History of language teaching methods and nowadays teaching methodologies – par Ximena Natalia Burbano Riofrío

The following work briefly revisits the language teaching methods developed since the 15th century. From this recount, the author seeks to help the reader understand that each method’s development seems to respond to the historical context it was immersed in. Moreover, many of the methodological language teaching choices teachers presently apply, might have been proposed centuries ago, and possibly, due to the constrictions of the context, they could have been forgotten or set aside. Finally, this work aims to show that, due to the broad array of methodological options collected through history, current language instructors may prefer to merge them considering their learners’ needs and wants, their beliefs, and the educational setting.


1. Relevant methods from the 15th to the 19th Century in Europe

Language teaching in  15th century Europe is generally concerned with classical languages (Greek and Latin) using grammar-translation (Weihua, 2000). According to Weihua (2000),  classical learning was considered “a matter of prestige” (p. 251). However, the interest of learning living-languages also existed, although its teaching and learning focused on solving more practical matters. Thus, more feasible learning methods were expected to be used. For instance, during the 15th century, the appearance of language manuals showed the importance of acquiring a foreign language for specific purposes. Howatt and Widdowson (2004) indicate that these manuals were used by traders of the time during their commercial exchanges. They also point out that these texts provided merchant related phrases and vocabulary written in their L1 and translated to the L2. Pennycook (1989) equally illustrates that this speaking language learning material aimed for commercial purposes included: “… dialogues for giving directions, obtaining lodging at inns, and buying and selling goods…” (p. 598). Consequently, these manuals seem to portray an early self-taught language translation method because formal language education was probably not available for all merchants, maybe due to the nature of their job, which required long trips.

Roger Ascham’s Double Translation Method, developed in the 16th century, similarly imitates the previously presented manuals. During Elizabethan times, a big wave of migration materialised in England due to the burst of protestant persecution in France, Italy and Spain (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004). According to Howatt and Widdowson (Ibid.), this migration phenomenon obliged foreign language teachers to seek ways to teach the country’s language as it did not possess teaching popularity. Consequently, Howatt and Widdowson (Ibid.) continue by explaining that bilingual manuals (aforementioned) became the guidelines for English language textbooks. Additionally, they highlight that due to the lack of native language instructors, experienced French teachers, such as Bellot and Holyband, undertook this teaching task. These teachers faced this challenge by applying Ascham’s method, which focused on presenting authentic situational dialogues in the target language and their translation to the learners’ L1. This material was read out loud and written by students in both languages, causing memorisation through repetition (Howatt and Widdowson, Ibid.). This rudimentary way of teaching seems to offer continuity to the importance of using the L1 to learn an L2 through the use of formulaic expressions. According to Ellis (2008), these expressions are pre-elaborated phrases obtained from everyday dialogues. Consequently, it could have been advantageous for immigrants to memorise L2 sentences that could have been casually used in daily communication, especially if they wanted to sound native-like. 

This native-like goal might have been expected to be accomplished not only by memorising phrases but also by imitating accurately the phonological component that languages have. This phonological component includes pronunciation, which seems to play a crucial role in conveying a message during a communicative exchange. As Christensen (1970) emphasises, language learners experience difficulty identifying sounds from the L2, especially if they do not exist in their native language. Consequently, Howatt and Widdowson (2004) explain that in 1570 John Hart developed a method that allowed teachers and students to work on pronunciation. This method presented pictures accompanied by words exemplifying the sound expected to be practised. Hart’s method offered a progressively graded phonetical development. As Howatt and Widdowson (Ibid.) indicate, Hart’s teaching material works first with “the five vowel letters (a, e, i, o, u) and five selected consonants (l, m, n, r, and h)  chosen because they are easy to ‘sound out’…” (p. 89) moving forward to more complicated sounds, which all are practised through drilling. 

