Grammar-Translation Method

August 31st, 20116:37 am


Grammar-Translation Method

Grammar-Translation Method

This method has been with us through the centuries and is still with us. It has had different names; at one time it was called Classical Method since it was used in the teaching of the classical languages, Latin and Greek. The method involves many written exercises, much translation and lengthy vocabulary lists. The teacher describes in detail the grammar of the language, focusing on the form and inflection of words.

This method aims at providing an understanding of the grammar of the language in question expressed in traditional terms, and at training the students to read and write the target language, rather than mastering the oral and aural skills. To do this the students need to learn the grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language. It was hoped that, by doing this students would become more familiar with the grammar of the native language and that this familiarity would help them speak and write their native language better.

It was also thought that foreign language learning would help students grow intellectually; it was recognised that students would probably never use the target language, but the mental exercise of learning it would be beneficial anyway.

Students study grammar deductively: that is, they are given rules and examples, they are told to memorise them, and then are asked to apply rules to other examples. They also learn grammatical paradigms such as the plural of nouns, degrees of comparison of adjectives and adverbs, verb conjugations, etc. They memorise native language equivalents for foreign language vocabulary lists.

The techniques of G-TM imply bilingual vocabulary lists, written exercises, elaborate grammatical explanations, translation, and total involvement in reading and writing.

The objectives of G-TM are non-utilitarian – confined to understanding of literature that gives keys to great classical culture.

The advantages of this method lie in its limited objectives: understanding of written language and some basic writing and translation. The method is not demanding for the teacher (simple preparation from a textbook and little physical endeavour).

The disadvantages of this method include a total neglect of spoken language, communication skills; the use of esoteric vocabulary, and monotonous procedures in class.

Thus, the Grammar-Translation Method is simply a combination of the activities of grammar and translation. The teacher begins with rules, isolated vocabulary items, paradigms and translation. Pronunciation either is not taught, or is limited to a few introductory notes. Grammar rules are memorised as units, which sometimes include illustrative sentences.

Близнюк М.І. Курс лекцій з методики викладання англійської мови. – Чернівці: ЧДУ, 1999 – с.

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