Selasa, 10 Mei 2011


          The first concern with language teaching method had to do with the teaching of Latin and Greek grammars. The method used at that time were mostly designed to enable people to speak, read and write Latin. All of the method were related to the method which was popularly known as the Grammar Translation Method. With the invention of printing of reproduction of Greek and Latin classics became easy, and, therefore the method was no longer effective to teach the languages. There were a number of attempts to improve the teaching of the languages. One attempt was suggested by meidenger (1783), who advocated translation into the target language through the application of rules of grammar. Karl Plotz (1819-1881) also improved the teaching method; his method was divided into two parts:
     1. rules and paradigms
     2. sentences from translation into and out of the target language

His method also included rote learning of grammar rules, learning to put grammatical labels on words, and learning to apply the rules by translating sentences. This way of teaching was finally called the Grammar Translation Method (GTM).
          Since Latin was learned based on written language of classical literature. The GTM ignores authentic spoken communication and social contexts of the language. It was also hoped that, through the study of the grammar of the target language, the student would become familiar with the grammar of their native language (Larsen-Freeman, 2000:11). The fundamental purpose people learned a foreign language was to be able to read literature that was written in the foreign language so that the students were provided with exercises to read and write in the foreign language. The GTM was widely used in the USA in 1890's. It was also called the Classical Method since it was first used in teaching of classical languages, Latin and Greek.

  1. Through the GTM language is believed to consist of written words and of words which exist in isolation. Vocabulary in the target language is learned through direct translation from the mother tongue.
  2. In language teaching what should be taught is not the language itself but the faculty of logical thought and provided valuable mental discipline.
  3. The medium of instruction is the mother tongue, which is used to explain conceptual problems and to discuss the use of particular grammatical structure.
  4. Learning of a foreign language needs feeling secure and this condition may take place whenever language learners know how to say in the target language.
  1. Grammar rules are presented and studied explicitly.
  2. The primary skills to be developed are reading and writing.
  3. Hardly any attention is paid to speaking and listening skills.
  4. Teacher correction is the only way to make students produce the right forms of the foreign language.
  5. The goal of foreign language learning is the ability to understand the texts written in foreign language.
  6. Mastering the grammar of the foreign language is essential in order for students to understand the written target language.
  7. Vocabulary is learnt from bilingual words lists.
  8. The mother tongue is used as the medium of instruction.
  9. A paramount use of translation exercises is given.
  10. Literary language is superior to the spoken language.
  11. The authority in the classroom is the teacher.
  1. The class reads a text written in the target language.
  2. Students translate the passage from the target language to their mother tongue. 
  3. The teacher asks students in their native language if they have any questions, students ask questions and the teacher answers the questions into their native language.
  4. Students write out the answer to reading comprehension questions.
  5. Students translate new words from the target language to their mother tongue.
  6. Students are given a grammar rule and based on the example they apply the rule by using the new words.
  7. Students memorize vocabulary.
  8. The teacher asks students to state the grammar rule.
  9. Students memorize the rule.
  10. Errors are corrected by providing the right answers.
  1. Classes are taught in the mother tongue, with little active use of the target language
  2. Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.
  3.  Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given.
  4. Grammar provides the rules for putting words together, and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words.
  5. Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early.
  6.  Little attention is paid to the content of texts, which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis.
  7. Often the only drills are exercises in translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue.
  8. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.
  9. Its focus is on accuracy and not fluency.
  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 the target language)
  5. Deductive Application of Rule (Understanding grammar rules and their exceptions, 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 the target language).
  1. The phraseology of the target language is quickly explained. Translation is the easiest way of explaining meanings or words and phrases from one language into another. Any other method of explaining vocabulary items in the second language is found time consuming. A lot of time is wasted if the meanings of lexical items are explained through definitions and illustrations in the second language. Further, learners acquire some short of accuracy in understanding synonyms in the source language and the target language.
  2. Teacher’s labour is saved. Since the textbooks are taught through the medium of the mother tongue, the teacher may ask comprehension questions on the text taught in the mother tongue. Pupils will not have much difficulty in responding to questions on the mother tongue. So, the teacher can easily assess whether the students have learnt what he has taught them. Communication between the teacher and the learners does not cause linguistic problems. Even teachers who are not fluent in English can teach English through this method. That is perhaps the reason why this method has been practiced so widely and has survived so long.
  1. It is an unnatural method. The natural order of learning a language is listening, speaking, reading and writing. That is the way how the child learns his mother tongue in natural surroundings. But in the Grammar Translation Method the teaching of the second language starts with the teaching of reading. Thus, the learning process is reversed. This poses problems.
  2. Speech is neglected. The Grammar Translation Method lays emphasis on reading and writing. It neglects speech. Thus, the students who are taught English through this method fail to express themselves adequately in spoken English. Even at the undergraduate stage they feel shy of communicating through English. It has been observed that in a class, which is taught English through this method, learners listen to the mother tongue more than that to 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.
  3. Exact translation is not possible. Translation is, indeed, a difficult task and exact translation from one language to another is not always possible. A language is the result of various customs, traditions, and modes of behavior of a speech community and these traditions differ from community to community. There are several lexical items in one language, which have no synonyms/equivalents in another language. For instance, the meaning of the English word ‘table’ does not fit in such expression as the ‘table of contents’, ‘table of figures’, ‘multiplication table’, ‘time table’ and ‘table the resolution’, etc. English prepositions are also difficult to translate. Consider sentences such as ‘We see with our eyes’, ‘Bombay is far from Delhi’, ‘He died of cholera’, He succeeded through hard work’. In these sentences ‘with’, ‘from’, ‘of’, ‘through’ can be translated into the Hindi preposition ‘se’ and vice versa. Each language has its own structure, idiom and usage, which do not have their exact counterparts in another language. Thus, translation should be considered an index of one’s proficiency in a language.
  4. It does not give pattern practice. A person can learn a language only when he internalizes its patterns to the extent that they form his habit. But the Grammar Translation Method does not provide any such practice to the learner of a language. It rather attempts to teach language through rules and not by use. Researchers in linguistics have proved that to speak any language, whether native or foreign entirely by rule is quite impossible. Language learning means acquiring certain skills, which can be learnt through practice and not by just memorizing rules. The persons who have learnt a foreign or second language through this method find it difficult to give up the habit of first thinking in their mother tongue and than translating their ideas into the second language. They, therefore, fail to get proficiency in the second language approximating that in the first language. The method, therefore, suffers from certain weaknesses for which there is no remedy
          The Grammar Translation Method was developed for the study of “dead” languages and to facilitate access to those languages’ classical literature. That’s the way it should stay. English is certainly not a dead or dying language, so any teacher that takes “an approach for dead language study” into an English language classroom should perhaps think about taking up Math or Science instead. Rules, universals and memorized principles apply to those disciplines – pedagogy and communicative principles do not.

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