The Grammar-Translation Approach

Teaching Methods
Zhong Caishun
[email protected]
What is the conceptual structure of
a teaching method?
What are some of the major
methods witnessed in the history of
language teaching
Questions on teaching a language
Approach, method, technique
Changes in language teaching
methods throughout history have
reflected recognition of the changes
in the kind of proficiency learners
Approaches and methods
Grammar translation Method
Direct method
The total physical response
The silent way
Community language learning
The natural approach
Communicative approach
Task-based language teaching
Competency-based instruction
Cooperative learning
Whole language approach
Multiple intelligence
Grammar translation method
 To be able to read literature written in the
target language
 To be able to translate from one language
to another
 To develop reading and writing skill
Principal Characteristics
Grammar Translation is a way of learning a language by firstly analyzing its
grammar rules, and then applying this knowledge to the task of translating
sentences and texts into and out of the target language.
Reading and writing are the major focus; little or no systematic attention is paid
to speaking and listening.
Vocabulary selection is based solely on the reading texts used, and words are
taught through bilingual word lists, dictionary study, and memorization.
The sentence is the basic unit of teaching and language practice. Much of the
lesson is devoted to translating sentences into and out of the target language,
and it is this focus on the sentence that is a distinctive feature of this method.
Principle Characteristics
Accuracy is emphasized. Students are expected to attain high standards
in translation, because of "the high priority attached to meticulous
standards of accuracy which, as well as having an intrinsic moral value,
was a prerequisite for passing the increasing number of formal written
examinations that grew up during the century" (Howatt 1984: 132, cf.
Jack C. Richards & Theodore S. Rodgers, 1986,4).
Grammar is taught deductively, that is, by presentation and study of
grammar rules, which are then practiced through translation exercises.
The student's native language is the medium of instruction. It is used to
explain new items and to enable comparisons to be made between the
foreign language and the student's native language.
----Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and
Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University
Press pp.3-4.
Application: Typical Techniques
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Translation of a Literary Passage
Reading Comprehension Questions
Deductive Application of Rule
Use Words in Sentences
Wrong idea of what language is
Lead to Less learners’ motivation or frustration
for learners
"a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable
grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce
perfect translations of stilted or literary prose."
---from (Richards & Rodgers 1986 p.4).
"It is a method for which there is no theory.
There is no literature that offers a rationale or
justification for it or that attempts to relate it to
issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational
Advantages of GTM
 An
effective way for application of
grammar and sentence structure
 Few demands on teachers
 Least stressful for students
The Direct Method
In the late 19th century in Europe, for economic
development, the cross-language communication
became more frequent. As a result, there was an
increasing demand on foreign languages learning
and oral communication became the main goal
of foreign language teaching.
First introduced in France and Germany.
Berlitz (Maximilian D. Berlitz,1852-1921) used
extensively in Rhode Island, USA, and opened
the first language school.
Learn how to communicate in the
target language- learn to think in
the target language.
Correct pronunciation
Emphasize listening and speaking.
Think in target languages. No native
language. No translation.
Learning basic sentences,
introducing daily life.
Rationale of DM
First language learning process
(1) No grammar
(2) No mother tongue
(3) No translation
(4) Postponement of printed word
(5) Postponement of written word
Rationale of DM
Linguistic theory
Strong theoretical base in linguistics and
Language is primarily spoken, not written.
The basic unit of a language is sentence.
Language is learned through
Rationale of DM
Learning theory
Emphasising vocabulary acquisition through
exposure to its use in situations.
Meaning is to be conveyed directly in the
target language through the use of
demonstration and visual aids.
Direct communication: as baby learning
mother tongue.
Imitation: repetition and practice
Association: e.g.: hand – arm, shoulder, foot,
Grammar is taught inductively: Ss are
presented with examples.
Teaching model
Kelly’s 5 steps of teaching:
 Preparation: review previous lesson.
 Presentation: introduce new lesson.
 Association: associate previous and
new lessons.
 Systematization: systematize the
new lesson in certain situation.
 Application: practice
Reading loud
Question and answer exercise
Getting students to self-correct
Conversation practice
Fill-in-the-blank exercise
Map drawing
Paragraph writing
Role of the teacher/ students
Teacher centered. Student role is
less passive than in GTM.
T/S are partners.
Teacher is the only demonstrator.
He/she never translates but
demonstrates the meaning through
the use of realia, pictures or
Activities–Berlitz School(1)
Never translate: demonstrate.
Never explain: act.
Never make a speech: ask
Never imitate mistake: correct.
Never speak with single words: use
Never speak too much: make Ss
speak much.
Activities –Berlitz School(2)
jump around: follow your plan.
go too fast: keep the pace of the
speak too slowly: speak normally.
speak too quickly: speak naturally.
speak too loudly: speak naturally.
be impatient: take it easy.
