Three Methods of teaching Second Language.

Methods of teaching language: Grammar-Translation Method, Direct Method, and Audio-Lingua Method.

Teaching a second language is challenging, but through different methods, an educator or teacher can teach their students. The three methods; The Grammar Translation Method, the Direct Method, and the Audio-Lingual Method in teaching a language target, have their own features. To improve understanding of four skills in English, teachers may choose the best method for their practice. These three methods have their strengths and weaknesses.

Grammar - Translation Method:

The Grammar-Translation Method is a traditional and historical approach to teaching languages, including English. It has been widely used in the past, particularly in teaching classical languages like Latin and Ancient Greek, but it has also been applied to modern languages like English. It is a method of learning any foreign language by translating or converting the sentences of the native language into the target language or vice versa. Students learn grammar rules of the foreign language and try to apply them to the native language to convert it into a foreign one.

Here are some key characteristics of the Grammar-Translation Method:

Emphasis on Grammar: Grammar is a central component of this method. Students are taught the rules of grammar, sentence structure, and syntax systematically and explicitly.

Translation: Translation exercises are a core part of this approach. Students translate sentences and texts from the target language (English) to their native language and vice versa. This is seen as a way to reinforce vocabulary and grammar knowledge.

Reading and Writing Focus: This method places a strong emphasis on reading and writing skills. Learners are often required to read and analyze literary texts, which may be beyond their current proficiency level, and write translations or compositions in the target language.

Limited Speaking and Listening: Speaking and listening skills are typically not emphasized in the Grammar-Translation Method. Students may need more opportunities for oral communication in the target language.

Accuracy Over Fluency: The primary goal of this method is accuracy in language use, particularly in written form. Fluency and natural communication are not the primary objectives.

Vocabulary Building: Vocabulary acquisition is important, and students are expected to learn vocabulary lists and memorize translations.

Cultural and Literary Focus: This method often involves the study of literature, historical texts, and cultural aspects of the target language's speakers. This can provide insights into the culture and history associated with the language.

Teacher-Centered: The teacher plays a central role in this method, as they explain grammar rules, provide translations, and guide students in their language learning.

Merits of Grammar Translation Method:

  1. It makes the concept clearer and introduces new words, phrases, and vocabulary.
  2. Teaching and learning become easy because communication happens in the native language or in the mother tongue
  3. It Promotes the skill of writing effectively.
  4. This method can be used in overcrowded classes and a teacher can teach with very less materials and aids.
  5. Vocabulary is taught in the context of literary and historical texts, which can lead to the acquisition of a rich and varied vocabulary.
  6. The method's focus on analytical thinking and language structure can have cognitive benefits, such as improved problem-solving and analytical skills.
Demerits of Grammar - Translation Method of teaching:
  1. One of the Major demerits of this method is it restricts the speaking and listening skills of the foreign language of the student.
  2. The method is often teacher-centered, with limited interaction and participation from students. This can lead to passive learning and reduced engagement.
  3. Translation Method can be time-consuming, as it often involves detailed analysis of grammar rules and extensive vocabulary memorization.
  4. Learners may become overly reliant on translation as a crutch for understanding and expressing themselves in the target language. This can hinder their ability to think and communicate directly in the language.
  5. The Grammar-Translation Method does not adequately prepare learners for real-life language use, where communication involves more than just accurate grammar and vocabulary. It often neglects pragmatic aspects of language and the ability to function in real-world contexts.
Techniques of Grammar - Translation Method:
  1. Students will be asked to read a literary Passage and then translate it into the target language and vice-versa.
  2. Grammar rules are presented with examples.
  3. Teachers should check what students are writing and they will correct the students if they make mistakes.
  4. The teacher should give practice sets of "Fill In the Blanks".
  5. Students are asked to make new sentences with the new words they learned in the text.
  6. The teacher can use the technique of " Topic Composition", students are asked to write any passage on the given topic by the teacher. They will be expected to write a few lines about the topic.

Direct Teaching Method:

The "Direct Method" refers to an approach that emphasizes the direct association between words or phrases and their meaning without the use of the learner's native language. This method focuses on enabling learners to understand, write, and speak the target language (the language being taught) directly, without translation. It emphasizes the use of the target language in the classroom, oral communication, and situational contexts to promote natural language acquisition. The direct teaching method was developed as a counter to the Grammar-Translation Method. It is also known as a natural method of learning English because students can naturally learn English just like their mother tongueThe main objective is to impart a perfect command of a foreign language. The main focus is to make the learner think in the targeted language in the same manner as the learning of his/her mother tongue in the most natural way.

