Was a professor of English at San Francisco State University where he was the Director of American Language Institute.
Prof. Brown has published many articles and books on second language acquisition and pedagogy. Some of his publications include: Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy (1994), Principles of Language Learning and Teaching (Third Edition, 1994), Prof. Brown’s research interests include strategies based instruction, classroom language assessment, and relating second language acquisition research findings to classroom methodology. His areas of specialization include: teaching English to speakers of other languages, teacher training, teaching methodology, second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, classroom language assessment, and strategies-based instruction.
‘Teaching by Principles: An Integrative Approach to Language Pedagogy’ by H. Douglas Brown :
H. Douglas Brown’s ‘Teaching by Principles’ is intended for teachers in training i.e., those who intend to be teachers but who have little or no classroom experience, and for teachers who train teachers. The above book ‘Teaching by Principles’ (published in 1994) is a manifestation of the principles of teaching. The book is organized into 4 main sections: i. foundation for classroom practice ii. context of teaching iii. designing and implementing classroom techniques iv. classroom practicalities.
In the above discussed book, Brown takes a look at 12 principles of second language learning from which sound practice is brought forth and based on which the reader’s teaching experience can be classified. The principles are classified as cognitive, affective, and linguistic principles. The book outlines the following 12 principles of recommendation for anyone intending to be a teacher or anyone involved with those who are: principle of context, principle of interactivity, principle of practice, principle of non-pontification, principle of empathy, principle of reality, principle of readability, principle of accessibility, principle of open-endedness, principle of global application, principle of basis in research, and principle of an integrated whole.
Of the twelve principles, there are 3 significant principles for a language teacher to be considered viz., principle of context, principle of interactivity, and principle of empathy.
i) Principle of context : This is one of the most important principles, because it is very detailed and communicative in approach and has useful practical observations for a teacher to assimilate and learning to implement.
ii) Principle of interactivity : This is a pragmatic and exploratory approach which allows the reader to interact with the textual content and students and with his / her own beliefs, ideas and convictions. There is plenty of scope to brainstorming and learning thru practical results. It allows a reader to compare results, share thoughts in a group, to write definitions and reflect on criteria and characteristics.
iii) Principle of empathy: Empathy is a useful characteristic for a new teacher to experience when undergoing the experience of teaching and how it plays on the sub-conscious mind.
Recapping over the twelve principles of recommendation it becomes apparent that experienced teachers too can benefit from reading this book. It would serve as an opportunity to review their own beliefs about effective language teaching and to reflect on their own practices in the classroom. It also serves to be a gentle reminder that we are not merely language teachers but much more than that.