Language remains a vital section of how individuals communicate, and learning how to share meaning with others in multiple languages is considered an achievement. Bilingualism opens various options, including economic viability, self-expression, and common solving of issues across various language groups. A person’s capacity to speak a second language and have knowledge of the set grammatical rules needs to be improved for language knowledge. It demands speaking the language, gaining insight into what is listened to and written text and writing according to grammatical rules. Educators use various language teaching methods to teach students foreign or second languages (Iscan, 2017). Subsequently, learning a new language is divided into writing, reading, speaking and listening (Lems et al., 2010). Writing is considered the most difficult, and both students and teachers contribute to it due to poor teaching strategies by the teacher, which demotivate the students (Pimsarn, n.d ). Educators must adopt the most appropriate teaching methods to meet the needs of the learners. Eclectic is one of the methods that teachers can use because it combines various teaching methods and allows for flexibility (Mwanza, 2017). The teachers can design it to meet the preferences and needs of their learners. Therefore, educators must choose the most effective language teaching methods when teaching language to ensure success.
A review of the literature
According to Pimsarn (n.d), the ultimate objective of reading includes reading comprehension. It entails the procedure where the reader utilizes their rhetorical, semantic, syntactic, cognitive skills and prior knowledge to understand, interpret and analyze the ideas and thoughts of the writer expressed through printed text. Readers apply various reading skills to gain insight into what they read. The comprehension models include interactive, top-down and top-down. At the bottom up, the readers reconstruct and decode the writer’s meaning by recognizing the printed words and letters and constructing meaning from the smaller units found at the bottom to more extended and bigger units. Top-down models enable the readers to read texts by understanding them wholly without thinking about visual components of language but utilizing hypothesis testing strategies, generating and activating prior knowledge, adjusting and making predictions, and understanding contextual clues. Interactive models offer to define an essential relationship with the text, and the readers try to gain insight into it (Lems et al., 2010)
Lems et al. (2010) highlight that reading is considered an interactive process between the background knowledge and processing strategies of the reader and the text. Reading must master the bottom-up skills that permit decoding the linked text. The bottom-up skills define the word-level skills needed to decode, and the top-down skills are cognitive and analytical skills required for comprehension. The skills demand rapid judgment concerning words and maintaining the words on working memory as the reader develops a reasonable interpretation of possible meanings. A study on high school-age Spanish-speaking students who were influential in English discovered that their strategies to read Spanish differed from those used in reading English. The study concluded that people should not automatically assume that proficient readers can transfer their strategies from Spanish to English.
Pimsarn (n.d ) states that teaching reading skills remains a vital aspect of language learning, and learning the skill is essential in acquiring a second language. Reading includes unconscious and conscious thinking procedures where the readers implement different strategies to infer the expected meaning of the writer. A second language writer’s mental schemata depend on their cultural background and first language. Therefore, first-language readers’ interpretation of text remains distinct from that of their second language. Their attitude and thinking skills towards culture and language are crucial in determining the text’s meaning. Therefore, educators must ensure thinking skills of a second language learner are taught the literate and text behaviour of the native speakers. When a second language learner acquires the appropriate reading skills in the second language, it transforms their cognitive perceptions and changes their value orientation and cultural beliefs. Second-language learners must think in a foreign language to read the language effectively.
Ali et al. (2022) posit that educators must teach the learners to predict and preview the outcome of a text, determine the relationship between ideas and question the author’s intention. In addition, educators should make the learners read extensively because different exposure to the exact words increases their learning. More so, interactive lessons assist them in presenting their thinking on the text (Lems et al., 2010). Ali et al. (2022) note that it is recognized that learning foreign languages requires reading, and second language teachers face challenges when developing the reading skills of students. Therefore, educators must implement practical teaching strategies to improve the learners’ reading skills. Marima (2016) feels that reading is a vital skill in language English and other languages. Reading in the early years assists learners in developing vocabularies and exposes them to new sentence structures and ideas used to communicate in written form and verbally in later years.
