ESL Methods - English Language Teaching
The field of linguistics and teaching in the 20th century is marked by the development of different foreign language teaching methods and approaches. Some have no or small following and others are widely used Although modern foreign language teaching has adopted completely new methods, the work of language professionals in the period between 1950 and 1980 contributed significantly to scientific views in the field of second language teaching and learning. Even when methods are not frequently used or have fallen into obscurity, they may offer useful insights into the general teaching methodology. Surely, modern teaching is also based on the elements derived from these methods. What is a method?
Before we present the teaching methods and their classification, it would be useful to remember what method is in terms of its definition and application in classrooms. One of the most widespread definitions is a short statement that method is a plan for presenting a certain language material to be learned. It is agreed among linguists that it should be based upon a selected approach. * Yet, not all linguists actually agree on the use of the terms ‘’method’’ and ‘’approach’’. It seems that some linguists tend to cancel the term method; some hold that a certain method is actually an approach or that a certain approach is in fact a method. * Nevertheless, most linguists agree that a certain instructional system must be elaborated in relation to the objectives of teaching and learning. This means that the selection and organization of the content must be considered in terms of these objectives, task types and the roles of teachers and students. Basic classification of methods
Basic classification of methods falls into three main categories: (1) Structural methods:
the grammar-translation method and the audio-lingual method (described below)
(2) Functional methods: situational language teaching (described below)
(3) Interactive methods (in alphabetical order):
* communicative language teaching,
* direct method,
* language immersion,
* natural approach,
* proprioceptive language learning method,
* silent way,
* teaching proficiency through reading and
* total physical response (TPR).
The grammar-translation method
This foreign language teaching method is a structural method based on the traditional (also called classical) method of teaching Greek and Latin. * In the 18th and 19th centuries, an adult was considered mentally prepared for the world and its challenges only if the person had learned classical literature of the Greeks and Romans and mathematics. The goal of the grammar-translation method was to make learners able to read and translate literary masterpieces and classics and not to speak a foreign language. It stayed in schools until the 1960s (including American schools), but the evolving teaching methodology found many weak points of this method and it was consequently replaced with the audio-lingual and direct method. * However, in India, where a number of methods and techniques have evolved in foreign language teaching, this method is the oldest method of teaching and it is still in active use.
Characteristics of the grammar-translation method
In this method, students strictly follow the textbook and translate sentences word for word in order to memorize abstract grammatical rules and exceptions and long bilingual vocabulary lists: * The teacher translates from the foreign language into the mother tongue and the students from their mother tongue into the foreign language. * Grammar points are presented contextually in the textbook and explained by the teacher. * The only exercised skill was reading but only in the context of translation.
Disadvantages of the grammar-translation method
Because of these limited objectives, language professionals found more...
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