Although the ESL industry has been around for a long time, it’s still a work in progress. As research develops, we learn more about what TESOL methods best facilitate language acquisition processes. However, until now, there’s a teaching practice that tends to hinder free expression of learners and may hinder fluency development. It’s a tendency to prescribe language. Teachers with traditional ideas about TESOL have a habit of telling learners what they should say (prescriptive teaching) instead of showing learners there are multiple ways to say something (descriptive teaching).
This leads to a barrier of student expression in a world of ideas where multiple possibilities for expressing yourself are available. Today’s blog will present the differences between requiring learners to express themselves using formulaic structures (prescriptive language teaching) and allowing learners greater flexibility in communicating their thoughts (descriptive language teaching).