Rachmawati (2020) argues that writing remains one of the productive language skills when learning a foreign language, including English. It assists in communicating messages utilizing graphic symbols and involves communicating an idea using clauses, phrases, words and letters. In addition, communication is considered a method of communication between the reader and the writer using printed symbols. It permits an individual to express thoughts and ideas in words. The two approaches to teaching writing include focusing on the writing process and the product of the writing process. When teaching writing, educators must provide the necessary support and materials to assist learners in learning how to write. Jiang & Kalyuga (2022) state that learning to write in a second language is a complex problem-solving procedure demanding various skills and the ability to offer appropriate supporting details and make claims. The learners should develop organizing, generating and refining skills through complex practices such as discussing, brainstorming, revising, monitoring, drafting and outlining. The cognitive load theory claims that students can develop new knowledge concerning the writing process with the help of explicit formal instructions or via individual reading in addition to utilizing problem-solving through collaborative or individual efforts.
Jiang & Kalyuga (2022) conclude that learning a foreign language, including English writing skills, via process-genre strategy in collaborative instructional conditions remained more efficient and successful than individual instructional concepts. Lems (2010) claims that well-developed first-language writing abilities may only get applied positively to second-language writing once the student attains a specific threshold in their new language. Sinaga et al. (2022) posit that among the language skills, including writing, speaking, listening and reading, writing remains the most challenging for a foreign or second language. For instance, in English, most issues occur in the utilization of tenses, mastery of vocabulary, and capacity to gain insight into tense forms. According to their study, educators’ ability to enhance learners’ writing skills was below average. More so, the limited mastery of vocabulary for learners remains one of the difficulties experienced by teachers in teaching writing.
Rachmawati (2020) notes that both learners and educators cause challenges in writing in teaching students how to write. The educators use uninteresting methods leading to low motivation. Therefore, educators must use interesting strategies when teaching writing, including keeping it short and prime for learners before they start writing. Pullias defines the attributes of successful teaching, including the educators should define their objectives carefully and remaining clear to teachers and students. Educators should ensure that the students participate in activities that lead to learning and attain the objectives. In addition, they should impart imagination and life to materials. The educator should assist the learner’s progress and develop the self-evaluation habit.
Application of Theory to Practice
In reading theory, reading is viewed as an interactive process, and teaching reading skills remains a vital aspect of language learning. Learning the skill is essential in acquiring a second language (Lemi et al., 2020). Learning foreign languages requires reading, and foreign language teachers experience difficulties when developing learners’ reading skills. Therefore, teachers should implement practical teaching methods to enhance students’ reading skills (Ali et al., 2022). From the nano-course design, the teacher used practical methods to ensure that teaching reading remains interactive. For instance, after the four-season exercise, the students were required to write down what they learned in the lesson individually and share it with other students. More so, they worked in pairs which enhanced their interaction. The process enhanced their reading practices because they could write and read the season names in their native and foreign languages. As a result, the educator was able to eliminate the challenge of reading among the students. Using a video-assisted improves their reading skills as they can imitate the speaker, write down and read what they heard.
In the past and present tense lessons, the learners worked in groups to make the lesson interactive. The students were required to write down their daily activities in flashcards and read to the class the sentences to identify the use of past and present tense. The students are required to write a speech and read to others and use a worksheet book to identify the past and present tense and read to others to enhance their reading and writing skills. In the vocabulary lesson, the teacher used practical activities to teach the learners how to speak, read, and write vocabulary. The method used includes group activities performed outside the classroom, and the students had to carry vegetables, fruits and animal pictures to identify objectives. The clothing group had to identify the vocabulary of the clothing items to assist them in learning how to read the vocabulary and write them. The activities enhanced their reading and writing skills. In the adjective lesson, the practicals included drawing and giving a picture of the physical attributes. The students were supposed to write down the sentences, identify the adjectives, and read the sentences to the class. They will determine the adjectives, and the teacher will correct them. The strategies assisted in ensuring that the learners think of the second to read it more successfully. The literature states that the second language learner must think in a foreign language to read the language effectively (Pimsarn, n.d ).
Research indicates that learning to write in a second language is complex, requiring various skills. The learners must develop organizing, generating and refining skills through complex practices such as discussing, brainstorming, revising, monitoring, drafting and outlining (Jiang & Kalyuga, 2022). The lesson plans include collaborative working, which assists the learners in developing their refining, generating and organizing skills through brainstorming and discussion. The students worked as groups or in pairs to ensure discussion and brainstorming, and the students would write what they had discussed after brainstorming and present the ideas in class. For example, in an adjective lesson, the students listened to MP3 and noted down the adjectives they would read to the class and discuss. The strategies enabled the teacher to teach the learners to read and write the adjectives.
