Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching by Richards and Rogers (2002), classifies language teaching methods as the "dominant language of education, commerce, religion and government in the Western world". Latin was once the most widely studied foreign language. Even after French, Italian and English took over its place. The study of classical Latin and an analysis of its grammar and rhetoric became the model for foreign language study until nineteenth century.
The Grammar Translation Method derived from traditional approaches to the teaching of Latin and Greek in the nineteenth century. It is "a way of studying a language that approaches the language first thought detailed analysis of its grammar rules, followed by application of this knowledge through the t
ask of translating sentences and text into and out of the target language" (Richards and Rogers, 2002). Students in this method develop the ability to read prestigious literary texts. They also learn to read and write in the target language accurately, which is a necessity. However, this method is a particular analysis of the written target language, especially its grammar and vocabulary that are learned from bilingual word lists which can be boring as a main task. In addition, the mother tongue is used as the medium of instruction, would not work for any form of listening and speaking teaching. It is thought that if the last two points are used as a pre-task, it will be rather enjoyable. Unfortunately, this method hardly gives any attention to listening and speaking skills, and the result is usually an inability on the part of the student to use the language for communication.
Criticisms toward the Grammar-Translation Method have led to the development of the Direct Method. This method is based on natural language learning principles in which the target language is used exclusively as the instruction language. In this teaching environment, learners should actively involved in using the target language in realistic, everyday situations and be encouraged to think in the target language.
There are several drawbacks that have caused the decline of the Direct Method and they are as follows:
1. It requires teachers who are native speakers or have native-like fluency in the foreign language;
2. It is largely dependent on the teacher's skill, rather than on a textbook;
3. Not all teachers are proficient enough in the foreign language.
4. The Silent Way and Suggestopaedia are good methods used to lower the affective filter and, therefore language can be acquired better if the affective filter is low.
Language Teaching : The Grammar Translation Method written by Monique Barb for FamousWhy.com
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