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Not many language teachers understand this

English language teaching strategy

You may be wondering why we teach you to teach two English language courses, instead of just one or the other and the reason is very simple although not obvious.

Teaching English requires a certain progressive rhythm, and the way modern language courses are structured achieves this objective.
The New English File and the New Headway courses are structured in such a way that as the student progresses, he learns new concepts whilst ones already learnt are repeated.

If for example the student has mastered the present tense and she is now learning the past tense, she will find that she also has to remember to also keep using the present tense.

Example: Today I am in London but last week I was in New York.
And quite often students find that whilst a new concept is introduced, they tend to put the previous concepts on the sideline, or just forget to use them.

This is quite normal.

But what does the teacher do, when he feels that some structures and concepts that have already been covered in previous units in the course books need to be revised or even done again ?
Most teachers, would just take the student back a few units and get the student to re-do them again. But this can have negative results on the student since he feels that he is failing, and not making any progress. Also it can become boring for both the student and the teacher.

Well, teaching English IS a boring process for the teacher and anyone who says otherwise is just marketing himself to students. And although learning English can also be boring for the student, especially if he has to repeat units in a course, we would like to really avoid having bored students because these will have a tendency to blame the teacher, quite rightly sometimes, and maybe start thinking that they may need a different teacher.

So, what's the solution ?
Do you stay on one unit for ages to get the concept through ?
Or do you often keep doubling back a few units to revise ?

After all, if you just continue going forward with a student who has noticeable 'gaps' in his up to then learnt English, the student will find it more and more difficult, and will become very frustrated.

Teach both New English File and New Headway

Once you the teacher get to a point where you really feel that the student is not keeping up with the course book units, you really must go back in the course book to those parts which need revising.

And this is why you should be using both NEF and NHW simultaneously with SOME students.

With which students ? Easy, you find out as you go along.

Applying the language teaching strategy

Say you have done the first three units in the New Headway beginner course books, and you feel the student isn't up to the next unit level. This may even not be your fault, as some students do not study nor revise at all between their English lessons, or worse still, some students just do not have the capacity to learn as fast and well as others.

So instead of going back to unit one in the New Headway Beginner course, you start unit one in the New English File beginner course books.

This has several very positive effects.
The student starts doing the same grammar and language usage structures he has already been through, but with completely new material. The NEF and NHW courses are differently laid out and presented and do contain different types of English language structuring but they both approach the process of language learning at a similar pace.

Meaning that units one to three in both the New English File and the New Headway beginner student and work books are almost identical in the grammar taught, but completely different in the situations used. Also they present the various sections, reading articles, exercises, and the class audio differently.

The next fantastic effect for the student is that because she is doing new material but the same grammatical structures, there will be many things which she will by now know and find easy, whilst re-learning the parts she forgot or had been having difficulty with.

The next positive effect is that it's not boring since the student has completely different and new material to go on.

And the last but probably most important positive effect is that the student doesn't really feel that they have been taken back to start all over again, hence feeling that he is stupid and that it will be a hard uphill climb to learn English.

Now, students aren't stupid, so how do you 'sell' them the idea that starting another beginner course book at unit one is not really going back to the beginning ?

Be strategic in implementing the strategy!

The secret here is to explain to the student even before you start teaching him, that you use two separate English language course books, and that you do this to reinforce the depth of what the student learns, and that he will learn much faster by this English language teaching strategy. The student will understand this as part of your teaching method, and not as an afterthought when you realize the student must repeat and revise previously learnt concepts.

So once you have done the first unit in one of the courses, say in the NEF beginner books, and you feel the student is doing well, then you tell him that for now he will go onto unit 2 in the same course since he is doing well. You MUST tell the student that he is doing well and is at the right point where he, the books and you should be!

If you then feel that he is losing it by unit 4 of the NEF beginner course, NOW is the moment to say something like this.

"Great, you are doing well, we are where we should be, but now it's time to reinforce a few concepts, so we're going to start the other course, the New Headway Beginner books, just to see how well you are doing"

And the student will feel good about this and not at all as if he has been failing, and you will see that he will do much better in the first 4 units of the NHW beginner course than he did in the NEF beginner course.

And although the student won't notice, he will still be going through material where he was becoming very weak in.

OBJECTIVE ACHIEVED ! Well done teacher!

We weren't going to include the Language teaching strategy in these pages and intended just to mention it and then explain this in our course for teachers but then we thought, why not ?

After all, we have just explained to you another perfect and logical reason to take our Learn to teach English where we will teach you to use BOTH the New English File AND the New Headway language courses.

There is though one important factor that we won't be revealing here and that is:
On which course and at what level do you start the student on.
If it's a beginner student, do you start with the NEF beginner course ?
Or do you start with the New Headway course ?

And what about at the Pre-intermediate level .... which course do you start with ?

Do our course to Learn to Teach English to find out.   { ; >)