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Language Teaching Methodology: A Text-based Approach

Written by Alina Graur

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Today we would like to talk about language teaching text-based methodology. What is it? How does it work? What are its advantages? We’ve got you covered!

What is it?

A text-based approach entails:

  1. Linking spoken and written texts to the cultural context of their use
  2. Designing units of work which focus on developing skills in relation to whole texts
  3. Providing students with guided practice as they develop language skills for meaningful communication through whole texts.

This methodology can be traced back to the 1970s. The objective of this approach is to make students acquainted with several texts which have a different context. The result will be the following: students will “produce and understand oral and written discourse in various natural or stimulated communicative setting in which they participate with a specific and explicit intention” (Mumba and Mkandawire, 2019, n.p.).

How does it work?

“The Text-based Integrated Approach means that a series of lessons probably one or two weeks’ work will comprise a unit which centre around a written text. This will have to be chosen carefully by the teacher for its suitability in terms of interest, level of difficulty, and appropriateness to the learners” (Mumba and Mkandawire, 2019, n.p.).

A language after all, does incorporate different texts. For instance, rather than just teaching isolated words such as teeth, we can make up a story about how important it is to brush our teeth, at least twice a day in order to avoid visits to the dentist. It appears from different studies that students, at any age, learn more effectively when grammar and vocabulary are taught altogether. And, when the teaching material makes students enthusiastic. Consequently, it is recommended to choose texts which will trigger interest. For instance, young children may be interested in animals and cartoons whereas older ones will find topics such as movies and music more appealing.

Main advantages?

It can be fun! Lessons can integrate debates, roles plays, drama or any sort of competition, if preparation is given. This method implies that “teaching should focus on all the four language skills (speaking, reading, writing and listening). All activities are designed with reference to a particular text” (Mumba and Mkandawire, 2019, n.p.). This particular method seems to increase memorization and overall learning. As points out students can understand the meaning of new words by themselves by reading them in context and can also quicky acquire new vocabulary that evolves around that one topic. See the previous example about teeth.


Mumba, C. and Mkandawire, S. (2019) ‘The Text-based Integrated Approach to Language Teaching: Its Meaning and Classroom Application’, Multidisciplinary Journal of Language and Social Sciences Education, 2, pp. 123-143.

Sanata Dharma University (n.p.) Approaches, methods and techniques in language teaching. Available at: (Accessed: 25 November 2020). (n.p.) Text-based instructional strategies. Available at: (Accessed: 26 November 2020).

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