Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Ronald Eckard, Lee Little, John Pollock


The degree program is given as Secondary Education.

Degree Program

School of Teacher Education

Degree Type

Specialist in Education


Although the field of English as a Second Language – ESL – is a relatively new field for study, it grows out of a long tradition of teaching foreign or second languages. However, even without formal instruction in a second language, people throughout history have been learning second – and sometimes third and fourth – languages for purposes of trade, business, politics, social acceptance and even survival.

Entering the last quarter of the twentieth century second or foreign language teachers had used three primary methods or approaches in their instruction: the Grammar-Translation method, the Audio-Lingual method, and the Cognitive Code approach. The extent to which any of these methods was successful was determined largely by the individual’s definition of success. In the world of the late 1970’s and the 1980’s, success in foreign or second language teaching has been defined in terms of the students’ ability to speak and understand – to use – the language for purposes of communication or interaction with native speakers of the target language, and to use it appropriately within a given context, at the end of a course of study.

In the last fifteen years many new methods and approaches have been introduced and tried in second language classrooms, methods and approaches for which the goal has been communicative competence. Among them are the Silent Way, Total Physical Response, Counseling Learning, Suggestopedia, the Notional-Functional or Communicative Language Teaching approach, and various approaches or methods which use dramatic techniques. Although there may be considerable differences from one method or approach to another, these communicative approaches do share a common core: they involve the whole person – intellectual, emotional and social; they recognize the importance of minimizing stress within the learning environment; and they emphasize the importance of using the language in order to attain communicative competence in that language.

One of these methods and one approach – Total Physical Response and Communicative Language Teaching – will be looked at in some detail in order to determine the underlying assumptions, particularly regarding learning and language theory; objectives and goals; syllabus; instructional materials; classroom activities; and the learner and teacher roles. Then a text which purports to reflect the method or approach will be briefly examined to determine the extent to which it does, in fact, reflect the method or approach.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Education