As can be seen, the use of L1 to teach a foreign language seems to be commonly used during these two centuries. The preference for translation could respond to two possible explanations that are not mutually exclusive. The first one might be due to the lack of need to interact with speakers of other languages. This lack of contact with speakers of other languages would have been a possibility as during those centuries travelling was not as common as nowadays most likely due to the long-lasting journey travellers had to experience to get from one country to another. Therefore, as previously presented, the possible most common language learners were immigrants and traders who possibly expected to learn an L2 in a straightforwardly practical manner. The second could be the possible inexistent language teaching research leading to a constricted methodological repertoire. Therefore, possibly the most logical way of teaching was offering learners L2 phrases that were considered valuable to learn and accompanying them with their L1 equivalents, in order to understand their meaning and simply memorise them. This memorisation went along with pronunciation practice as well. This practice might not only aim to make communication flow, which could have been the merchants’ goal, but also enable immigrants to be considered part of society.

In the 17th century, a focus on grammatical accuracy appeared in the language teaching field. As Kelly (1976) claims, the illustration of grammatical components using learners’ mother tongue was performed during the mid-seventeenth century. Similarly, McLelland (2018) states that during the 16th and 17th centuries, language textbooks suggested at the beginning to learn by heart the grammar presented in it. Thus, language teaching seems to slowly change its aim from learning functional language to concentrating on its grammatical rules. However, in the first half of the 17thcentury, Jan Amos Comenius defied this stated current and offered to this teaching field innovative methodologies that can be identified in methods from the 20th century and even nowadays. According to Howatt and Widdowson (2004), Comenius longed to offer a method that turned teachers’ roles from testers to facilitators. Thus, he presented pictures and objects during his classes as means to practice the L2. He also facilitated phonetics learning by showing diverse pictures in which animal noises were represented and linked to the letter sounds. Moreover, Kelly (1976) mentions that Comenius taught through demonstrations, for learners to imitate in order to associate the situation presented in the target language with its meaning. This connective action with meaning appears to apply a similar rationale to that behind Total Physical Response (TPR), a 20th century method developed by Asher (1981 – see below). 

Although Comenius offered more learner-centred methodologies, the grammatical influence of this period continued in the 18th century as well. As Pennycook (1989) claims, “the Enlightenment emphasis on rational thought and coherent theorizing brought about an increased emphasis on formal and rule based study…” (p. 598). Therefore, methods developed during this time seem to follow the mentioned trend. Moreover, the spread of literature as a possible result of the printing press and the Industrial Revolution could have also played an important role when determining the aim of language teaching. As Howatt and Widdowson (2004) highlight, the German population was exposed to Shakespeare’s work provoking the interest to learn this author’s language to read his texts. Consequently, a method, which embodies these two period main characteristics, ought to be offered to a population with expanded access to a wider variety of writing pieces. In reply to these events, the Grammar Translation Method (GTM) made its appearance and according to McLelland (2018) and Reinfried (2018) its popularity spread in Europe. However, this method was not a new 18th century discovery.  As Weihua (2000) highlights: “the Grammar-translation method was first adopted by the Europeans in the Middle Ages when Latin and Greek were learned and taught” (pp. 250-251). Nevertheless, the GTM was considered to be developed by Johann Valentin Meidinger in Germany in 1973 (Reinfried, 2018). Meidinger’s work offered language learners translating tasks in both directions, from L1 to L2 and vice versa (Kelly, 1976). According to Larsen-Freeman (1987), these translating tasks aimed to allow students to improve their L2 proficiency in order to have access to literature written in foreign languages while improving their L1 through translations. 

