difference between method and methodology in teaching

What is the difference between method and methodology in teaching?

The difference between method and methodology in teaching?

English Language Teaching (ELT) terminology can be sometimes confusing. This post attempts to describe the difference between method and methodology in teaching. Other ELT terms such as approach and syllabus are also discussed.

It is worthwhile mentioning that the following definitions are mainly based on works by H. Douglas Brown (1987) and Richards and Rodgers (1986)

Methodology

A definition of methodology can be confusing. The word “methodology” is frequently used when “method” would be more accurate. Methodology refers to more than a simple set of methods. It is the rationale and the philosophical assumptions that underlie a particular study. It indicates the theoretical analysis of the methods. In language teaching, methodology means the study of pedagogical practices in general, including theoretical implications and related research.  It includes what is involved in how to teach.

Approach

Citing the applied linguist Edward Anthony’s model1963, Richards and Rodgers (1986, p. 19) refer to approach as “the level at which assumptions and beliefs about language and language learning are specified.” It also includes ways to apply these assumptions and beliefs to language teaching.

Method

A method is “the level at which theory is put into practice and at which choices are made about the particular skills to be taught, the content to be taught and the order in which the content will be presented.” (Richards and Rodgers, 1986, p. 19) It is the plan for organizing the presentation of language material. It is a plan whose parts do not contradict and which relies on an approach.

Syllabus

Simply put syllabus is a language program. This includes objectives of linguistic materials and how they are sequenced to meet the needs of learners.

References

H. Douglas Brown (1987). Principles of language learning and teaching. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall

Richards, Jack C. and Theodore S. Rodgers (1986). Approaches and methods in language teaching: A description and analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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