1. That language can be learned much like other school subjects, i.e. learning facts or rules and applying those facts in a problem solving fashion.
This myth often results in the teacher spending a lot of time talking about the language being learned and not talking in that language. It results in testing the students' knowledge of grammar and not their ability to communicate.
Language is not learned primarily by learning the "rules" but rather by first listening to and understanding the spoken language and then practicing speaking. Occasionally, however, learning of rules can help many adults learn and use the language. Just do not make rules the focus of the course.
2. That language is learned primarily by memorization and repetition of sentence patterns.
While repetition and memorization can play an important role in language learning, they cannot by themselves insure that students will be able to use the language for any real purpose. Repetition and memorization, if used, must be accompanied by other activities requiring the application of the learned patterns in novel situations and with variation in vocabulary and even structure.
3. That language lessons should be centered around a particular grammatical pattern and that these should be sequenced from simple to complex.
This myth often leads to the teaching of sentences because of their simplicity rather than because of their usefulness to the learner. The first consideration in selecting material for teaching a second language should be to choose vocabulary and sentences that the learner wants and needs to learn. The grammatical simplicity of the sentence should be a secondary consideration.
4. That language is learned by first gaining mastery over one sentence pattern and then moving on to another.
This myth often leads to the overuse of mechanical structure drills and causes the teacher to place an inordinate amount of attention on the correction of grammatical errors. Research has shown that grammatical development takes place gradually and that the learner is developing many aspects of the grammar simultaneously. Learner errors are not all bad. They can show the teacher that the learner is progressing normally toward mastery of the whole language system.
The teacher's efforts should be focused on providing the student with lots of opportunities to hear and comprehend communicative language and to interact in as realistic a way as possible.