During the 19th century, the emphasis on grammar shifted to communication. As Pennycook (1989) highlights, “… a strong drive at the end of the 19th century once again moved the spoken language to the fore” (p. 598). For instance, Claude Marcel’s Rational Method, developed during the 1850s, includes the practice of the four skills assembled in impression and expression, which nowadays are known as receptive and productive skills (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004). Although proposing the exercise of language four skills, according to Howatt & Widdowson (Ibid.), Marcel stressed that reading was the first encounter with the L2. Consequently, the focus of the 18th century in literature seems to influence this method. However, at the end of the 19th century, as Pennycook (Ibid.) mentioned, the speaking skill gained interest, particularly pronunciation. Ashby and Przedlacka (2018) denote that the focus on pronunciation made way for the emergence of language laboratories centred on phonetic research. One such laboratory, Rousselot’s, took the lead in this trend in the 1890s. The rising of these laboratories coincided with The Reform Movement, which, according to Howatt and Widdowson (2004), turned the speaking skill into the core ability to be developed in language learning. This emphatic interest was portrayed in Henry Sweet’s Practical Study of Language. Howatt & Widdowson (Ibid.) denote that Sweet’s work’s starting point in language teaching was the presentation of phonetics through pronunciation and transcription practice. Sweet’s teaching rationale seems to support speaking accuracy and native-like pronunciation, portraying the swapping from grammatical to oral language focus.  

This communication trend showed its continuity in the Natural Method proposed by Lamber Sauveur during the second half of the 19th century. Howatt and Widdowson (2004) explain that Sauveur’s method implied asking students a series of related questions that they were capable of answering. This process could have aided learners in practising the language from the beginning, forcing them to use words and/or phrases they already listened to during class. This communication practice might have permitted language pupils to learn the L2 inductively while practising. This learning through interaction was popularised by Maximilian D. Berlitz under the name of the Direct Method. As Howatt & Widdowson (Ibid.) recount, this method suggested solely using the L2 during class, similarly to the Natural Method. Therefore, any type of translation was forbidden, and the meaning explanation could have been done through realia, images, and/or possible long illustrations in the target language. The demand for teachers to use only the foreign language required a high level of proficiency (Larsen-Freeman, 1987). Therefore, Berlitz’s schools employed native speakers to teach the target language through the Direct Method (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004). Due to these types of communication centred methods, the importance of native language speakers might have started.


2. Language Teaching Methods of the 20th Century in Europe and The United States of America

During the 20th century, language teaching seems to have changed its focus from purely communication, like in the case of the Direct Method, to oral repetitive oriented, until the 1960s, although this trend went back to communication centred methods with a humanistic trend during the 1970s and 1980s. 

In the 1930s, Harold Palmer’s proposal emphasised sentence pattern drillings performed only in the target language to help students learn the L2 through memorisation (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004). This proposition supports language learning through oral performance and the sole use of the L2 during class. Consequently, these two characteristics seem to show the reminiscence of the Direct and Natural Method methodological influence. However, the free communicative interaction was replaced by pattern repetition. This learning through drilling continued during the 1950s and 1960s as part of the methodological language teaching repertoire. 

During the 1950s, the end of the Second World War (WWII) played an essential role in several fields, one of them being the language teaching domain. The Army Specialised Training Program (ASTP), developed during WWII in the United States to help soldiers to learn the enemies’ L2 in a short period through oral repetition (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004), performed a vital part in the Audio-Lingual Method (ALM) development (Allwright, 1983). According to Lightbown and Spada (2018), learning through drilling from the beginning using native language samples allowed learners to avoid L1 interference and acquire accuracy in pronunciation. Therefore, ASTP could have used this rational argument during its practice which later became the keystone of the ALM. However, the sole use of repetition might have been considered insufficient to shape a method. According to Richards and Rodgers (2001), a method is expected to integrate design, approach and theory. Consequently, ALM was formed by: drilling practice, the Aural Oral approach, which was a structural linguistics by-product that evaluated the L1 interference (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004; Richards & Rodgers, 2001), and the Behavioural Theory, which proposed habit formation through positive feedback and error correction (Hall, 2018; Richards & Rodgers, 2001). This convergence helped the ALM development, which emphasises the oral progression of the language over reading and writing, as those skills are considered less frequently used (Brooks, 1975). This oral development was performed through drilling exercises, that encapsulated the language samples in recorded native language dialogues previously prepared, considering learners’ proficiency and a meticulous contrastive analysis (Larsen-Freeman & Anderson, 2011; Richards & Rodgers, 2001).

