This teaching approach focuses on the analysis and study of grammatical rules of the TL using the mother tongue as the instruction and analysis language
This teaching approach focuses on the analysis and study of grammatical rules of the TL using the mother tongue as the instruction and analysis language. Moreover, grammatical rules are always explained and given with illustrations. As for vocabulary is provided in lists separated from any context. Content, according to this method, is not given enough value to ensure any communicative function. It can be argued that linguistic tasks require an adequate knowledge of the grammatical rules in addition to communicative utterances. As for language acquisition, children subconsciously acquire language without having to study the grammatical rules which cannot be used alone to produce proper speaking or writing. This method was used to develop the ability to read literature and the learners’ general mental discipline. The grammar-translation method of teaching was used in the 1500s to teach Latin. The native language is used as means of teaching and communication in grammar-translation classes. It may seem to be a boring method but it can be argued that a great number of people have learned foreign languages using this method without direct communication with the native speakers of the target languages which happened in the former Soviet Union.
Some learners positively respond to the grammar-translation method for the sake of simple objectives and clear sense of achievement. Other learners also go for the feeling of the mother tongue safety. Such learners refer to the grammatical structures and rules using the mother tongue equivalents. To build their communicative skills, learners use the grammatical knowledge as essential foundation. On the other hand, many learners find it boring and the non-communicative nature of this approach weakens the comprehensive skills of the learners. Currently, the grammar-translation method of teaching is not very common, in spite of the fact that it is adopted in different way at some places round the world. Jack Richards and Theodore Rogers stated in their 2001 book, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching, that this method is adopted in some countries yet many scholars abandoned it.
When teachers started teaching modern languages in Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, they adopted the grammar-translation method the same way it was adopted for Latin. In this methodology, translation is essential in the process of teaching so that in drills, students translate disconnected sentences from the TL into their mother tongue.
The target language is not used actively for communication in class and students are not exposed to the TL. Thus, there is no listening ,speaking or pronunciation practices. The main concern is on translation, reading and writing rather than other skills like listening and speaking. As a result, reading and writing might be developed on the expense of other skills that are needed for holding the simplest form of dialogues or everyday conversation.
Pros and Cons
This method is described as rigid, dull and boring by many educational scholars because it neglects creativity and students are left with very superficial and weak knowledge of the communicative language.
Yet, hybrid forms of this method are still adopted in different parts of the world where students seek translating texts from the TL into the mother tongue and vice versa. Furthermore, it is assumed essential for learners, mostly ESL students, to study grammar. According to this method, instruction supports students with the rules of arranging words in addition to the form and variation of words.
Communicative language Teaching
The Communicative Method of Teaching is also known as Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). It was prominent during the 1970s and 1980s when the European Common Market opened and there was a growing plea for language learning. Besides, foreign languages started to be taught in secondary and high schools.