Friday, July 2, 2010

The grammar translation method

Also called The Classical Method has been used by language teachers for many years. The classes developed with this method are based on translating information from one language to another, literature reading and the target language grammar comprehension.
The primary skills to be developed are reading and writing.
The teacher is the authority in the classroom the students should be conscious of the grammatical rules of the target language. This method leaves behind the communication practice.
According to Prator and Celce-Murcia (1979:3), the key features of the Grammar Translation Method are as follows:
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 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.

Diane Larsen-Freeman, in her book Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching (1986:13) provides expanded descriptions of some common/typical techniques closely associated with the Grammar Translation Method. The listing here is in summary form only.
(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

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