1.THE GRAMMAR-TRANSLATION METHOD
At one time it was called the classical method since it was first used in the teaching of the classic languages, Latin and Greek ( Chastain 1998 ).
As we enter the classroom, the class is n the middle of reading a passage in their textbox. The passage is an expert entitled ‘ The Boys ‘ Ambition ‘ form Mark Twain’s Life on the Mississippi. Each student is called on to read a few lines from the passage. After they have finished reading, they are asked to translate into Spanish the few lines they have just read. The teacher helps them with new vocabulary items. When the students have finished reading and translating the passage, the teacher asks them in Spanish if they have any questions.
Announcing the next activity, the teacher asks the students to turn the page in their text. There is a list of words there. The introduction to the exercise tells the students that these are words taken from the passage they have just read. The students see words ‘ambition’ ‘career,’ ‘wharf,’ ‘tranquil,’ ‘gorgeous,’ loathe,’ envy,’ and ‘humbly.’
When they have finished this exercise, the teacher reminds them that English words that look like Spanish words are called ‘cognates.’ The English ‘-try,’ she says for example, often corresponds to the Spanish endings –dad and –tad.
Then they are given the rule for use of a direct object with two-word verb:
If the two-words verb is separable, the direct object may come between the verb and its particle. However, separation is necessary when the direct object is a pronoun. If the verb is inseparable, then there is on separation of the verb and particle by the object. For example:
John put away his book.
John put his book away/john put it away.
John put away it.
( because ‘put away’ is a n inseparable two-word verb )
After reading over the rule and the examples, the students are asked to tell which of the following two-words verb, taken from the passage, are separable and which inseparable. They refer to the passage for clues. If they cannot tell from the passage, they use their dictionaries or ask their teacher.
When the students are finished with this exercise, they read their answer aloud. At the end of the chapter there is a list of vocabulary items that appeared in the passage. For homework, the teacher asks the students to memorize the Spanish translation for the first twenty words and to write a sentence in English using each word.
2.Using the Gouin Series Method
Jonathan Arries, a colleague in Modern Languages, came to speak to my students and me recently about second language teaching methods that might be effective with children. We had a long discussion about methods for teaching different aged kids, and when to introduce a second alphabet.
One method he recommended for little kids was a Gouin Series. François Gouin was a French Latin teacher who wrote about his difficulties in learning German based on grammars and dictionaries. The approach he advocated was to have "themes" such as The Plant and to have students memorize sentences in sequence relating to the theme:
The acorn sprouts.
The oak plant takes root.
The shoot sprouts out of the earth.
The stalk buds.
The key points are that it's more important to learn sentences to speak than words, that verbs are the key elements in sentences, and that sentences are more easily learned when they form a narrative. Gouin succeeded in learning German when he banished the grammar and dictionary in favor of what we would now call discovery learning: he asked his consultants (German-speaking children) to teach him the series associated with different themes (The Plant, The Bird, etc.), and he dutifully wrote these down and memorized them.
Gouin's frustration with traditional grammars and dictionaries is similar to the frustration found in endangered language communities when they see the work that linguists have done. Linguists who document a language usually produce a reference grammar (a description of how sentences and words are formed), a dictionary (a list of all the words), and a text collection (stories, conversations, and other samples of language). These are of little use for people who want to learn how to ask their grandmother to tell a story or to lead a ceremony.
Gouin's method is attractive for its emphasis on actions. Verbs are particularly important in the native languages of the south: verbs are often the only words used in sentences, and the verb encodes everything from the person and number of the participants in a sentence, to tense, location, and direction.
Direct Method based on belief that:
1 Knowing a language was being able to speak it! Primacy of spoken word. New method laid great stress on correct pronunciation and target language from outset. Advocated teaching of oral skills at expense of every traditional aim of language teaching.
2 Second language learning must be an imitation of first language learning, as this is the natural way humans learn any language, and so MT has no place in FL lesson. (Baby never relies on another language to learn its first language).
3 Printed word must be kept away from second language learner for as long as possible (same as first language learner, who doesn't use printed word until he has good grasp of speech).
4 The written word / writing should be delayed until after the printed word has been introduced.
5 The learning of grammar/ translating skills should be avoided because they involve the application of the MT.
6.All above items must be avoided because they hinder the acquisition of a good oral proficiency.
4.The Audio-lingual method
The audio-lingual method was widely used in the United States and other countriesin the 1950's and 1960's. It is still used in some programs today.
Theory of language
The Structural view of language is the view behind the audio-lingual method. Particular emphasis was laid on mastering the building blocks of language and learning the rules for combining them.
Theory of learning
Behaviorism, including the following principles:
• language learning is habit-formation
• mistakes are bad and should be avoided, as they make bad habits
• language skills are learned more effectively if they are presented orally first, then in written form
• analogy is a better foundation for language learning than analysis
• the meanings of words can be learned only in a linguistic and cultural context
Here are some of the objectives of the audio-lingual method:
• accurate pronunciation and grammar
• ability to respond quickly and accurately in speech situations
• knowledge of sufficient vocabulary to use with grammar patterns.
Audiolingualism uses a structural syllabus
Types of learning techniques and activities
Here is a typical procedure in an audio-lingual course
• Students hear a model dialogue
• Students repeat each line of the dialogue
• Certain key words or phrases may be changed in the dialogue
• Key structures from thedialogue serveas the basis for pattern drills of different kinds.
• The students practice substitutions in the pattern drills
The cognitive-code approach of the 1970s emphasised that language learning involved active mental processes, that it was not just a process of habit formation (the assumption underlying the audiolingual method that came before it). Lessons focussed on learning grammatical structures but the cognitive code approach emphasised the importance of meaningful practice, and the structures were presented inductively, i.e. the rules came after exposure to examples. There was, however, little use of examples from authentic material.
The aim of the class is for learners to understand the ‘rule of the day', which is that the past form of regular verbs is made using -ed. The teacher elicits a dialogue that includes clear examples of the structure. The learners practise it, and the teacher uses it to elicit the rules.
In the classroom
The approach included the clear and structured use of concept questions to help learners identify the limits of use of structure and lexis, and teachers still find this useful. The PPP methodology, (Presentation, Practice and Production), through which learners gain a clear understanding of a grammatical rule before they practise it in meaningful contexts, may still suit some learning contexts and teachers.