Advantage of DM
 An
effective way in creating
learners to be competent in using
the target communicatively.
Disadvantage of DM
 Difficult
to implement in public
secondary school education
 Time-wasting
 Not all teachers were proficient
enough in the foreign language
Oral-Situational Approach
Developed in Britain and popular
between the 1930s and 1960s
Main difference between DM
and OSA
Oral-Situational Approach has a
systematic planed vocabulary and
grammar rules, DM hasn’t.
Main difference between
Oral-Situational Approach doesn’t
mention about reinforcement,
ALM does.
Teaching a practical skill of L2
through copy the way children
acquire L1
˙Start from spoken language
˙Avoid errors
˙Focus on Listening and speaking
˙Chosen the vocabulary
˙The first method uses structural
Typical Procedure
˙Teacher gave a topic
˙Demonstrate with teaching aids
˙Key word changed
Advantages with using OSA
˙Bring the reality situation in the
˙Scheduled progress
Disadvantages with using
˙Turn students into parrots
˙Boring and mindless
˙Reduce the motivation
The Audiolingual Method
˙Founded during World War II for
military purposes in USA
˙Popular in the 1960s but died out in
the 70s
Teaching model
Stimulus-response-reinforcement model (imitation,
patterned drilling, substitution)
Language and Learning theory
Focus on students’ pronunciation, and train their
ability of listening by dialogues and drills
Role of the teacher and students
The controller and the controlled
An example
Teaching procedures
(1)hear a dialogue
(2)repeat the dialogue
(3)key words or structures
(4)practice substitutions in
the pattern drills
(1) Imitation
(2) repetition
(3) Positively reinforced
(4) Over learn
*Emphasize in the “Form”, not
the “Meaning”
It fails to address the context and function of
It banish all forms of language processing that
help students sort out new language
information in their own minds.
Turn Students into parrots
Boring and mindless
Reduce the motivation
Allows Students to communicate quickly
Students became good at pattern
Total Physical Response/TPR
(James Asher , 1966)
founded by James Asher, a
professor of psychology at San
José State University, California,
The Purpose
To have basic oral expression ability
through using imperative sentences.
The Characteristic
(2)Direct commands
(3)No stress
(4)Listen first
*Emphasize in the “Meaning”,
not the “Form”
Typical Procedure in a TPR
Advantages with using TPR
˙Good for kinesthetic learners.
˙No matter the class size.
Advantages with using TPR
˙Work well with mixed-ability
˙No requirement for many
preparation or materials.
˙Effective with young learners.
˙Involves both left and right-brained
Disadvantages with using
˙Students feel shy
˙Less useful for upper levels
˙overuse TPR
The silent way
In the 1960s, both Behaviorism (psychological
foundation) and Structuralism (linguistic
foundation) were attacked by linguists and
 Behaviorism was followed by Cognitive
 Structuralism was followed by
Transformational-generative linguistics.
Theoretical foundation
Transformational generative grammar:
Language learning is not the outcome of habit formation
(Behaviorism). It is the process of creative rule formation
or discovery.
Theory internalized grammar of a language – Competence
– enables one to create and understand totally new
Cognitive psychology
Human is creative, so mimicry, memorization, repetition
and parrot learning (Behaviorism) do not lead to real
Features of SW
All four skills are worked on from the
beginning. In addition. Form and
meaning are both important.
It assigns an active role to the learner.
The teacher goes from familiar to
unfamiliar. For example, he starts
with L2 sounds which are similar to
L1 sounds.
Features of SW
The teacher speaks very little, only when needed. His silence
motivates the learners to participate more and be active.
The teacher is not the model. His gestures work. Student’s
“self criteria” for correctness are emphasized. The student
takes the responsibility of learning.
Students’ actions show if they have learned.
Students help each other.
The teacher uses gestures and L1 to help them learn.
Students’ familiar knowledge (old context) helps them learn
the unfamiliar (new context). The teacher’s interference is
very little.
Features of SW
Meaning is achieved through perceptions (senses), not translation.
Group cooperation is the norm.
Little praise and punishment.
Errors are important. They are the road signs.
Self correction over teacher’s correction.
Students listen to each other.
Learning rates are different. Perfection is not the target.
The teacher frees his time by his silence.
Students are attentive.
Meaningful practice is preferred to repetition.
Logical presentation of language elements from familiar to unfamiliar.
Features of SW
Autonomy is gained by exploring and making choices.
Feedback from students informs the teacher.
No homework:sleeping practice
Syllabus is structure based.
Structures are not presented in a linear way.
Skills (speaking, reading and writing) reinforce one
The name is from the words
suggestion and pedagogy.
