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History of Language Teaching Methods

  1. Suzanne K. Hilgendorf

Published Online: 5 NOV 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781405198431.wbeal0510

The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics

How to Cite

Hilgendorf, S. K. 2012. History of Language Teaching Methods. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 NOV 2012


Language teaching methods refers to the set of teaching practices, approaches, and materials used by instructors to facilitate foreign-language (FL) learning. Throughout history, methods have responded to the changing goals of language learning, for example, communicating with foreign trade partners, supporting missionary efforts to spread religion, reading academic scholarship and sacred texts, or, most recently, facilitating interaction on transnational and global levels. Language teaching methods therefore have prioritized different skills, for example, listening comprehension, speaking, reading, and writing, given the needs of learners and the values of societies. Various theoretical understandings of second language acquisition (SLA) and FL pedagogy have further informed teaching methods. In particular, new research developments, emphases, and trends in the related disciplines of linguistics, literature studies, education, and psychology have shaped thinking on the most effective ways to teach FLs.


  • language teaching;
  • methods;
  • second language acquisition;
  • teaching methods in applied linguistics