The drilling tendency continued its immersion in other methods, such as the Structuro-Global Audio-Visual (SGAV) developed in France during the 1960s. Conversely to the ALM, the SGAV used drilling exercises as practising tasks to work on learners’ phonological value. Additionally, this method accepted the existence of errors due to learners’ lack of knowledge of particular sounds that are part of the L2 but not of the L1. As Christensen (1970) claims, the incapability of acknowledging and producing certain target language sounds is due to their inexistence in students’ mother tongue. Consequently, Rivenc et al. (2003) indicate that the SGAV includes Guberina’s verbo-tonale method, which defends progressive phonological development. Moreover, as Christensen (1970) highlights, this method is “… based on LISTENING, REPEATING, UNDERSTANDING” (p. 68). Therefore, according to the Center for Curriculum Development in Audio-Visual Language-Teaching et al. (1969), Renard and Van Vlasselaer (1976) and Rivenc et al. (2003), the SGAV depends on the use of pictures that are accompanied by recordings of native speakers’ dialogues. These materials help learners infer language meaning, progressively imitate the native pronunciation, rhythm and intonation through repetition, and use the acquired language during free practice. This free practice simulates a similar situation as those presented in the dialogues (Center for Curriculum Development in Audio-Visual Language-Teaching et al., 1969; Renard & Van Vlasselaer, 1976; Rivenc et al., 2003). According to these characteristics, it is paramount to point out that, even though the SGAV method applies drillings to encourage phonological accuracy and offers situational dialogues to aid learners extract language meaning, it does not follow the same principles as the ALM. Consequently, although these two methods appeared during similar periods, both follow a different language learning process. 

These teacher-centred methods developed during the first half of the 19th century came to an end during the 1970s, when the humanistic trend took over. As Stevick (1990) denotes, humanistic waves of change surged during the 1970s in the language teaching field. Khatib et al. (2013) explain that this humanistic movement focused on accepting that students possess learning capability as well as needs and emotions expected to be considered and met. Consequently, as Bruton (2007) mentions, learners were positioned as the main actors within the language teaching field during this period. Moreover, errors are considered part of the learning process due to language manipulation during its practice (Ibid.). From this humanistic perspective, methods such as the Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Community Language Learning, and Total Physical Response (TPR) were developed.

The Silent Way, developed by Caleb Gategno, similarly to its predecessors, considered listening and speaking as the first source of input. As Larsen-Freeman (1987) explains, learners are introduced to the target language through listening and speaking and move to reading and writing only after these skills have been developed. Moreover, Larsen-Freeman (1987) and Richards and Rodgers (2001) highlight the vital role of pronunciation in this method as a special coloured coded sound chart is used to assist learners in developing this linguistic item. Equally, the Silent Way defends grammar learning through an inductive process (Larsen-Freeman, 1987; Richards & Rodgers, 2001). Despite the reminiscence of previous methods, the Silent Way acknowledges students’ autonomy in the learning process. The teacher becomes only a facilitator without constant intervention, and error correction is mainly performed by learners’ peers (Larsen-Freeman, 1987). Consequently, this method seems to have placed learners’ self-assessment as its core strategy, leaving aside teachers’ controlling role in previous times. 

Georgi Lozanov’s Suggestopedia portrayed an intense level of libertarianism, a characteristic typically representative of the 70s. This current can be seen in the methodological choices of this method. As Larsen-Freeman (1987)recounts, learners exposed to Suggestopedia received a handout containing dialogues in the L2 with their translation expected to be read rhythmically according to the music played in the background. Moreover, Larsen-Freeman (Ibid.) indicates that role-plays, games and musical activities were performed to practice the dialogues previously read so they can be interiorised by the learners. These strategies aim to avoid students’ stress allowing them to feel prepared to learn (Kumaravadivelu, 2006) and develop their communicative skills (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). 

