The Grammar-Translation Method
As “modern” languages began to enter the curriculum of European schools in the eighteenth century, they were taught using the same basic procedures that were used for teaching Latin. Textbooks consisted of statements of abstract grammar rules, lists of vocabulary, and sentences for translation. Speaking the foreign language was not the goal, and oral practice was limited to students reading aloud the sentences they had translated. These sentences were constructed to illustrate the grammatical system of the language and consequently bore no relation to the language of real communication.
By the nineteenth century, this approach based on the study of Latin had become the standard way of studying foreign language in schools. A typical textbook in the mid-nineteenth century thus consisted of chapters or lessons organized around grammar points. Each grammar point was listed, rules on its use were explained, and it was illustrated by sample sentences.
This approach to foreign language teaching became known as the Grammar-Translation Method.
Principle of The Grammar-Translation Method
1. The goal of foreign language study is to learn a language in order to read its literature or in order to benefit from the mental discipline and intellectual development that results from foreign language study. 2. Reading and writing are the major focus; little or no systematic attention is paid to speaking or listening. 3. Vocabulary selection is based on solely on the reading texts used, and words are taught through bilingual words lists, dictionary study, and memorization. 4. The sentence is the basic unit of teaching and language practice. 5. Grammar is taught deductively.
6. Translation interprets the words and phrases of the foreign languages in the best possible manner. 7. The phraseology and the idiom of the target language can best be assimilated in the process of interpretation. 8. The structures of...