Developed in the 1970s by the
Bulgarian psychologist Georgi
Attention and memory
(Adapted from: Richards & Rodgers 2001 Approaches & Methods in Language Teaching
Desuggest the psychological
barriers to learn vocabulary and
˙Present text with music
˙Practiced breathing
˙Choose target language name
˙Colorful posters on the wall
˙Liberate instead of teach
Elements to Suggestopedia
˙Authority: people remember best and are most influenced by
information coming from an authoritative source
˙Infantilization: authority is also used to suggest a teacherstudent relation like that of parent to child. In the child's
role the learner takes part in role playing, games, songs,
and gymnastic exercises that help "the older student
regain the self-confidence, spontaneity, and receptivity of
the child."
˙Double-planedness: The learner learns not only from effect of
direct instruction but from the environment in which the
instruction takes place (e.g. classroom decoration, music,
shape of charts, teacher's personality)
˙Intonation, Rhythm and concert pseudo-passiveness:
Both intonation and rhythm are coordinated with a musical
background. The musical background helps to induce a
relaxed attitude, which Lozanov refers to as concert pseudopassiveness
The type of music is critical to learning success: Lozanov
recommends a series of slow movements (sixty beats a
minute) in 4/4 time for Baroque concerto (strung together into
a half-hour concert)
The body relaxed, the mind became alert
Typical Procedure
˙Concert session
Advantages with using
˙Increase oral proficiency
˙Lower classroom anxiety
Disadvantages with using
˙Unavailable of music and
comfortable chair
˙No advanced comprehension
Community Language
Developed by Charles Curran and
his associates in 1970s
Psychological Requirements
for Successful Learning
˙S stands for security
˙A stands for attention and aggression
˙R stands for retention and reflection
˙D represents discrimination
The teacher can successfully
transfer his or her knowledge and
proficiency in the L2 to the
students; Specific purposes are
not mentioned.
˙Client-Counselor and LearnerKnower relationships
˙Humanistic Techniques
˙Code Alternation
Advantages with using CLL
˙Remove the feeling of distance
and insecure
˙Counselor allows the learner to
decide the topic
Disadvantages with using
˙Teacher may become too
˙Confidence based on an inductive
strategy for learning
Typical Procedure
˙Group Work
˙Reflection and observation
Main Steps of Procedure of
The Comprehension-based
(Natural Approach)
•The Natural Approach was developed by
Tracy Terrell and Stephen Krashen, starting
in 1977. It came to have a wide influence in
language teaching in the United States and
around the world.
Features of NA
Listening comprehension is very important
Begin by listening to meaningful speech
Speak when ready
One step beyond their level of competence
Error correction
Appropriate input for the learners
Adopt freely from various method sources
The NA v.s. The DM
The NA emphasize on
1.Exposure / input
2.Optimizing emotional
3.A prolonged period of
The DM emphasize on
1.Teach monologue
2.Direct repetition
3.Formal Q/A
4.Accurate production
Objectives of NA
 To
be able to function adequately in
the target situation.
 To be able to convey their requests
and idea
Teacher and Student Roles
Teacher Roles
 The primary source
 Create a classroom atmosphere
 Choose a rich mix of classroom activities
Student Roles
Participator ; responder
The Communicative
Hymes’ view of communicative
competence (1979)
formally possible (grammatically acceptable)
understandable to human beings
 in line with social norms
 in fact done:
Do people actually use language this way?
Canale and Swain’s Four dimensions of
communicative competence (1980)
 Grammatical competence
 Sociolinguistic competence
 Discourse competence
 Strategic competence
(Richards & Rodgers, 1986:71)
Hedge’s five main components of
communicative competence
 Linguistic competence
 Pragmatic competence
 Discourse competence
 Strategic competence
 Fluency
Theory of Learning
the communication principle: Activities that
involve real communication promote learning.
the task principle: Activities in which
language is used for carrying out meaningful
tasks promote learning (Johnson 1982).
the meaningfulness principle: Language that
is meaningful to the learner supports the learning
Features of CA
The use of authentic materials
Activities are often carried out
Major Classroom Activities
Primary focus on
linguistic forms
Focus on forms plus
Focus on meanings plus
Primary focus on
Teacher and Student Roles
 Teacher
(1) To facilitate communication
(2) To be a co-communicator
 Student
Advantages of the CA
(1) Students will be more motivated
(2) Students have opportunities to express
(3) Student security is enhanced
Disadvantages of the CA
 No
environment of ESL
 Difficulty in evaluating students’
 Ignore the training of reading
and writing
Typical techniques
 Authentic
 Scrambled sentences
 Language games
 Picture strip story
 Role play
Task-based language teaching
Competency-based instruction
Cooperative learning
Whole language approach
Multiple intelligence
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