Busted! 7 Myths of Language Teaching

English language teaching is strewn with various people’s pet theories and claims about what it takes to teach English. A lot of these ideas are absolute nonsense or have been disputed by research, but unfortunately, some of them have taken hold in teaching practice.

One such myth is the idea that students can learn a language through input (reading and listening) alone. This was a hypothesis first put forward in the 1980s by American academic, Stephen Krashen. We now know, from research and looking at the effects of an input-only environment, that while language input is essential, it’s not enough to become fully proficient in a language. You need to speak and write a language as well. However, the idea that you can learn a language by input alone has taken hold, leading to teachers talking and talking and talking to their students, thinking this will help them learn English.

It’s important to challenge these myths. Below is an excellent paper written by David Nunan, a prolific writer on English language teaching. In this paper, he challenges a few myths, especially as they relate to the teaching of Business English. Have a read. And add a myth of your own in the comments below!

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