In the Silent Way approach, the role of the teacher is largely that of facilitator and he/she often speaks very little (as little as possible) during the lesson. Frequently the teacher uses many props and materials designed to illicit some response by engaging the students mind. The teacher will model the correct usage of a particular structure one time and the students must analyze this structure and figure it out on their own. Often this leads to a great deal of silence in the class which is one of the greatest arguments against this approach. Others feel that this sustained silence is productive (as opposed to unproductive silence) silence and therefore it is good.
Since the teacher is required to speak very little a great strain is placed on the role of teacher. It is not something that people can easily do; it requires training and practice in elicitation techniques and strategies in order to be an effective method. Anyone who thinks it is easy to teach this way (because you don’t have much to do) is not only wrong, but missing the point entirely. It requires great imagination, patience and training and this aspect of the Silent Way approach is probably its most demanding aspect and possibly makes it the most demanding approach as far as teacher roles are concerned.
In the Community Language Learning (CLL) approach, the teacher assumes the role of bilingual facilitator. The class is arranged in a circle and the teacher wanders around outside of the circle. The students freely converse with each other about whatever they like. When a mistake is made or when a student cannot say something, he/she speaks in his/her native language and the teacher translates it into English and the student repeats it. After the lesson a tape of the lesson is analyzed by the group.
As in the Silent Way, this may seem like an easy out for the teacher as far as his or her duties are concerned, however, such is not the case. The teacher must be very attentive and problems which are observed from the teachers post must me addressed and doing so from an outsider position is not always easy. As such, the role of counselor plays an important part in CLL and as a counselor or non-judgmental, disinterested party, problems can be solved in a very non-threatening way making it a semi-enjoyable experience for the students.
In Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), the role of the teacher is primary, as opposed to the secondary roles in the Silent Way and Community Language Teaching. In this method the teacher assumes several roles depending on individual preference. The facilitator, independent participant and researcher/learner roles are the main teacher roles in CLT. The secondary roles are those of needs analyst, counselor and group process manager. These are all primary, front of the class roles and require a great deal of experience in order to be performed adequately.
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