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Means and devices of teaching

Means of teachingare understood as materials that serve the purpose of teaching/ learning as tools of teaching (textbook, references of different kinds and purposes, programs, etc.). Thus, means of teaching are a complex of objects, phenomena, ideas and modes of actions, which help realising the overall goals of teaching/ learning.

There exist three major approaches to the classification of teaching/ learning means. M.V. Lyakhovitsky, A.D. Klimentenko, S.F. Shatilov, M.Y. Demyanenkoshare the first approach. According to this approach, a textbookis the main guide for both the teacher and learner, containing:

- patterns of oral and written speech;

- language material (selected with the account of 1) its functional load in different spheres of communication; 2) kinds of language activity; 3) learners’ positive experience in their mother tongue to prevent interference);

- system of exercises;

- supplements and illustrations.

The textbook should be of a complex character, correspond to syllabus requirements for all kinds of language activity and language aspects. The content of the textbook reflects the method of teaching and determines the techniques of training students in the L2 as a vehicle of communication. The textbook contentis comprised of language input (lexis, grammar, phonetics), texts, exercises. The lexical, grammatical and phonetic minima of the textbook are determined by the syllabus.

Texts present one of the most important components of the textbook. They serve the basis for developing speech habits and skills of reading, writing and oral speech. The subject content of the texts corresponds to the syllabus. Texts should certainly have a high cultural and educational potential. Exercises of a textbook should comprise a system of a rigid structure. As system components, the exercises are subdivided into text-based/ non-text-based; monolingual/ bilingual; oral/ written; classroom/ homework; training/ checking up, etc.

Reference books are dictionaries, references, teacher’s books, phrase-books, guides in separate kinds of language activity and language aspects, readers, laboratory works, handout material, graphic and picture illustrations. Some of these materials are meant for teachers, while others are meant for both learners and teachers. All kinds of aids are necessary for teaching, but a textbook remains the main means of teaching. Thus, we may differentiate between the aids comprising the teacher’s kitand those comprising the learner’s kit:


Means of teaching are also subdivided into traditional and technical aids, the main criterion being the information perception channel: auditive, visual and auditive-visual. Thus, traditional means of teaching include:

Channel Teaching material Teaching tool Term
Auditive Teacher voice live Organs of articulation Audio aids
Visual Real-world objects Static pictures of real-world objects Paralinguistic factors of human behaviour Written word of L1 and L2 Natural phenomena and objects Pictures, photos, picture cards, slides, easel-type board Body parts, general body posture and movements, mimics Textbook, reference books, readers, workbooks, wallcharts, tables, blackboard Visual aids
Audio-visual Oral and written speech in L1 and L2 Sensor analysers and organs of articulation Audio-visual aids

Correspondingly, technical aids of teachingcan be illustrated as follows:

Channel Teaching material Teaching tool Technical device Term
Auditive L1 and L2 oral speech CDs, LPs, tapes, electromagnetic waves Computer, radio-set, LP player, tape-recorder Phono-gram
Visual Dynamic and static pictures Written speech Slides, pictures, photos, OHP transparency, silent film OHP projector, video-film player, computer Video/ picto/ photo-gram
Audio-visual Dynamic representation of objects Human behaviour Oral and written speech Slide-film + sound-track, sound-film, video-film, tapes, electromagnetic waves, video CD Computer, OHP projector + tape-recorder, video-player, sound-film projector Video-phono-gram

According to the second approach (V.A. Bukhbinder), student and teacher’s books are the main means of teaching, while all other aids are additional means. Thus, all means of teaching are of material and active origin.

Material means include not only objects, situations and their pictures, but also the language itself as a social-political phenomenon, serving a vehicle of expression and objectification of ideal. Moreover, language means, as intrinsic visualisation, become the major means of teaching a foreign language. The language can be taught without use of extrinsic visual aids. However, it cannot be taught without use of the language itself. In other words, if there is no demonstration of words, speech patterns, texts either orally or in writing, there is no example to follow. Furthermore, you cannot learn a foreign language without using it yourself, i.e. not speaking, reading, writing or listening to it. Here is a direct evidence of combination of aims and means of teaching. To put it in other words, if you want to learn speaking, listening, reading and writing the language, you have to speak, listen, read and write this language.

The language does not only perform its independent function as a vehicle of transmitting information. Communication can also supply other means of teaching. On the one hand, L1 helps teaching L2. Speech mechanisms, having been formed in the students’ mother tongue, are utilised for teaching L2. On the other hand, L1 hinder students from learning L2. It is just because there is no need to communicate in L2. It is L1 that perform a communicative function for our learners in everyday life. L1 is a means of cognition and explanation of phenomena in the surrounding environment. The teacher’s job is to replace L1 for L2, to make English become the equivalent means of cognition. Thus, presented graphically, all means of teaching acquire the following shape:

Sound films
Regularities of allied sciences
Methodological regularities
Oral speech
Means of teaching




The third approach (P.I. Serdukov) concerns only technical means of teaching. Thus, all technical means fall into six groups according to one of the modes of their daily routine application in teaching L2.

1. Means of presentation of information(OHP projector, split screen, video- player, TV-set, computer display screen, radio-set, tape-recorder, LP player, CD player).

2. Means of teaching and control(oral speech labs, computer labs, film and other kinds of projectors for programmed exercises on tape, video etc.).

3. Means of influencing the emotional sphereof learners (devices of dynamic electric light and regulated lift-colour environment, colour and stereo/ quadra-music effects, colour and music effects, air-conditioning and air ozonisers, rhythm-leaders, as well as technical devices of the 1st group – an OHP projector, a split screen, a tape-recorder, amplifiers and loud speakers).

4. Means of monitoring(technical devices to monitor learners’ state before, during and after classes).

5. Means of manipulation(distant/ stationary control panel to manipulate teaching devices, a programmed tape-recorder with a manipulation signals tape, a microprocessor of a computer).

6. Additional means (window blinds and a split screen roller system, a light switch, a teacher – technical assistant communicator, a clock and a timer).

It is noteworthy, that some of the technical means are multifunctional, for example, a tape-recorder, an OHP projector, and a computer. Generally speaking, the functions of technical means can be brought to the following:

· Global influence upon the learner’s preceptor system and his mechanisms of processing of information;

· Manipulation and regulation of the learner’s emotional condition;

· Modelling real world situations and simulating the target language environment;

· Management of the teaching process.

Our short survey on the evolution of the teaching means shows that the most effective means used for teaching are those that make teaching more vivid, easy of access, emotional and, as a result, more effective.

Generally speaking, the means of teaching should be understood as teaching materials and tools that help accomplishing the overall goals of teaching more effectively within a rational period of time.

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