First things first: So I´d like to start my thoughts about teaching a language with thinking about my learning experience.
I always loved to learn languages, with the exception of the latin language, because I thougt it really good for nothing, there was no possibilty to use it in real life. So, first consequence for my teaching methods was the premise to take care when choosing themes, that they are useful in the life of the learners, that demands to inquire the learners needs and interests and to be always ready to leave the paths of the book and following the path of the discoverd interests, to stay in conversation and to listen and not only to talk.
Learning languages meant and still means to me, exploring a new world, a new kind of thinking and analysing the world. So I like stressing this point of view when teaching, indicating and discovering what is simily and what is different in the logic of the different languages.
First we need words, a lot of words, words of personal interest and we need to familiarize with the sound of the new language.At least I deem it the most important thing to fall a bit in love with the new language, because its real difficult to learn something you don´t like at all.
To familiarize with a language I´d always liked to listen to the music, to see films or theatre. Even if I didn´t got the words, normally I got the feelings of the situations and I got the melody of the language.
Using the language in real life-situations was my best teacher.
My worst experience of learning a language had been in university, when I started to learn italian. We started by learning each day a new chapter of grammar. After a year I knew nearly the whole basic-grammar, but I couldn´t talk to anybody, because I had no words......and only my love for the sound of the language kept me going on with my studies.
Last but not least I consider love and motivation the main factors in the field of teaching and learning. Beeing a bit in flames for the field you teach and learn and for the people you teach or with whom you learn, thats half the battle.