Following this free dialogue practice, Charles Curran’s Community Language Learning (CLL) offered learners a translated transcription of a previously recorded audio of dialogues students had on their first encounter (Larsen-Freeman, 1987). While the CLL used learners’ L1 and motivated them to participate from the beginning, other methods, such as the Comprehension Approach, allowed students to remain silent until they felt ready to use the L2 (Ibid.). On the other hand, methods such as TPR maintained that through verbal commands accompanied by a physical response, learners could extract language meaning (Cain, 2000; Celestino, 1993; Herrell & Jordan, 2016; Richards & Rodgers, 2001). As Asher (1981) mentions, provoking response through movement permits students to store language in their long-term memory. Consequently, it is expected that learners need less translation as physical responses may offer language meaning and allow students to save the information recently acquired in a more permanent way. 

As noticed above, the surge of learner-centred methods developed the lost wave of communicative interactions that re-appeared in the 19th century and was shadowed by the behaviourist methods. This regained communicative trend reached its peak with the appearance of the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach. According to Larsen-Freeman (1987) and Richards and Rodgers (2001), CLT allows learners to practice the L2 four skills through verbal interactions to generate negotiation of meaning and solve language gaps that might appear during the oral exchange. Pica (2000) highlights that this communicative process is practised through teamwork monitored by the teacher. As Pica (Ibid.) and Richards and Rodgers (2001) clarify, this teacher monitoring role expects to fulfil the aim of facilitating interaction instead of controlling, testing or correcting this language exchange. Consequently, this suggested approach seems to seek a participative role on behalf of language students. They should generate their L2 knowledge through speaking interactions and self and peer corrections, turning teachers into spectators that will intervene only when a communication blockage appears. Thus, learners acquire the responsibility of their learning by owning the language while using it during communication. 

As can be inferred from the previous explanation, CLT promotes inductive grammar learning. However, methods focused on communication, but that also considered to include tasks as part of their methodological strategies, emerged (Waters, 2012). As Pica (2000) stresses, putting aside forms when teaching a foreign language causes a breach in grammatical accuracy development. In response to this dilemma, the Task-Based Language Teaching (TBLT) approach was proposed. According to Ellis (2009), TBLT includes tasks directed to oral fluency as well as grammatical development. Therefore, this approach addresses two fronts in language teaching: communication and structural accuracy working in language four skills.

As can be extracted from the previously developed paragraphs, the 20th century marked the turn of the tide for language teaching methods. From this time, teacher-centred approaches slowly faded away, making room for various learned-centred proposals mainly focused on communicative activities. Therefore, accepting mistakes as part of the learning process seems to allow learners to interact more freely, making way for inductive language development when performing communicative tasks. This rediscovery of communicative methods, whose appearance came back to the 17th century, opened the door to new proposals that challenged the methods’ existence. 


3. New Proposals responding to Methods’ constriction and Language Teaching Methods Research

From the brief history of methods previously summarised, methodologies evolved with time, and more learned-centred ones emerged. According to Larsen-Freeman and Anderson (2011), the emergence of a wide variety of methodologies from which teachers can choose allows them to make informed choices for their classroom while developing professionally. Consequently, the mixture of diverse teaching strategies to respond to learners’ needs and expectations opens the way for new proposals such as Eclecticism and Postmethod.

