CLD Instructional Approaches
According to Herrera and Murray (2011) there are three dominant approaches to second language instruction: the Grammatical Approach, the Communicative Approach, and the Cognitive Approach (p. 193-219). These approaches have all been effective over different periods of time with the oldest, the Grammatical Approach, dating back hundreds of years and the latter two approaches emerging in the latter half of the 20th Century.
The Grammatical Approach, according to Herrera and Murray (2011), "is a teacher-centered means of providing second language instruction. The underlying philosophy of the approach assumes that learners acquire language most efficiently by memorizing language rules and sentence patterns in a methodical, sequenced curriculum." (p. 195) In this framework, Herrera and Murray (2011) note, "a learner's first language is viewed as interfering with second language acquisition because differences in structure and syntax rules are considered points of confusion." (p. 195) Although this approach dates back centuries, new research has shown that the ignoring a student's first language during language acquisition may actually interfere with their learning, thus this approach is considered antiquated and has generally fallen out of favor in the educational community.
The Communicative Approach, according to Herrera and Murray (2011), "...emerged in the 1960's. The change in language teaching philosophy came from international concerns over the ineffectiveness of the grammar-based approaches in developing language learners who could actually use the target language in real-life situations" (p. 199) The Communicative Approach relies on students purposefully exploring and practicing what they have learned by verbally practicing their second language with other students in real-world like situations. A main difference between this and the Grammatical Approach is that the teacher is not the center of attention. Rather the teacher should, according to Herrera and Murry (2011), "provide a context for authentic communication."
The Communicative Approach is a more malleable approach which offers a number of methods with which it can be practiced. Some of the methods include the "Silent Way" which Herrera and Murray (2011) note, "presented learners with simple linguistic situations that they were to observe and then describe in the target language" (p. 205). The "Natural Way" required situations where, according to Herrera and Murray (2011), "the teacher created a situation in which communication was made meaningful. Then the teacher communicated information in the target language. The teacher simultaneously modified the language to a level at which the learners could understand the messages of instruction." (p. 205)
There are two more modern and useful methods contained in the Communicative Approach: the Integrated Content-Based (ICB) Method and the Sheltered Instruction Method. Herrera and Murray (2011) state, "The ICB method involves the concurrent teaching of academic subject matter and second language acquisition skills." This method is useful because the lessons and curriculum are directed towards, and based on student needs, which provides relevance. The Sheltered Instruction Method however does the ICB method one better. According to Herrera and Murray (2011), "Sheltered lessons integrate language and content objectives into the same lesson. Content objectives are typically derived from the curriculum, as aligned with local, state or national standards." (p. 207) This is a tried and true method which has yielded very positive results. However, according to Herrera and Murry (2011), "new understandings of the learning process have also fostered the development of a third approach to language: the cognitive approach" (p. 208).
The Cognitive Approach, according to Herrera and Murry (2011), "is an emergent product of efforts to examine and analyze the cognitive psychological side of learning, language learning, and instruction to promote language learning." (p. 209) The Cognitive Approach tends to succeed at a deeper level with students because it attaches meaning to what they are learning along with the language and content objectives used in sheltered instruction. By creating meaning the idea is that the students will derive relevance from what they are learning and therefore retain more of what they learn, recall it, and associate it with their environment.
According to Herrera and Murry (2011) the Cognitive Approach employs the use of "memory frameworks or schemata (which) serve as the storage venues for declarative knowledge. These frameworks enable declarative knowledge to be stored as interconnected concepts and ideas that can be recalled as isolated facts or as structured associations among ideas." (p. 214) This points toward higher order thinking, aka metacognitive knowledge and experience.
In general, lesson planning for learning and/or student differences should involve:
1. Choosing an approach (preferably Communicative or Cognitive)
2. Choosing a practical or applied instructional method that is based in the chosen approach. For example: sheltered instruction.
3. Determining a strategy that is consistent with the chosen method. For example, sheltered instruction can be taught well with hands-on activities.
4 Determining a technique based on the strategy. For example, a good application for hands on activities is if the students are placed in pairs that utilize a Kagan structure like Think-Pair-Share.
The general idea is to create a plan that emphasizes interpersonal communication during activities that allow the teacher to formatively assess progress while facilitating the learning process.
ELL Best practices offers effective strategies and tools here.
Mora Modules has a run-down of every method and approach here.
The BBC offers some suggestions for using a "Grammatiacized-Lexical Approach" here.