According to Rachmawati (2020), the characteristics of effective teaching writing by Pullias include defining clear objectives. Ensuring the students participate in activities that lead to learning and attain the objectives. The teachers should use imagination, add life to materials, and check the learner’s progress. Before the start of every lesson, the teacher performs a warm-up of the previous lessons and prepares students for the lesson by ensuring that the students know the lesson’s objective. For instance, the students are informed if it is an adjective, present and past tense or vocabulary class.
In some cases, the students are informed to prepare in the last lesson for the lesson. For instance, the learners were asked to develop various materials to support their learning during the vocabulary lesson. The materials included vegetables, animal pictures and clothing to make the lesson more exciting and assist in attaining the goal of learning new vocabulary.
Similarly, in an adjective lesson, the students were asked to draw pictures of their loved ones and give their physical attributes. The activities informed students of the lesson’s objectives and prepared them for the lesson. In addition, the materials utilized made the learning interactive and exciting, assisting in attaining the lesson’s objectives. Working collaboratively in groups further made the lesson more interactive and exciting. More so, the learner’s progress was checked at the end of every activity, where they were asked to discuss in class their opinions, and the teacher would correct them. The educator gave extra work at the end of the lesson after they discussed what they had learned in class to check their progress. The methods assisted the teacher in teaching effectively, and the students improved their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills as expected.
The limited mastery of vocabulary for learners remains one of the difficulties experienced by teachers in teaching writing. In addition, the difficulties experienced in writing result from the educators and the learners. Most educators use boring teaching strategies to demotivate the learners. As a result, the teacher should use exciting methods to motivate the learners (Rachmawati, 2020). As a result, the educator used motivating methods to motivate the students, such as discussions, drawing their loved ones and giving them physical characteristics to learn defining and descriptive adjectives, wearing clothing items, naming the animals in pictures, vegetables and fruits to learn vocabulary, and listening to MP3 and videos to learn more adjectives, words and tenses. The strategies made the lesson exciting and motivated the learners to master the vocabulary, adjectives, past and present tense and learn seasons. At the end of the lesson, the students appeared happy and had mastered the words. They improved their listening, speaking, writing and reading skills.
An eclectic approach to language teaching
In my future teachings, applying the reading and writing theory alone would pose challenges to the learners in future. Learning how to write foreign research remains a challenge to most people and requires effective teaching strategies to make it effective. More so, a reader’s attitude and thinking skills towards culture and language determine the text’s meaning. As a result, teachers should ensure they teach the literate and text behaviour of the native speakers to the foreign language learner to modify their cognitive perceptions and cultural beliefs. Second-language learners must think in a foreign language to read the language effectively, which may be challenging (Pimsarn, n.d ). The writing and writing methods need to be more flexible and can be changed to meet the needs and requirements of the student. The reading and writing theories demand that the student responds to the demands and needs of reading and writing methods instead of the methods responding to the preferences and needs of the students. As a result, they may need to be more effective in language teaching, requiring a change in the future.
Therefore, some of the changes I would make to the pedagogical approach to overcome the limitation include using an eclectic approach to teach the language. It includes incorporating different approaches to overcome the limitations associated with reading and writing theory. The eclectic approach has become a popular language teaching method, and it involves blending different techniques, including learning and teaching approaches (Mwanza, 2017). The strategy will assist me in choosing what works in dynamic teaching. The method challenges the educator to ensure that each decision made in the classroom activities and classroom depends on a holistic and comprehensive understanding of all learning pedagogies and theories in connection to the available materials, learners’ needs, and how to teach the language. The technique combines writing, reading, speaking and listening and involves practice in the classroom (Mwanza, 2017). According to Alharbi (2017), teaching writing remains functional and effective when language learning aspects of cognitive, creative and social get considered through various teaching approaches.
