]. Oxford: OUP.
Nunan, D. 1999. Second Language Teaching and Learning. Boston, Mass.: Heinle & Heinle.
Omaggio Hadley, A. 2001. Teaching Language in Context. [3rd ed.]. Boston, Mass.: Heinle & Heinle.
Richards, J. C. and T. S. Rodgers. 2001. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. [2nd ed.]. Cambridge: CUP.
Richards, J. C. and W. A. Renandya (ed.). 2002. Methodology in Language Teaching: An Anthology of Current Practice. Cambridge: CUP.
Ur, P. 1996. A Course in Language Teaching: Practice and theory. Cambridge: CUP.

Lesson observations and reflective analysis

Specific course features Aims and Specific Competences:
  • to provide the student teachers with the opportunity to observe real teaching in different educational contexts;
  • to give observation skill practice;
  • to develop in the trainees the observation and processing skills involved in observing lessons delivered by other teachers;
  • to provide the student teachers with experience and practice in selecting an observation focus and appropriate observation tool (i.e. task) for observing lessons;
  • to help the trainees reflect on the methods, techniques and underlying principles involved, and relate these to their own experience;
  • to help the trainees relate the theoretical foundations of language pedagogy to practice, examine their attitudes, beliefs and assumptions, and then use the information obtained (i.e. descriptions of classroom events, considered interpretations) as a basis for critical reflection on teaching practices;
  • to develop in the trainees the ability to observe others (and oneself), and thus help them to undertake their own continuous professional development and growth once their initial training is over;
  • to develop the student teachers’ ability to talk about (their own) teaching explicitly;
  • to practise and develop the trainees' capacity to engage in team work and collaboration in general;
  • to practise a critical but respectful attitude towards other people's views;
  • to develop respect for everyone involved in the learning process, in particular the learner.
  • to practise moral principles and professional ethics.
Throughout this course observation is suggested as a way of gathering information about teaching, rather than a way of evaluating teaching.

The student teachers will be provided with experience and practice in selecting an observation focus and appropriate observation tool (i.e. task) for observing lessons. With the help of observation tasks, the trainees will learn how to observe different aspects of a lesson: the structure of a language lesson (opening, sequencing, pacing, closure), the lesson content, the aims of the lesson, the use of teaching aids, learner level, checking learning, managing interactive patterns, the teacher’s rapport with the students, student talking time vs. teacher talking time, asking questions, the skill of eliciting, dealing with errors, the use of the mother tongue, etc.

Course Literature:

Allwright, R. 1988. Observation in the Language Classroom. London: Longman.
Day, R. 1990. 'Teacher Observation in Language Teacher Education'. In: Richards, J. and Nunan, D. (eds.). Second Language Teacher Education. Cambridge: CUP.
Gower, R., D. Phillips, and S. Walters. 1995. Teaching Practice Handbook. Oxford: Heinemann.
Skela, J., U. Sešek, and M. Zavašnik. 2003. Pedagoška praksa: Teaching Practice Pack. Ljubljana: Zavod RS za šolstvo.
Wajnryb, R. 1992. Classroom Observation Tasks: A Resource Book for Language Teachers and Trainers.Cambridge: CUP.