Language is not a subject of factual information or a store house of contents but a skill. Hence, its teaching requires a different treatment and different method of approach. We have to keep before us certain principles for its effective teaching and these principles are as follows-
(1) Starting with speaking, not writing-In making the child learn a language, he should be made to start with speaking, because language is primarily a spoken skill, writing and reading should come after learning speaking.
(2) Teaching the correct use of language-The teacher should teach the-correct use of language and not its linguistic history.
(3) Teaching language of everyday use-Emphasis should be laid on teaching language of everyday use and not the language of literacy, color and poetic imagination: The child should be taught to express his ideas in the simplest manner
(4) Teaching spoken language and not vocabulary-The child should be taught how to learn spoken language and use it for conveying his thoughts in a clear way. He should not be taught the use of difficult words. Teaching of language does not mean teaching of vocabulary.
(5) Principles of teaching English as a foreign language: Mother tongue is always learnt easily because there .is natural environment around. But this is not true about a foreign language. The child learns this language 41 his English classes held four or six periods a week. Therefore, it becomes difficult for him to learn the language.
Hence, a natural environment would be proceeded by-
(i) Talking to students in the target language in the class, playground etc.,
(ii) Arranging group discussions.
(6) Principles of exposure-The child learn the mother tongue more rapidly because he is more exposed to the environment, where this language is spoken or written. Hence, the teacher should try to expose students to an environment loaded with the foreign language.
(7) Principles of habit formation-“Language is essentially a habit forming process, a process during which we acquire new habits.”
An attempt should be made to form habits in the students for learning a language by the following process-
(1) Habit of listening to and distinguishing between sounds.
(2) Habit of speaking with proper intonation and accent.
(3) Habit of reading newspapers, magazines, story books, etc.
(4) Habit of silent reading.
(5) Habit of going to library.
(6) Habit of reading aloud with exact articulation.
(7) Habit of consulting a dictionary.
(8) Habit of using correct grammar.
(9) Habit of imitation.
(10) Habit of spelling.
(11) Habit of using words in their proper contexts.
(12) Habit of repeating.
(13) Habit of correct pronunciation.
(8) Teaching the language and not its literature-The child should be taught the simple use of language instead of introducing him to the realms of literature.
(9) Stress on practice and exercises-Language learning is acquired by practice and habit formation. So, great stress should be laid on practice instead of cramming exercises.
(10) Proceed from the concrete to the abstract-The teacher must begin his lesson with concrete things. He must talk about things and not about words. He must talk about the normal actions and even give a demonstration and must. The action is concrete in the pedagogic sense and the name ‘abstract’ and by performing an action and giving the word which expresses it, he is proceeding from the concrete to the abstract.
(11) Make all lessons interesting and attractive-This principle is as important for the teaching of English as for any other subject. In the earlier stages, lessons can be made interesting and attractive. Wren says, “by utilizing objects and pictures interesting to the class, as subjects conversation, by allowing all boys to do something as well as to say something, by giving fullest play, within the limits of good discipline of the childish instinct for activity change and movement, interest can be aroused and maintained.
(12) Making language learning interesting-Language learning should be made as much interesting as possible by using various modem methods and life like situations.
(13) Maximum Actions and Gestures-A Language teacher .. should ensure that the students try to learn the language with maximum ‘ use of actions and gestures.
(14) Teaching inductively-The teacher should try to do without such rules as the pupils cannot frame for themselves. If he wants to teach verb, he should not begin by giving its comprehensive definition and then verify his statement by giving a number of examples. Contrary to it, he should perform a number of actions and write their names on the board.
(15) Principles of passive and active vocabulary-One objective of teaching English is to increase the vocabulary of students. There are two kinds of vocabulary,
(i) Passive vocabulary-Those words which are recognized and understood, but never used in speaking and writing formulate this type of vocabulary.
(ii) Active vocabulary-Words which are understood and constantly used by the learner in speaking and writing form active vocabulary. A fruitful learning is one in recognized and understood words are used as active vocabulary. It means words of passive vocabulary should be used as active ones. The teacher should try to use familiar words in the class.
(16) Principles of Gradation-Gradation mean simplifying the matter. The idea behind the principles of gradation is to simplify the matter to such an extent that language learning becomes easier. It can be done on the basis of-
(i) Principle of grouping.
(ii) Principle of sequencing.
(iii) Grammatical sequence.
(iv) Lexical sequence.
(v) Semantic sequence.
(17) The principles of correlation with life-While teaching the subject, matter should be related to life, customs, traditions, peculiarities and characteristics of the particular society to which the students belong. In this way, teaching can be more meaningful and learning can be transferred to real life situations.
(18) Inspirational motive-Language teaching should be based on inspirational motive. The inspiration should lead the learner to learn more with the zeal of an internal urge. Language teaching should also be based on similar inspirational motive. The teacher and the pupil should consider language link as source of inspiration for life.
These are various principles of foreign language teaching. If the teacher wants to teach successfully in the class, he must follow these principles in teaching.