Eclectic will allow me to implement a flexible strategy and method to attain their goals and select the most appropriate method to attain their objective. Studies indicate that the eclectic strategy will allow the teacher to choose the method that fits the learner because every learner has distinct preferences and needs and learn differently. For instance, some learners prefer collaborative learning, while others prefer individual learning (Alharbi, 2017). More so, I will ensure that errors are viewed as a section of learning, and the teacher and the students should do corrections to assist them in testing their knowledge and skills. Research indicates that students can assume error correction roles because they may learn from the errors. The students possess the capacity to determine mistakes and errors made by others, and including them in error correction helps them to establish a sense of belonging and critical thinking skills (Mwanza, 2017)
Furthermore, the eclectic approach will allow me to develop learner-centred lessons. The lessons should possess an input phase where the educator provides input and a practice phase where the students are expected to participate actively in the lesson. The production phase allows the students to perform exercises depending on the lesson. The teacher offers various activities to meet the needs of various learning styles to ensure every learner has some activities that meet their needs (Mwanza, 2017). I will choose and collect the learning and teaching materials that motivate and interest the learners. The teacher should choose the materials depending on the needs of the students and the cultural context and characteristics of the teaching and learning context (Alharbi, 2017).
In conclusion, educators must choose the most effective language teaching methods when teaching language to ensure success. The four domains or theories that exist in language teaching include speaking, listening, writing and reading. However, each possesses its limitation and advantages when used by teachers to teach a foreign or second language. Learning foreign languages requires reading, and second language teachers face challenges when developing students’ reading skills. Therefore, educators must implement practical teaching strategies to improve the learners’ reading skills. More so, challenges in writing are caused by both learners and educators in teaching students how to write. The educators use uninteresting methods leading to low motivation. Therefore, educators must use interesting strategies when teaching writing, including keeping it short and prime for learners before they start writing. Experts recommend eclectic teaching methods to teach language. Some of its benefits include integrating various teaching approaches to meet the needs of the students, allowing educators to select materials depending on the needs of learners, assisting in creating student centred approach, allowing errors as part of learning. It is a flexible method that a teacher can modify to meet the needs of the classrooms and available materials. Educators must utilize the method effectively for enhanced outcomes.
Alharbi, S. (2017). Principled Eclecticism: Approach in Teaching Writing to ESL/EFL Students. English Language Teaching, 10(2). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1125223.pdf
Ali, Z., Palpanadan, S., & Asad, M. (2022). Reading approaches practised in EFL classrooms: a narrative review and research agenda. Asian. J. Second. Foreign. Lang. Educ. 7, 28 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40862-022-00155-4
Iscan, A. (2017). The Use of Eclectic Method in Teaching Turkish to Foreign Students. Journal of Education and Practice 8(7). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1137580.pdf
Jiang, D., & Kalyuga, S. (2022). Learning English as a Foreign Language Writing Skills in Collaborative Setting: A Cognitive Load Perspective. Front. Psych, 13. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.932291/full
Lems, K., Miller, L., & Soro, T. (2010). Teaching Reading to English Language Learners. The Guilford Press. https://www.academia.edu/33691280/Teaching_Reading_to_English_Learners_
Marima, E. (2016). A Survey of Approaches Used in Teaching Reading in Early Childhood Classes in Dagoretti and Westland Divisions, Nairobi, County, Kenya. Journal of Education and Practice, 7(33). https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1122603.pdf
Mwanza, D. (2017). The Eclectic Approach to Language Teaching: Its Conceptualization and Misconceptions. International Journal of Humanities Social Sciences and Educations, 4(2): 53–67. https://www.arcjournals.org/pdfs/ijhsse/v4-i2/6.pdf
Pimsarn, P. (n.d ). The Effects of Reading Strategies Instruction on Graduate Students’ Reading Comprehension.
Rachmawati, D. (2020). The Teaching of Writing in English Education Study Program. State Islamic Institute of Palangka Raya. http://digilib.iain-palangkaraya.ac.id/2976/1/Diana%20Rachmawati%20-%20131120855.pdf
Sinaga, E., Hutabarat, N., Pantaitan, T., & Saraguh, E. (2022). An Analysis of Writing Teaching Strategies by English Teacher in Junior High School. Journal Ilmiah Multidisiplin, 1(3).