the important role of teaching styles in language learning and teaching, Martin (2010) argued that teachers must be empowered to refine the art of instruction, trusted to develop and utilize their skill and intuition, and encouraged to implement strategies that meet the needs of the students.
2.2.3. Performance & context
Different educationists have different perspectives on teaching and learning language and that is why the teaching styles that a teacher chooses considered very important. In accordance with Richards & Rogers (1986), the teacher’s role is to facilitate communication between the learners during the set activities, to provide learners with insight on how to become a successful language learner by sharing his/her own personal experiences of language learning and to organize resources.
Sternberg et al. (2008) research has shown that students receiving instruction incorporating a variety of instructional methods demonstrated greater performance levels overall while Koçakoğlu (2010) contended that teachers can use assessment information to monitor their instruction and ensure they are utilizing a variety of strategies and selecting those most appropriately suited to particular lesson content.
The learning setting or environment is very important in teaching and learning; it should be inviting, conducive and fun. According to Felder & Henrique (1995), this is because the students’ ability and readiness to learn does not only depending on the students themselves, but also lie in the suitability of a teacher’s teaching style.
2.2.4. Teaching Approaches and Methodologies
With the rise of student centered approaches to language teaching, taking into consideration the students opinions and feelings towards the learning process is of great importance. As Harowitz (1987:119) explains “when language classes fail to meet student expectations, students can lose confidence in the instructional approach and their ultimate achievement can be limited.”
Simon Borg (1996) holds that the construct of a language teacher is not a one-size-fits-all phenomenon, and contextual factors may ultimately determine how this construct is conceptualized. In case we accept this point of view, then it is of central concern for language teacher education to understand what it means to be a language teacher in particular teaching and learning contexts.
Collinson (2000) stated that “researchers building upon previous ideas and methodologies develop unique terms and definitions, expand (or contract) the base of included factors, and broaden (or narrow) the horizons of instructional approaches, all of which collectively conceal the overlapping qualities of their work.”
According to Guild (2001), educators are cognizant of the diversity of the learners who populate their classrooms, but regrettably, they typically maintain a singular approach to teaching. Guild (2001) also asserts that educators who maintain a limited understanding of the differences among individual learners are likely to seek one paramount approach as the answer to all teaching and learning.
Morrison et al. (2006, p. 66) argue that the manner of instruction can be more important than the types of learning activities selected; on the contrary, Hall & Moseley (2005) agreed it is essential that teachers develop a large repertoire of instructional strategies for use in varied settings with diverse students.
Evans & Waring (2006) asserted that there is a need for increased attention to this topic in teachers’ professional development. They also believe that training can support teachers in altering their instructional methods and planning tools can assist teachers in implementing theoretical concepts in practice. Evans and Waring (2006) also uncovered the fact that a majority of teachers involved in their study typically utilized an approach based upon transmitting information rather than one specifically geared toward the development of students’ understanding.
Sternberg et al. (2008) and some other researchers noted there is no single best approach that will work for everyone, no matter how good that approach may be. Denig (2004) conducted a research and indicated a positive effect on both academic achievement and student attitudes when learning and teaching styles are compatible.
Among Iranian samples, there was a study to investigate what EFL teachers view as important characteristics of successful teachers in Iran in which the researchers asked 215 secondary English teachers answer a 50-item questionnaire. They asked them the characteristics of effective teachers in their questionnaire and the results revealed that to language teachers, instructional strategies were perceived as the most critical for teacher effectiveness, Khojastemehr & Takrimi (2009).
Faizah A Majid (2010) in her paper: Addressing Diversity through “Innovative Teaching ‘SPARK’: Special Preparation and Resources Kit” describes that “Diversity is a common scenario in any classroom that educators are confronted with the need to be innovative in their teaching.” Reviewing modern language teaching methodologies, we can see that teachers’ teaching styles are getting more and more important when the learners’ role and their autonomy are concerned.
Mary Lynne Wilson (2011) in her thesis “Students’ learning style preferences and teachers’ instructional strategies: Correlations between matched styles and academic achievement” states that: “This does not mean, however, that all educators have come to an agreement on the definition, descriptions, or implications of learning styles. Instead, there are an ever- increasing number of theories and models being developed to address this issue. Potentially causing further confusion is the fact that many of these models have a similar theoretical base and share foundational components while they maintain significant variations”.
