The concept of approaches, methods and techniques may make some university students and teachers get confuse. As an English teacher the knowledge of these concepts are very important so that we can equip ourselves as a teacher to organize our classroom practices. Teacher as an individual who is put in the classroom situation and is expected to play certain set of roles. In the classroom activities where teacher interact with his students, teacher performs a number of related activities. These activities are the component elements of the teacher's overall behavior in the classroom. In other words, the teacher's behavior in the classroom consists of component acts each of which can be of two kinds. (1). a disorganized and haphazard set of acts without essential and well intended relatedness among the component acts, (2). an organized, sequential and fully related set of acts each of which is intended to serve some specified purpose. These component units of the teacher's behavior in the classroom is called techniques.
Teacher behaves in the classroom and organizes the teaching activities in accordance to a set of proximate principles which are either the teacher's own mental construct or are based on recommendations by experts. These proximate principles or guidelines are called methods.
These proximate guidelines are directly linked to two factors. (1). The teacher's own understanding of an insights into the nature or language, the child and of classroom practices themselves, (2). Theories which are directly intended to highlight classroom practices in general language teaching in particular. These comparatively remote principles and theories which on the one hand highlight the language behavior in the classroom, and on the other indirectly control the teacher's classroom performance are known as approaches.
The approaches further are determined by the theories on language which may psychological theories or linguistic theories.
In more detail, according to Anthony (1963:63-7)
- An Approach is a set of correlative assumptions dealing with the nature of language teaching and learning. An approach is axiomatic. It describes the nature of the subject matter to be taught.
- Method is an overall plan for the orderly presentation of language material, no part of which contradicts, and all of which is based upon, the selected approach. an approach is axiomatic, a method is procedural. Within one approach, there can be many methods.
- A technique is implementational, that which actually takes palace in a classroom. It is a particular trick, strategem, or contrivance used to accomplish an immediate objective. Technique must be consistent with a method and therefore in harmony with an approach as well.