Many English teachers believe in two teaching methods that can benefit a variety of students. One method, commonly known as “bottom-up teaching,” involves a technique called building blocks. Another, labeled as “top-down teaching,” creates an environment of immersion.
It is no secret that each student learns differently. Teachers must develop English lessons that suit all students. Bottom-up teaching incorporates learning letters, sounds, and sound combinations before beginning to read. Basically, children are taught the tiniest parts of the English language before moving on to syllables and words. Some new readers benefit from this method because it starts reading from the very beginning and moves bit by bit through the process. Some parents argue that this is a more complete style of teaching.
On the other hand, top-down teaching involved immersion. Immersion is complete use of the English language from the beginning. Typically used for ESL (English as a Second Language) students, immersion forces the student to become involved in everything English has to offer. From speaking the language, to reading and writing, students are able to gain a quick understanding of English through constant involvement. Teachers speak English consistently and expect students to do the same as much as possible. Books are read and pictures are used to create a greater understanding of the story itself. Sentences are written and understanding is developed by constant exposure.
No matter the style, teachers are able to develop lessons that suit all learners. Some students are able to quickly pick up on English simply through exposure to the language, while others prefer a more detailed and slower approach.