Three of the earliest teaching methods were the Grammar-Translation Method, the Direct Method, and the Audio-lingual Method. Discuss these three methods. Also, explain their shortcomings which led to more current approaches in the teaching of grammar to L2 speakers. 1. i) Grammar Translation Method (GTM):
Grammar-translation method is the extension of the Classical method which began in Germany (Prussia) in the late 18th century. It was then become popular in the early 19th century. It is one of the earliest teaching methods and was considered as the first institutionalized and the oldest method of language teaching. This is because; GTM was an adopted language teaching method in various schools. In the book, “The Empirical Evidence for the Influence of L1 in Interlanguage (1984: 98)” the writer, Howaat, said that this teaching method was actually to educate students Latin and to the extent of teaching the ancient Greek. In implementing this method, teachers use students’ L1 to teach. Therefore, L1 is very important as a medium resource and is widely used in the classroom.
GTM is more institutionalized in form and are teach to larger groups. It also conserved the basic framework of grammar and translation. For example, they used it to replace the traditional texts with sample sentences and translate sentences into and out of the foreign language. Besides that, the major goals in this method are, writing and reading comprehension and grammar points are showed using isolated or disconnected sentences. Grammar rules are taught explicitly and directly while sometimes the point of the specific rules and exceptions are emphasized.
According to Diane Larsen-Freeman, in her book Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (1986:13), GTM provides expanded descriptions of some common/typical techniques which are: 1) Translation of a Literary Passage - Translating target language to native language 2) Reading Comprehension Questions - Finding information in a passage, making inferences and relating to personal experience. 3) Antonyms/Synonyms - Finding antonyms and synonyms for words or sets of words. 4) Cognates - Learning spelling/sound patterns that correspond between L1 and L2. 5) Deductive Application of Rule - Understanding grammar rules and their exceptions, and then applying them to new examples. 6) Fill-in-the-blanks - Filling in gaps in sentences with new words or items of a particular grammar type. 7) Memorization - Memorizing vocabulary lists, grammatical rules and grammatical paradigms. 8) Use Words in Sentences - Students create sentences to illustrate they know the meaning and use of new words. 9) Composition- Students write about a topic using L2.
ii) The shortcomings of GTM:
GTM is much based on written words and texts only. It is not taught in order where it should begin with listening, speaking, reading and writing. This creates a lot of problem because GTM starts with the teaching of reading. Therefore, the learning process is reversed and it can turn to be uninspiring and boring. Furthermore, in GTM, speech is neglected due to the focus on writing and reading. Students, who are taught English through this method, fail to communicate effectively in spoken English. For example, in a class which is taught English through this method, learners listen to L1 more than the second/foreign language. Since language learning involves habit formation such students fail to acquire habit of speaking English. Thus, they have to pay a heavy price for being taught through this method. According to Richards and Rodgers, GTM has been rejected as a legitimate language teaching method by modern scholars. As they quote: “Though it may be true to say that the Grammar-Translation Method is still widely practiced, it has no advocates. It is a method for which there is no theory. There is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in...
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