Although Eclecticism might be considered a recent proposal, Claude Marcel’s Rational Method, developed in the 19thcentury, should be acknowledged as possibly the first appearance of Eclecticism. Howatt and Widdowson (2004)explain that Marcel grouped methods into two types. The first corresponds to Analytic Methods, which aim to teach L2 structure inductively. In contrast, the second group, named Synthetic Methods, requires drilling, exercises, and grammatical explanations. Marcel indicates that merging these two categories could produce a good method “but in different proportions depending on the characteristics of the learner and the relationship between the immediate learning task and the general aims of education” (Howatt & Widdowson, 2004, p. 172). Therefore, traces of Eclecticism appeared long ago. However, its acceptance and popularity during recent centuries could be thanks to the 20th-century humanistic trend. The advocacy that learners’ characteristics and needs should be considered when teaching might have motivated teachers to select methodologies and not methods that suit best their students. This merge of methodological choices is portrayed in research as well, such as Liu (2009) and Renandya et al. (1999). 

Despite the practicality that Eclecticism may possess, Kumaravadivelu (1994) claims that this proposal implies selecting diverse language teaching methodologies and unifying them arbitrarily. Consequently, Kumaravadivelu brought forward a counterproposal under the name of Postmethod. According to Akbari (2008), this term was introduced for the first time in Kumaravadivelu (1994). Thus, it is a methodological alternative of the turn of the 20thcentury. This modern approach, according to Kumaravadivelu (2003) and (2006), is formulated following three main principles: particularity, practicality, and possibility. These principles are explained in the mentioned texts as follows. In the case of the first, teachers recognise their characteristics and those of their learners. The second one focuses on selecting the most befitting strategies that will permit teachers to accomplish their teaching goals. The third and final one refers to acknowledging the constrictions and liberties instructors can have depending on their teaching context. Kumaravadivelu (1994) remarks that these guidelines allow beginner teachers to choose a variety of methodologies that pursue an organised and rational structure, contrary to Eclecticism. However, Akbari (2008) considers that Postmethod is a replica of Eclecticism, while Ur (2013) believes that this approach possesses similar characteristics to a method. From these two opposing views, it can be concluded that despite offering certain liberty in methodology selection, Postmethod proposes that these choices are expected to be done considering specific guidelines to obtain a structured class, that even novice teachers are capable of preparing. 

After centuries of scholars advocating what they considered the best methodological processes, present-day teachers can choose a mixture of strategies they deem best for their students and context. Research such as Liu (2009)obtained quantitative data in 1999 from 448 teachers, that showed that the majority preferred to put CLT and the Eclectic Method into practice. Similarly, Renandya et al. (1999) conducted a study which surveyed 212 English teachers from 10 Asian countries. The collected information revealed that the informants practise a combination of structural and communicative methods. In a similar manner, Flores Vélez and Cedeño Macías (2016) reported that from the responses collected from 27 surveyed teachers, results display that the answer “always” to the employment of the surveyed methods shared a similar percentage. For instance, Grammar Translation Method (27.94%), Task-Based Approach (27.92%), Communicative Techniques (26.47%), and Suggestopedia (25%) share an almost equal part. Consequently, from all these quantitative studies, it may be concluded that teachers in this new era prefer the fusion of diverse methodologies with a slight inclination to the communicative ones. 

Methodological adaptation is also shown in diverse qualitative research that recounts classroom observations and interviews. For instance, Wesely et al. (2021) gathered data from 10 language teachers in the United States through the mentioned research methods plus a survey. The outcome uncovers the application of the Postmethod proposal, although only two principles were used: particularity and possibility. Teachers in this study indicated that they sought the integration of their teaching beliefs, learners’ needs, and the district’s educational guidelines. Another example is Phipps and Borg’s (2009) study, which obtained data conducting classroom observations and interviews with three language teachers in Turkey. Results indicated that despite teachers’ dislike for teaching grammar deductively, adjustments were demanded, as learners had a marked choice for grammatical explanations. As Phipps and Borg’s (Ibid.) claim: “factors which led teachers to teach in ways contrary to their stated beliefs were primarily student expectations and preferences, and classroom management concerns (p. 387). Therefore, from these two qualitative focused studies, it may be concluded that changes can be performed to teaching language methodologies in order to adapt them to learners’ wants and needs, teachers’ preferences and according to the context constrictions. 


