The grammar translation method is the classical one which is sometimes called traditional. The foreign language is taught through the native language. The teacher is the authority in the classroom and students learn what he knows. Students must translate whole texts from one language to another and translations are usually readings based in some aspects of the targetlanguage’s culture. At the same time, students learn grammar deductively; they must memorize grammar rules, their exceptions and examples and, then, apply those rules to other examples. Finally, students learn vocabulary words which are translated in both languages. It is very important to correct the exercises because students can learn from their mistakes. If nobody knows it, the teacher gives themthe correct answer. So mainly, there is a teacher-student interaction.
Students learn the foreign language using the following techniques:
- Translation of a literary passage: Students translate texts from the foreign language into their native language. So vocabulary and grammar rules are learnt.
- Reading comprehension questions: Students must answer different questionsbased on the reading they have worked. There are three kinds of questions: questions about the information contained in the reading passage, questions to make inferences based on their understanding of the passage and questions relating the passage with their own experience.
- Antonyms/ Synonyms: Students must find on the text different synonyms or antonyms from a set of words. They also mustdefine words based on their understanding.
- Cognates: Students recognize cognates by learning the spelling or sound patterns that correspond between the languages.
- Deductive application of rules: Grammar rules and their exceptions are presented with examples.
- Fill in-the-blanks: Students apply what they have learnt (vocabulary, prepositions and verbs) on “filling thegaps” exercises.
- Memorization: Students have to memorize a list of vocabulary words and their meanings in their native language.
- Use words in sentences: They make up sentences using the new words.
- Composition: Students write a composition in the target language.
Students who learn a language through this method work the writing and reading skills (this one only in thecontext of translation), although vocabulary and grammar are emphasized too. They do not develop the speaking and listening skills and the pronunciation receives a little attention.
On one hand, the main objective of the teachers who use this method is to teach their students to be able to read literature written on the target language. To do this, students need to learn grammar rules andvocabulary. On the other hand, the creators invented this method to teach classical languages such as Latin and Greek. Moreover, they said that studying a foreign language provides students a good mental exercise to develop their minds.
This method is not very useful to apply nowadays because it has got a lot of lacks. Even so, it can be applied to get a higher level on the language we areworking or to obtain language degrees, where you need a high level in reading and writing too. Apart from that, some techniques could be useful in the language learning process.
The audio-lingual method is based on dialogs using the target language communicatively; in fact, students cannot use their native language. Students learn the language through imitation andrepetition. At the beginning, they do not produce anything but then, everyday speech is emphasized. Students can adopt different roles in dialogues and they are helped with gestures and miming by the teacher to understand the language. Students’ successful responses are positively reinforced.
These are the most important techniques to learn a second language:
- Dialog memorization:...