2.4. NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming)
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) has been around in language teaching for rather a long time but it is becoming more and more famous among EFL teachers and students daily. It may be a new subject when the name is concerned but it is interesting to know that all those instructors who incorporate elements of community language learning, suggestopedia, music, drama and body language into their schedule of teaching are already drawing on NLP. Neuro Linguistic Programming appears to hold great potential for both educational continuum sides: teaching and learning.
The title “NLP” is coined by Bandler and Grinder holding the view that a person is a whole mind-body system with patterned connections between internal experience (`neuro’), language (`linguistic’) and behavior (`programming’), according to Tosey & Mathison (2003).
According to Tosey & Mathison (2003), Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) was developed in the USA in the 1970’s. It has achieved widespread popularity as a method for communication and personal development. The title, coined by the founders, Bandler and Grinder (1975a), refers to purported systematic, cybernetic links between a person’s internal experience (neuro), their language (linguistic) and their patterns of behavior (programming). In essence NLP is a form of modeling that offers potential for systematic and detailed understanding of people’s subjective experience. In Iran, it is also used by professional practitioners of different fields such as market researchers, managers, trainers, lawyers and more.
According to Sulo (2003), “Initially NLP was used mostly by therapists (since that’s where the model originally formed from) and now its applications have extended into almost every area of life (sales, business, negotiation, modeling, teaching, government, etc). One of the great things about NLP is that it contains models that teach a person to effectively model other
NLP is the acronym for Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Vikasa, B. (2006) explains that “Neuro refers to our nervous system, the mental pathways of our five senses by which we see, hear, feel, taste, and smell. Linguistic refers to our ability to use language and how specific words and phrases mirror our mental worlds. Linguistic also refers to our “silent language” or postures, gestures, and habits that reveal our thinking styles, beliefs, etc. Programming is borrowed from computer science, to suggest that our thoughts, feelings, and actions are simply habitual programs that can be changed by upgrading our “mental software”(p.27).
Neuro-Linguistic Programming has been defined in various ways and the following definitions reflect a range of them within NLP domain. Tosey & Mathison (2003) in their paper “Neuro-Linguistic Programming: its potential for learning and teaching in formal education” say:
“Briefly, we might characterize an NLP approach to teaching and learning as follows:
• The teacher- learner relationship is a cybernetic loop, a dynamic process in which meaning is constructed through reciprocal feedback; not a transmission of information from one individual to another, separate, individual.
• People act according to the way they understand and represent the world, not according to the way the world `is’ (i.e. `the map is not the territory’).
• Of prime interest in NLP are the ways in which people represent the world internally, through sensory imagery (principally visual, auditory and kinesthetic) and language. NLP is particularly interested in the way internal representations are structured, both in themselves (e.g. the location, size, brightness etc. of visual imagery), and dynamically (e.g. as sequences). NLP assumes that the structure of internal representation shows regularities for, and is unique to, each individual.
• NLP also assumes that there are systematic relationships between this structuring and that individual’s language and behavior. A learner’s internal representations and processing are reflected, in various ways, in their language and their external behavior (e.g. non-verbal behavior). (NLP courses train participants to observe and utilize these aspects).
• Skills, beliefs and behaviors are all learnt (e.g. skills have corresponding sequences of internal representation, often referred to as `strategies’). Learning is a process through which such representations and sequences are acquired and modified.
• An individual’s capacity to learn is influenced strongly by their neuro-physiological `state’ (e.g. a state of curiosity rather than a state of boredom), and by their beliefs about learning and about themselves as learners (rather obviously, beliefs that one is capable of learning and that learning is worthwhile and fun are considered more useful than their opposites). Such states and beliefs are also learnt and susceptible to change.
• Such modification happens through communication between teacher and learner, which takes place through verbal and non-verbal channels, both consciously and unconsciously. The functioning of which human beings are conscious, and which can be controlled consciously, represents only a small proportion of total functioning.
• All communication potentially influences leaning. Crucially, teachers’ language and behavior influence learners on at least two levels simultaneously; both their understanding of the topic in question (e.g. the dynamic structure of their internal representations), and their beliefs about the world, including about learning.
• It follows that awareness of choice about one’s own language patterns and behavior as a teacher, and sensitivity to and curiosity about their influence on and interaction with learner’s internal representations, are crucial to effective teaching and learning”(pp.3-4).
Tosey, Mathison & Michelli (2005) view Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) as an important