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Frances Boyd, NorthStar Series Editor

Carol Numrich, NorthStar Editor
Five Principles of Language Learning and Teaching
Frances Boyd and Carol NumrichNorthStar 3e Series Editors

What principles guide good language teaching? In this article, NorthStar Series Editors Frances Boyd and Carol Numrich lay out the core propositions that have informed their teaching and which form the base of the NorthStar series — now in its third edition.

Principle One: Meaning

In language learning, making meaning is all important. The more profoundly students are stimulated intellectually and emotionally, the more language they will generate and retain (Brown, 2001; Lightbown and Spada, 1999). One particularly effective way that teachers can engage students in making meaning is by organizing language study thematically.

Principle Two: Both Form and Content

Second- or foreign language learners need and want to learn both the form and content of the language. To accomplish this, it is crucial to integrate the study of Grammar, vocabulary and culture must be woven into the content of all lessons.

Principle Three: Active Learners

Both teachers and students need to be active learners. Teachers must encourage students to go beyond whatever level of acquisition they have reached. They should also bring the outside world into the language classroom. Students, in turn, must apply their classroom learning in the wider world.

Principle Four: Feedback

Feedback is essential for language learners and teachers. If students are to become better able to express themselves in English, they need responses to both what they are expressing and how they are expressing it. Teachers need multiple opportunities to provide such feedback.

Principle Five: Relationships

The quality of relationships among students and between the students and teacher is crucial, particularly when students are asked to express themselves on issues and ideas. Materials can and should be designed to encourage interaction and build community.

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