Some Key Characteristics of Direct Teaching Method:

1. Teacher-Centered: The teacher plays a central role in delivering instruction, providing information, and guiding the learning process.
2. Active Engagement: Students are actively engaged in the learning process, often through guided practice, discussions, and interactive activities.
3. No use of Translation: Translation in any shape or form is banished from the classroom, including the use of the mother tongue and of the bilingual dictionary.
4. Skill-Based Focus: The Direct Teaching Method often focuses on the development of specific skills and competencies, such as reading, writing, and mathematical skills.
5. Scaffolded Learning: Instruction is scaffolded to support students as they build upon their existing knowledge and skills.
6. Question-Answer: Students are taught from inception to ask questions as well as answer them.
Merits of Direct Teaching Method:
1. The second language is taught in the medium of the second language and not in the medium of the mother tongue.
2. The child gets many opportunities to listen to spoken language. This is very important for language mastery.
3. Improves the development of language sense.
4. This method emphasizes aural-oral words and students are encouraged to think in English allowing them to speak fluently and confidently in English.
5. Full of activities, which make it interesting and exciting.
6. Facilitates alertness and participation of students.
Demerits of the direct teaching method:
1. Ignores systematic written work and reading activities.
2. May not hold well in higher-level classes where the translation method may be more suitable.
3. Needs skilled teachers; e.g., less effective if teachers have a poor command of English.
4. Speech is given importance at the cost of reading and writing.
5. The method is more suitable for small-sized classes. In Indian schools, we have overcrowded classes. The use of the method may give undesirable results.
6. It is likely to prove a time-consuming method. Indian students have weak language sense or a weak background. They will pose to have understood what is taught when actually they have not.

Techniques of Direct Teaching method:
  1. Question/answer exercise – the teacher asks questions of any type and the student answers.
  2. Paragraph writing – the students are asked to write a passage in their own words.
  3. feedback- If students don’t understand the lesson material, the teacher has to correct them and give feedback. 
  4. Guided Practice- Here, the teacher and students practice the concept together. The student attempts the skill with the assistance of the teacher and other students.

Audio-Lingual Method of Teaching Language:

The Audio-lingual Method was widely used in the 1950s and 1960s, and the emphasis was not on the understanding of words, but rather on the acquisition of structures and patterns in common everyday dialogue. Audio-lingual is a method of foreign language teaching that emphasizes learning grammatical and phonological structure, especially for speaking and listening. It is based on behaviorism and relies on formation as a basis for learning, through a great deal of mechanical repetition.

Some key characteristics of the Audio-Lingual Method.
  1. Pronunciation: It focuses on grammar and Pronunciation over Vocabulary.
  2. Drills: Drills are used to teach structural patterns.
  3. Grammar: Grammatical explanations are kept to a minimum.
  4. Language laboratory: The language laboratory was introduced as an important teaching aid.
  5. Speaking and Listening: The skills of writing and reading are not neglected, but the focus throughout remains on listening and speaking.

Merits of Audio Lingual method of teaching language:

  1. Listening and speaking skills are emphasized.
  2. The use of visual aids is effective in vocabulary teaching.
  3. It emphasized the correct pronunciation.

Demerits of Audio-Lingual Method of Teaching Language:

  1. the learner has little control over their learning.
  2. It is a teacher-dominated method.
  3. Only language form is considered while meaning is neglected.

Techniques of Audio-Lingual teaching Method of teaching language:

  1. Skills are taught in the following order: listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  2. Students are exposed to common sentence patterns and are encouraged to create their own sentences using these patterns. This helps them internalize grammatical structures and language patterns.
  3. Dialogues are a central component of the Audio-Lingual Method. They are used to present language in context, and students are expected to memorize and practice them.
  4. Recordings, including those of native speakers, are frequently used to expose students to authentic pronunciation and intonation.
  5. The use of multimedia resources such as audio recordings, videos, and interactive software is integrated into the teaching process to enhance students' engagement and provide them with a variety of authentic language materials.
  6. Imitation has a very important role in this teaching method. 
  7. Teachers provide feedback on students' errors, guiding them toward the correct usage of language structures.

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