"If you are teaching John English, You must know John, You must know English and You must know how to teach John English''
In the process of teaching and learning careful selection of a method is significant. A good teacher always in search of a good method for his / her successful teaching. In fact a right method is mandatory to attain efficient learning.
Method: Method is an over all procedure for orderly presentation of language material. A method determines what and how much is taught. In other words a method deals with a detailed plan for the presentation of language material. The following are some methods of Teaching English.
Grammar Translation Method
'No full and carefully documented history of grammar translation exists' - Stern
* The grammar - translation method was the product of German Scholarship.
* It was known as Prussian Method in USA as it had its origin in Germany or to be more exact in Prussia.
* This method was very popular with European and foreign language teaching from the 1840s to the 1940s.
* The earliest grammar translation course for the teaching of English was written in 1793 by J.C. Fick.
* This method is also known as classical method as it is well suited for teaching classical languages and it is still in use in India to teach languages such as Sanskrit and Arabic.
Salient Features of GT Method:
* The mother tongue of the learner and the target language (i.e, the language to be learnt)
* The teacher is supposed to know both the languages.
* Grammar is taught prescriptively. Rules are memorised.
* Practice is provided through translation exercises from the mother tongue to the target language and vice versa.
* A distinctive feature of this method is its focus on translating the sentence.
* Accuracy is given more importance. The learner is required to attain high standards in translation.
* Vocabulary is taught through bilingual lists.
* Reading and writing are paramount in this method with little emphasis on listening and speaking.
* The mother tongue of the learner is used to explain new items and make comparisons with their equivalents in the target language.
* In this method the teacher is totally dependant on the text book as she / he follows the given lessons and exercises in it rigidly.
* The learner is mainly exposed to literary language.
Drawbacks of GT Method:
* The GT Method neglects the oral approach to language learning. The result is that the students do not develop proper speech habits.
* Many a time, correct translation of a foreign language into a native one becomes difficult.
* Literal translation into mother-tongue also sometimes becomes ridiculous.
* This method teaches students to think first in their mother-tongue and then to translate their thoughts into English. This procedure hinders the development of natural speech and delays the process of foreign language learning.
* Cramming of definitions and rules is an uphill task for the learners and brings boredom and makes learning difficult.
* This method teaches English by injecting rules rather than facilitating its use. Teaching the rules first (Grammar) and the language afterwards is unsound psychologically.
* The unit of teaching is word and not sentence. This is not in line with the maxim - from whole to parts.
* This method not useful in improving pronunciation, lays emphasis on grammar and translation which ignore the speech aspect.
* It develops bookish English which is literal in character.
''It is based on the principle that a foreign language should be learnt as the child learns his own mother tongue in a natural way"
- Robert Lado
(Language Teaching - A Scientific Approach)
* This method is called the "Natural Method" because it enables the students to learn English in a natural way.
* In twentieth century in Europe a movement had started in bringing reforms in the methodology of teaching English and evolving a new approach known as "Direct Method".
* This was known by various other names such as 'New Method', 'Reform Method' and 'Oral Method'.
Salient Features of Direct Method:
* This method establishes a direct bond between the word and its meaning between thought and expression.
* All classroom instructions are to be taken up in the target language.
* It makes sentence a unit of teaching and expression.
* Stress is laid on oral speech and conversation because fluency in speech promotes fluency in reading and facility in writing as advocated by its protagonists.
* It banishes translation and memorization.
* It eliminates the use of mother tongue in teaching foreign languages. It lays emphasis on the introduction of phonetics so that articulation of foreign speech sounds may be taught to the students systematically.
* Grammar is taught inductively (Examples followed by rules)
* New teaching points are introduced orally.
* Extensive Audio-visual material is used.
The guidelines in this method are:
Never explain: act
Never make a speech: Ask questions
Never imitate mistakes: Correct
Never speak single words: Use sentences
Never speak too much: Make students speak
Never go too fast: Keep to the pace of students
Never speak too slowly: Speak normally
Never be impatient: Take it easy
Drawbacks of Direct Method:
* Concentrates on oral aspect of language learning and ignores reading and writing.
* Laborious method as it needs lot of preparation by the teacher.
* As this method advocates complete elimination of mother tongue in the class room
* which is practically impossible.
* According to Thomson and Wyatt we can not forbid the child to think in his mother tongue.
* It is an expensive method as it needs lot of Audio visual material.
* CJ Dodson of the Wales University advocated this method.
* Dodson wrote a pamphlet "The Bilingual Method" (1962) in which he says that the amount of time required to learn a language 'naturally' is, of necessity, large and our present school curriculum does not allow the time requirement for such learning process. He further adds that in the Direct Method a teacher employs a technique that wastes time. So Dodson emphasises the need for a completely new attitude of mind in our approach to language teaching learning.
* Naturally there should be a method which would strike a balance between the Direct Method and the Grammar - Translation Method. This is the Bilingual Method.
The aim of the Bilingual Method is to:
(a) Help the learner to speak fluently and accurately in the target language.
(b) Help the learner to write accurately in the target language.
(c) Prepare the learner in such a manner that she / he can achieve true bilingualism.
A true bilingual is described as a person who can jump from one language to another easily and talks fluently about any situation in either the mother tongue or the target language with equal ease.
Salient Features of Bilingual Method:
* Only the teacher uses the mother tongue in a restricted manner to give the meanings of new words.
* Sentence is the unit of teaching.
* To form the correct language habits, the learners will be given rigorous practice of sentence patterns in English.
* The use of mother tongue is made only at the initial stages. This practice is dropped as soon as students develop sufficient vocabulary of the foreign language.
* The method never advocates the use of costly audio visual material.
* This method suits heterogenous class.
Drawbacks of Bilingual Method:
* Careless handling of this method would end up as GT Method.
* May be suitable for adult learners.
* Students are likely to develop an undesirable habit of language mix ups that may last long.
Dr. West's New Method
Learning to read a language is by far the shortest road to speak and write it.
This method is also known as Reading Method or Text Book Method. Dr M.P. West, the former director of Education and Principal of Training College, Bengal in Pre Independent India was the propounder of this method. Dr. West says "the bilingual child does not so much need to speak his second language (English) but rather to read it."
* The objective of this method is to promote silent readers.
* It is a revolt against Direct Method which laid stress on speech. But Dr. West observed that the comprehension was the first condition required to be able to speak.
* As there are more chances of hearing incorrect English for the Indian students, this method therefore envisages emphasis on Reading skill.
* This method permits the use of mother tongue wherever necessary.
* It helps to enhance the vocabulary of the learners.
* This method is economical in terms of money and time.
Drawbacks of Dr. West's New Method:
* Dr. West's notion that ability to read should be preceded by the ability to speak doesn't seem sound because reading has some inner speech in it.
* Emphasis on Reading rather than speech is against the psychological principle that we always learn a new language by first speaking it. Language is primarily speech.