In everyday life related activities; individuals tend to look for the best technique and process to execute and successfully achieve a task. This can be seen as an innate nature of human beings who are skilled with the capability and capacity of thinking and distinguishing things in advance in relation to how a task or a sequence of tasks need to be completed using the most effective and viable way with the obtainable resources. When looking at how a teacher teaches another language, the teacher is usually inclined to pursue an effective and result-oriented method with the assumptions that the methods he or she utilises will ultimately lead to the learners mastery of a language. Language teachers on a whole are very much concerned about teaching methods as they need to employ the most effective methods in teaching in order to aid their learner’s achievement of the objectives in learning another language.
The main objective of this essay is to investigate the notion of best method in L2 teaching, which has nowadays become a perplexing problem for many language teachers and experts engaged in the TESOL, ESL or EFL domains and why principled eclecticism seems to be many teachers preferred method.
Firstly, therefore, I shall define the key concepts; methods, approaches and techniques and show the relationship existing between them with reference to literature. Then I will briefly discuss and describe the available methods with emphasis on their strengths and weaknesses in the light of current views of L2 learning and teaching process and finally, I will argue as to why an L2 teacher constantly needs to change the methods and techniques (principled eclecticism) while he/she is engaged in teaching operation in order to prove that there is no single method which is best for everyone (Prabhu, 1990).
According to Richard et al. (1992), a method, in language teaching, is “a way of teaching a language which is based on systematic principles and procedures” and approach is termed as “different theories about the nature of language and how languages are learnt” while the technique refers to different kinds of classroom activities based on different methods. Larsen-Freeman (2000) says that a method ‘is a coherent set of links between principles and certain techniques and procedures’, while Prabhu (1990) claims that a method is ‘a set of activities to be carried out in the classroom and to the theory, belief, or plausible concept that informs those activities’.
However, Richards and Rodgers (1986) define method as an umbrella term which specifies the relationship between theory and classroom practice. According to them, ‘a method is theoretically related to approach, is organisationally determined by a design, and is practically realized in procedure. It seems that they provide a comprehensive meaning to the method which appears to encompass approach, design and procedure.
If we look at the definitions especially given by...