Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a science, and like all sciences, it has a set of underlying principles upon which it is based. However, unlike the better-known sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics, TEFL is not quantifiable to the point of being either objective or equation based in its approach. Therefore, TEFL, like psychology and sociology, must rely on subjectivity in order to formulate its principles. These principles, in turn, define the relationships that exist between either the teacher and the student or the student and other students.
In order to teach English effectively, an EFL teacher must subscribe to one (or more) of the current approaches to teaching English as a foreign language and incorporate its language-learning strategies and techniques into each of his or her lessons.
What follows are descriptions of five of the principle approaches to teaching English as a foreign (second) language. Without doubt, the reader will have experienced one or more of these approaches in his or her own classroom learning history. Though there is no one correct approach, most teachers usually find themselves more comfortable using one or the other of the approaches listed and described. Though there is nothing overtly wrong with this, it must be remembered that students differ greatly, not just in age but also in mentality, thus they may respond differently to any given approach to language teaching. Because of different learning styles, the effective teacher must be prepared to adapt his or her teaching to the needs and preferences of each class. Our advice is to 'find yourself' with respect to the approaches listed below. That said, don't be afraid to experiment with and/or adapt your style of teaching. In the end, you may discover that the best approach is eclectic in nature and includes bits of this and bits of that.