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Lesson 6:



HISTORY OF THE METHODS OF LANGUAGE TEACHING The methodological history of language teaching is described as “changing winds and shifting sands”. Todays communicative language teaching method (CLT) came about after several other language teaching methods waxed and waned. This does not mean, however, that the past method is gone forever. Each new method departed from the old but took with it some of the positive aspects of the previous practices. A perfect example is the audiolingual method. It broke away from the grammar translation method, but borrowed tenets from the direct method, its predecessor.


b. “Nothing is thrown out of the court without being put to test. This test may always change its mechanics, but the fact remains that the changing winds and shifting sands of time and research are turning the desert into a longed-for oasis” (BROWN, 2004) The first method cited in history of language teaching is the classical method which became known later as the grammar translation method. This method contributed very little to language learning since the focus was on a “dissected body” of nouns, adjectives and prepositions, doing nothing to enhance a students communicative ability in the foreign language (Brown,2004).

GOUIN AND BERLITZ – The Direct Method:

GOUIN AND BERLITZ – The Direct Method Then came the series method of Francois Gouin which taught learners directly a “series” of connected sentences that are easy to understand. In direct method of Charles Berlitz, second language learning is similar to first language learning. There should be lots of interaction, spontaneous use of the language, no translation, and little, if any, analysis of grammatical rules and syntactic structures.


Audiolingual Method – also known as the Army Method because it was the method used to teach the American army to become orally proficient in the languages of their allies and enemies alike at the outbreak of World War II. Language was not acquired through a process of habit formation. “ Designer Method” in the year 1970’s which gave attention to the “deep structure” of language and on the affective and interpersonal nature of learning. As a result, new methods were proposed which attempted to capitalize on the importance of psychological factors in language learning. David Nunan (1989-1997) referred to these methods as “designer” methods, on the grounds that they took a “one-size-fits-all” approach.


These are Community Language Learning, Suggestopedia, the Silent Way, Total Physical Response, the Natural Approach. The need for communication has been relentless leading to the emergence of Communicative Language Teaching Approach. It is an approach because it transcends the boundaries of concrete methods. It is a theoretical position about the nature of language and language learning and teaching.


THE LANGUAGE TEACHING METHODS Grammar Translation Method(first known as classical method)– the characteristics are: Classes are taught in the mother tongue with little active use of the target language. Much vocabulary is taught in the forms of lists of isolated words. Long elaborate explanations of the intricacies of grammar are given. Grammar provides the rules for putting words together and instruction often focuses on the form and inflection of words. Reading of difficult classical texts is begun early. Little attention is paid to the content of texts which are treated as exercises in grammatical analysis.


g. Often the only drill and exercise is translating disconnected sentences from the target language into the mother tongue. h. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation. This does not enhance students’ communicative ability in a language.


2 . The Direct Method– This is premised on the principle that second language learning should be more like first language learning– lots of oral interactions, spontaneous use of the language, no translation between first and second language and little or no analysis of grammatical rules. Below are the characteristics of direct method. Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language. Only everybody vocabulary and sentences were taught. Oral communication classes were built up in a carefully traded progression organized around question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes. Grammar was taught inductively. New teaching points were taught through modeling and practices. Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects and pictures. Abstract vocabulary was taught through association of ideas. Both speech and listening were taught. Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasized.


THE AUDIOLINGUAL METHOD (ALM) Based on behavioristic theory that advocated conditioning and habit formation models of learning that were perfectly in keeping with mimicry drills and patterns practices of audiolingual method. The following are the characteristics of the ALM New material is presented in dialog form. There is independence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases and overlearning. Structures are sequenced by means of contrastive analysis and taught at one time. Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills. There is a little or no grammatical explanation. Grammar is taught by inductive analog rather than deductive explanation.


f. Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context. g. There is much use of tapes, language labs and visual aids. h. Great importance is attached to pronunciation. i . Very little use of the mother tongue by teachers is permitted. j. Successful responses are immediately reinforced k. There is great effort to get students to produce error-free utterances. Failure of ALM– it didn’t teach long term communicative proficiency. Its popularity waned. Language was not really learned through a process of habit formation and overlearning.


