Fact and Act: Two Approaches to Language Teaching

Language teaching methodologies can be categorized into two main approaches: Fact-Based and Action-Based. These approaches represent different techniques for imparting language skills to learners. Let’s explore the key characteristics of each approach:

Fact-Based Approach:

  • Emphasis on Language Knowledge: In a fact-based approach, the primary focus is on teaching learners the foundational knowledge of a language. This includes grammar rules, vocabulary, sentence structures, and other linguistic elements.
  • Passive Learning: Learners often acquire language through passive activities such as memorization, drills, and explicit instruction. 
  • Traditional Methods: Fact-based language teaching often aligns with traditional teaching methods like grammar-translation, where the teacher plays a central role in imparting knowledge to students.

Action-Based Approach:

  • Focus on Practical Communication: The action-based approach prioritizes real communication and practical language use. It aims to equip learners with the skills needed to effectively interact in real-life situations.
  • Active Learning: Learners engage in active and interactive activities such as role-plays, discussions, debates, and real-world tasks that require them to use the language to achieve specific purposes.
  • Communicative Language Teaching (CLT): The action-based approach is closely associated with CLT, a modern teaching method that promotes communicative competence and real-world language use.

Many language educators find value in incorporating elements of both approaches into their teaching. The choice between fact-based and action-based instruction, or both, depends on various factors, including the learners’ proficiency levels, goals, and preferences. A balanced approach that combines language knowledge with practical communication skills often yields the best results.


  • Asher, J.C.  (1979). Learning Another Language Through Actions. San Jose, California: AccuPrint.
  • Krashen, S.D. , & Terrell, T.D. (1983). The Natural Approach. Hayward, CA: The Alemany Press.

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