Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of  2nd  MEC TESOL Conference   2020                 Pp.212- 228

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Principled Eclecticism in the Classroom: Exploring the use of  Alternative
 Methodologies in ELT

Thomas Brett
Center for Preparatory Studies
College of Banking and Financial Studies
Muscat, Oman



For a century, English language teaching has, for the main part, discarded behaviorist-inspired methodologies such as the Audio-lingual method for constructivist approaches characterized by the Communicative Approach.  Exploring the tension between behaviorist/constructivist dichotomies and searching for common ground between the two schools of thought can give rise to alternative approaches.  A ‘Principled Eclectic Approach’ to language teaching is one way whereby a pluralism of methodologies is favored in the pursuit of more effective Second Language Acquisition.  Using Brown’s Post-Method Principles (2002) and Mellow’s Two Dimensional Model and Centring Principle (2002) as a guide and point of reference, teachers can gauge their approach and effectiveness in a more dynamic learning environment. A two-part research study aimed to introduce a more Principled Eclectic Approach to academic English language instruction in higher education.  Firstly, translation aimed to let students bring their mother tongue into the classroom.  The rationale for this exercise being that the more meaningful the encounter with the target language, the better the acquisition.  The second experiment looked to use music as a way to create a more relaxed learning environment during reading comprehension activities.  The premise being that we acquire language better when we are relaxed. Feedback from the study revealed that the content was balanced, coherent, met the needs of the learner and the needs of the wider syllabus.  Students were positive when taking part in the lessons as they believed that the methodologies tested helped them with their English acquisition.  Subsequently, they wanted further exposure to these methodologies.
KeyWords: centering principle, music, pluralism of methodologies, post-method principles, principled eclecticism, second language acquisition, translation, two-dimensional model   

Cite as: Brett, T. (2020). Principled Eclecticism in the Classroom: Exploring the use of  Alternative Methodologies in ELT.  Arab World English Journal(AWEJ). Proceedings of 2nd MEC TESOLConference 2020. 212- 228.


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Thomas Brett is an English lecturer at the College of Banking and Financial Studies in Oman.
His work focuses specifically on preparing undergraduates for life in specialization. He is
currently working on adapting class-based, language skills activities for online delivery. He often
finds inspiration for his classes when hiking in the mountains and wadis of Oman.