THE DESIGNER METHOD Are products of multidisciplinary researches after ALM waned. Community Language Learning(CCL)– This is an effectively-based method. This reflects Carl Roger’s view of education in which learners in a classroom are regarded as a “group” rather than a “class” in need of certain therapy and counselling. This is how CCL goes. An advantage of this CCL method is the threat making mistakes in foreign language learning in front of classmates are removed. However, this demands translation expertise in a part of the counselor-teacher who may become highly non-directive when initially in language learning there is need for learners to be directed.


b. Suggestopedia– grew from Bulgarian psychologist Georgi Lozanov’s view that human brain could process great quantities of material if simply given the right conditions for learning, among which are a state of relaxation and giving over of control to the teacher. Baroque music was central to this method because Lozanov believed that the soft playing of Baroque music increases alpha brain waves and decreases blood pressure and pulse rate and so one can take in tremendous quantities of material. It is called Suggestopedia because the students is “suggestable” and encouraged to be “childlike”. It s more of memorization and is far from the comprehensive process of language acquisition.


c. The Silent Way– this method capitalized on discovery learning. It is based on the following learning theories: Learning is facilitated: If the learner discovers or creates rather than remembers and repeats what is to be learned. By accompanying physical objects By problem solving involving the materials to be learned (Richards and Rodgers, 1896). Students are taught independence and responsibility. Labeled as a “harsh method”


d. Total Physical Response– anchored on the “trace theory” of learning which claims that memory is increased if it is stimulated or “traced” through association with physical activity. This method demands listening and acting. The teacher is the director and the students are the actors.(Asher 1977) The TPR method also has its share of negative points. It seems effective only at the beginning levels of language proficiency but may no longer work as students advance in their communicative competence. Its theatrical and dramatic appeal to language learning, however, is commendable. No verbal response is needed, only the actions and executions.

The Natural Method:

The Natural Method Learners should be relax as possible in the classroom and a great deal of communication and ‘acquisition’ should take place as opposed to analysis. This is aimed at the goal of basic personal communication skills and everyday language situations. This method involves three stages: The preproduction stage– the development of listening comprehension skills. Early production stage– is usually marked with errors as students struggle with the language. It focuses on meaning and not on forms. Extending productions into longer stretches of discourse involving more complex games, role-plays, open-ended dialogs, discussion and extended small work.


The most questioned aspect of the natural method is delay of oral production(silent period). One good thing about this method is that it reminds Language teachers, not to insist on students’ speaking right away and so students’ silence is beneficial.

Communicative Language Teaching(CLT):

Communicative Language Teaching(CLT) The five features of CLT are: An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language. The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation. The provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on the language, but also n the learning process itself. An enhancement of the learners own personal experiences as important contributing elements of the classroom. An attempt to link classroom language learning with language activation outside the classroom(David Nunan, 1991).


In other words, the primary goal of CLT is for students to acquire proficiency through pragmatics uses of the target language in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Principles related to CLT are: Learner-centered learning Cooperative learning Interactive learning Whole language education Content centered education Task-based learning Teachers who makes use of CLT are warned not to pay lip service to the main and related principles of CLT and not to overdo certain CLT features at the expense of the other features.

Principles Related to Communicative Language Teaching:

Principles Related to Communicative Language Teaching Learner centered teaching– as the name implies, the learner is the center of teaching in contrast to the teacher as center of teaching. Learner-centered teaching makes use of: Techniques that focuses on learners needs, goals and styles Techniques that gives some control to the students Techniques that allow for students creativity and innovation Techniques that enhance student’s sense of competence and self-worth(Brown, 1994).


Cooperative Learning– students work together in pairs or in groups. Teamwork is evident in choice of techniques and in evaluating process. Content-centered Education– study of language and subject matter at the same time with the form and sequence of language presentation depending on content material. Task-based Learning– Learning is focused on task. The learning process is a set of communicative tasks the completion of which leads to the realization of learning goals such as communicative competence. Interactive Learning– communication is essentially interactive in nature and s necessarily, language classes must be highly interactive. Doing a significant amount of pair work and group work Receiving authentic language in real word contexts Producing language for genuine, meaningful communication Performing classroom tasks that prepare them for actual language use out there Writing to and for real audiences, not contrived ones


Whole Language Education– this emphasizes the: The wholeness of language as opposed to views that fragmented language into phenomes, graphemes, morphemes and words The interaction and interconnections among the macro skills(listening, speaking, reading, and writing) The importance of the written code as natural and development, just like the oral code. Research says that an environment that promotes language practice: Allows students to take risks with language, Supports students’ attempts to express ideas, Uses grammatical structure in their natural context Uses “user-friendly” interactive technology and, Corrects students utterances by echoing them correctly.