Article Posted in: Research Articles


by – Sindhu K, Issue XV, April 2016

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Introduction to the Author:

Sindhu K Sindhu K is an educationalist working in plus two level. She did her post-graduation from Annamalai University, Tamilnadu and B.Ed. from PKM College of education, Kannur, Kerala.







  This article is about teaching and learning of second language. Language is the medium of instruction. In general all languages are skill subjects. English more so being a foreign language elevated to rank of our second language. It is also international language, linklanguage, associate language and medium of instruction in universities. This paper investigates on the different methodologies of teaching and learning English as second language in the Indian education system. The present theories show divergent views on this enigma. To teach and learn language a lot of findings and innovations have taken place and studies have revealed that normally students are quick at study and in particular learning languages.


       Language acquisition, English as second language, teaching- learning methodologies, education system, students, L1and L2.




                   To learn and to teach language there are some strategies and methodologies. Teaching should be objective based.There should be correlation between the learning items and real life situations and instruction should be student centred. The teacher should be conscious of psychological principles like motivation, individual difference repletion, exercise, reinforcement, self-learning etc. Students should be givenopportunities to constructknowledge; the teacher shouldbe a guide. The teaching methodologies always should be motivational and balanced. Students should be given a lot of opportunities to listen to English from the teachers, elders and Medias. Students should have the readiness to learn and understand the need, usefulness and importance of learning a second language like English.

                     The discussion over learning a language and learning about a language is significant.  By learning a language we have functional over the language and learning about a language first we study about its rules and regulations. “Is there any need of deep information about language to know the language?” Tickoo in his book titled Teaching and Learning English (2003) put forth answers for some questions like this, regarding second language study.

         Knowing about the whole thing of language helps us to know about the language. Implicit and explicit knowledge (Krashen 1981) is significant. As krashen S.D explain about it in his book Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning, if we have theoretical knowledge about the language, it is explicit. Implicit is inborn abilities, that is the ability to understand quickly without any conscious effort. We don’t care theoretical strategies but we understand or we learn it. We have only functional command over the language in the situation. This paper fully supports the author’s view.




Acquisition (Krashen S.D1981) is study of language from the atmosphere without any conscious effort. Learning means study with conscious effort. Acquisition we have implicit and natural situations so we are unknowingly being the masters of a language. So there will be an ease in communication. In learning language, we loose fluency in communication.

“Whether grammar is necessary in learning a language?”(Bright J.A &Mc Gregor G.P, (1970)

             Systematic attention to grammar is neither necessary nor sufficient for learning the language. It can be necessary but should be in intuitive manner. Native speaker study one language in an informal way and unknowing accept the grammar. Incase of second language they are learning this language not learning about the language. They are not learning it as an acquisition. We learn first language from the childhood but second language learner gets it only after a particular age. Natives can collect and pick up from immediate atmosphere but a second language learner get it only from formal education. For easy acquiring of second language some language improvement programmes can be practiced in schools such as news reading, storytelling, article reading and its analysis, debates, talking on situations etc. Language learning should be from whole to part than from part to whole.Here our active and passive vocabulary is being discussed. Active vocabulary is a number ofvocabularies used by individuals in daily use both in speech and in writing. Passive vocabulary means vocabulary which we are not using daily. This vocabulary can be acquired from discourses but remain unused in our brain. Vocabulary of each individual is different. The facilitator may not know the vocabulary of learner. Teachers can anticipate that but can’t fix it. So we cannot give a lot words to a group of learners.

  • We have to convert the passive vocabulary to active vocabulary
  • Function study means the knowledge which is required for day today life
  • Provide the quality of the language experiences than the quantity

If there should be rich language environment then there will be good competence from the part of the learner. If it is poor then there will be lack of competence. The quality and quantity of experience that we provide is very significant.Language should provide totality than being an isolated entity. Linguistic facts, vocabulary,prose and poems and grammar rulesare all isolated entity.Language should be used for interactive experiences.The language learning and studying should be based on discourses. While we provide discourses we give more importanceto the message it conveys. This paper taken these ideas from the book ‘Mastering English Language’ by Bunton S.H &Humphries J.A. (1992)

Language is a social entity not an isolated entity. We should move from discourse to social entity, to isolated compartments later only when the situation occur. But in case of second language all these aspects will be in reverse manner. Errors are acceptable because errors are steps for corrections. There is possibility of committing mistakes; it is natural so it can be acceptable. Change the attitude during these situations, attitude like ‘good for nothing fellow.Generalization being master to use the correct context, over generalization is the situation whereby learners are committing mistakes by thinking that English is language used with full of grammar rules in an ordinary context. This attitude is awkward. There are some principles to acquire language. Among them 2-3 are more effective. This article enhances ‘follow nature’,’concreteness’,’gradation ‘and group work etc. Follow up the natural order while studying the language in a natural order. Studentsunknowingly get the whole aspects of language. Gradation means moving from one word to another. In the case of teaching a language gradation is to be mentioned. While teaching language teacher should make them to move from one point to another (From easy to tough). After thisthe last step is to study the grammar.

Group work will help students to interact with fellow group members. Group work should be more in number which promote more interaction. We have to provide the guidance until he/she understands it. Language teacher should know about the levels of comprehension, there are three levels. Geetha Nagarajin in her book EnglishLanguage Teaching –Approaches, Methods, and Techniques (2008) put forth three levels of comprehension they are:

  • Factual utterances: Learner acquires information which is mentioned in the work.
  • Inferential: The things which is not mentioned in the discourse. Learner should acquire it from environment.
  • Judgemental and evaluation level: In this level learner can act in better manner according to knowledge he acquired.

 If a language teacher is aware of these levels it will help him to provide suitable language environment to the students.Being the facilitator, the way of dealing with students is important.The essential thing isfacilitator should have a mastery over language.  It is not only the study of the usage of the language, but the overall aspects of language.  The study of structural pattern of a language is earlier practice, today the study is acquiring the different skills through language, and the strategies used for attaining these skills which can be termed as methods. Different methods are there, such as, ‘elective method’ ‘grammar translation method’, inductive method’ and deductive method.

Elective method is combination of all methods. Grammar translation method is another one. It was employed in the Greek grammar schools. Its advantage is that it is easy to understand through word to word translation.Grammar is viewed in the explicit manner, it is theoretical.

In Deductive method the theory is studied first and then examples, where as inductive method is formation of theory through examples. Grammatical concept should be learned by the learner but not in the direct way but in the indirect way. It should have studied individually by the learner without considering the grammar aspects directly.


Man is born as a learner and dies as a learner. He never is a man of complete knowledge. There are four sources to learn things. First one is from parents, second is from teachers, third from friends and last our own personal experiences. There is no particular time for studying a language. Study of language directs us to thought and thought to expression. Different methods such as ‘elective method’, ‘grammar translation method’, ‘inductive method’ and ‘deductive method’ are much better to learn and teacher second language like English. The language learning and teaching curriculum should include the best methodologies like this. This paper highlights the need and importance of such methodologies in teaching and learning a language.





  • H Abrahams, A Glossary of Literary Terms(10th edition)-2014
  • Tickoo, ML, Teaching and Learning English- A Source Book for Teachers & Teacher Trainees.-2003
  • Krashen S.D, Second Language Acquisition and Second Language Learning.-1981
  • Bright J.A & Mc Gregor G.P, Teaching English as a Second Language.-1970
  • Bunton S.H & Humphries J.A Mastering English Language.-1992
  • Geetha Nagaraj. English Language Teaching-Approaches, methods &Techniques-2008
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