Foreign language teaching methods: From past prescriptions to present principles

William Thomas LITTLEWOOD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The current state of the art in second language teaching can be seen as the outcome of a long search for a “right method” that would enable all learners, in all settings, to acquire a second language. It can also be seen as the realization of a body of principles which seek to explain how a second language is learnt and can best be taught. This article seeks to provide an overview of the current state of the art by adopting each perspective in turn. It first looks at some of the major stages in the search for the right method and the concepts and insights that have emerged from them. It then outlines key elements in the conceptual framework that governs current practice in second language teaching. Copyright © 2008 中小學外語教學編輯部.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalForeign Language Teaching in Schools
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


foreign language teaching
teaching method


Littlewood, W. (2008). Foreign language teaching methods: From past prescriptions to present principles. Foreign Language Teaching in Schools, 31(4), 1-13.


  • Language teaching methods
  • Principles of language teaching
  • Communicative approach
  • Task-based language teaching