4. Final Thoughts 

As can be inferred from this brief recount of the language teaching method history, the preference between communicative focus and grammatical accuracy has fluctuated back and forth depending on the needs and context of each century. For instance, during the 15th-century, language teaching aimed to develop communicative phrases which merchants could easily use. While in the 18th century, emphasis on grammar surged probably due to the combination of two historical occurrences: the invention of the printing press and the Industrial Revolution. Therefore, the access to literature could have motivated learners to focus more on their development in reading and writing. Contrary to the 19th century and part of the 20th century, when communicative importance was brought back into the picture. Despite the cyclical change of language teaching focus, the subject of importance seems to have developed in a linear way as it has moved from teacher-centred to learner-centred methods.   

These cyclical and linear methodological transformations portray Prabhhu’s (1990) claim, which indicates that “it is only when we can show a relationship between a contextual factor and a methodological decision that the contextual factor becomes significant for pedagogy” (p. 164). This claim can be supported by Wesely et al. (2021) and Phipps and Borg (2009) research, which showed that teaching strategies had to be adapted according to the educational setting. Consequently, the context, whether historical, geographical or educational, seems to dictate the methodological choices teachers put into practice in their classroom. Additionally, the wide variety of methodological strategies that language instructors currently have, allowed them to select those that best suit their students and the circumstances surrounding them. Although there is a mixture of language teaching methodologies, as shown in research such as Liu (2009), Renandya et al. (1999) and Flores Vélez and Cedeño Macías (2016), teachers were inclined to use the communicative ones. 

However, these studies were undertaken under normal teaching circumstances. The COVID-19 pandemic altered these circumstances forcing language teachers to move from face to face teaching to a distance mode. Current research has shown that this change of teaching setting affected the selection of methodological strategies in all the teaching fields. For instance, Barton (2020) conducted a study to identify the impacts in the teaching field created by the mentined pandemic. This research was conducted in 2020 collecting information from 117 instructors from diverse fields, representing 70 colleges and universities in the United States. Results unveiled “…perceived negative effects of teaching modality shifts on field teaching during spring 2020 and upcoming semesters…” (p. 12503). The negative effects mentioned were the “…reduction or elimination of learning outcomes typically taught in field activities …, a shift to remote teaching activities that appear less student-centered …, and adoption of remote teaching activities that instructors viewed as relatively poor quality substitutes …” (p. 12503). On the other hand, Nesterchuk et al. (2020)highlight the diverse tools and interesting strategies that an online platform can offer to students, such as games or speed quizzes like Kahoot.  However, they also denote the important challenges students faced in this digital environment. From these difficulties, it was mentioned that the lack of motivation and concentration affected students’ class participation. Therefore, this author considers that new research should be presented to identify the methodological changes that language instructors could have made during this time. As mentioned in Barton (2020), language teachers might also utilise a similar solution to deal with this digital challenge by switching to more teacher-centred strategies that could not be the norm in face to face teaching. Even less popular methods, such as the GTM, could have been applied in order to face this new online setting, revealing that it might represent a constriction for certain methodologies. These possible results can aid the understanding of the freedoms and constrictions a digital classroom context might present to both students and teachers. Additionally, this proposed study might allow teachers and researchers to determine whether the communicative tendency continued, despite the change to an online setting or was replaced by a different one. 



Ximena Natalia Burbano Riofrío

Université de Perpignan Via Domitia – CRESEM Research Unit, 52 Avenue Paul Alduy 66860, Perpignan – France. 

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, Avenida 12 de Octubre 1076 y Vicente Ramón Roca, Quito – Ecuador.

Acknowledgement: The author thanks the FSPI Project – Doctoral Schools, from the French Embassy in Ecuador, financed by the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.


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