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ANTECEDENTS: The Grammar Translation Method, also called traditional method, derives from the classical methods to teach Greek and Latin, so it is the oldest method we know.
ADVANTAGES: When we translate a word or a sentence directly without using other ways of teaching students get much easier the information, this is much more easy. Furthermore there won´t be any communication problems between the student and the teacher; the students always understand what he/she hear. Apart from that there is no problem if the teacher is not very fluent in the target language.
DISADVANTAGES: As many human communication studies show the natural order to acquire a language is first listening, speaking, reading and writing. The Grammar Transaltion Method only put emphasis on reading and writing, forgetting the first skills a student naturally learn, that is listening and speaking.
By other way the exact translation is not the most important in communication, because it is very difficult translate intentions, for instance, or double ways, and this method does not put any attention to this considerations, only to exact translation, which is impossible some times.
Other great disadvantage is that when a student learn a language through the rules and not by the use, it will be very difficult to deal with all communicative situation; this is because the communication is not a goal for this method.
TEACHER ROLE: For this method the teacher is always the authority in the classroom and there is no need to interaction between teacher and student.
STUDENT ROLE: The students have to memorize the information given by the teacher, that is rules and vocabulary. A student is not an active participant in the class but a passive receiver of the information. When a student can translate text from one language to another he/she is consider good leraner.
METHODOLOGY: The teachers use the following techniques to teach the foreign language: translation, reading, deductive teaching of grammar rules, the vocabulary is memorized. The materials used are literature texts from the foreign language.
L1 USAGE: The teacher directs the class in the native language during all lesson. The reason is that the oral communication, that is listening and speaking are not important. The students use their mother tongue in order to translate word or passages to the target language.
L2 USAGE: Students and teacher only use the target language to translate.
LISTENING: Listening is not important for this method. There is no listening training.
SPEAKING: Also this is not an important aspect of the method, teacher doesn't work on speaking. There is not pronunciation exercises.
READING: read literature in the target language is the aim of this method. Thus the fundamental goal for this method is to read literature written in the target language.
WRITING: Also is very important and are trained at the same time as reading.
EVALUATION: The teacher assess students in a formal way, using formal test to check vocabulary or grammar, translation, fill in the blanks, reading text and comprehension questions.
PERSONAL OPINION: Nowadays teachers shouldn't base their teaching practice only on this method. Students probably find it boring and discouraging, besides the most important goal when we are learning a foreign language is to be able to communicate in this language, and this method doesn't put any attention to this aspect. But rather than reject totally this method, teachers can use it sometimes when they need, for example, to convey the meaning of a difficult word when other visual aids can't help students.
ANTECEDENT: This method was created by Berlitz in 1878. He put this method into practice in the schools called as him. This method is the result of the dissatisfaction for the old and outdates Grammar Translation Method. It was successful in the beginning but soon it started to decline in the 1920,s because there was a need of more grammar training.
This method is also called the Natural Method because the students only listen and speak in the target language, and its aim is to learn the foreign language in the natural way to learn a language as the children do.
ADVANTAGES: Students acquire listening and speaking skills and a very correct pronunciation in a direct way.
DISADVANTAGES: It is not the same to learn the mother tongue and to learn a second language. The classroom is no the same as the real life and some concrete characteristics and the context has to be taken into account when teaching a foreign language.
Besides if the teacher is not bilingual or unless very fluent in the target language it would be a disaster.
Other disadvantage is that the teacher cannot explain anything in the mother tongue and sometimes this is the easiest way to get comprehension.
TEACHER´S ROLE: The teacher is not as authoritarian as in the previous method, but usually manages the class and the students interventions. The teacher speaks normally and naturally as in the real life, asking questions and motivating students to speak more and more.
STUDENT´S ROLE: Unlike the Grammar Translation method for this Direct method the student is an active participant of the class. Each student has a role, even the teacher has it. The students speak in the foreign language to communicate each other.
Therefore students learn to think and speak in their target language.
METHODOLOGY: The teacher use the following techniques: realia ( real objects, materials or situations to interact and communicate with students, pictures, examples ( to teach grammar or vocabulary), map drawing( the teacher say some instructions and the students have to understand it and solve a task) . Instead of a deductive explanation, inductive way of teaching is used.
The teacher introduce new words, expressions or sentences in a progress: firts of all show the new item by visual aids( gestures, pictures, etc). Secondly the teacher says verbally the new element, and then the students try to imitate it. Finally the teacher correct mistakes and by repetition the students get the new element.
L1 USAGE: The use of the mother tongue is not permitted.
L2 USAGE: Teacher and students only use the foreign language in class.
LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING, and WRITING: oral communication is seen as basic and the most important skills to develop. This method emphasizes speaking and listening over reading and writing. Vocabulary is over grammar.
EVALUATION: The teacher tests the ability to use the language, not the language itself.
In the Direct Method, students have to use the language, not to demonstrate their knowledge about the language. They are asked to use both oral and written skills. For example, the students might be interviewed orally by the teacher or might be asked to write a paragraph about something they have studied.
PERSONAL OPINION: It is quite a good method to teach general English. The students will be very fluent and will dominate the oral skills better than other students who learn the foreign language by other method. But if the teacher is not native or proficiency in the foreign language he/she should prepare the class very well in order to be able to carry out the lesson plan.
ANTECEDENTS: The Audio-lingual Method was developed in the U.S.A. during the Second World War and was spread in the 1950,s and 1960,s. The reason to create this method was a great necessity of the USA government to find soldiers or military professionals who speak fluently other languages but there was not any. The solution was to teach as faster as possible people who was fluent speakers in other langauges. The audio-lingual method is also called Army Method. It is based on behaviorism, in which teachers teach the foreign language through reinforcement (using positive and negative feedback depending on the correct answer of the student).
The importance of a language is the real use, the performance, not the rules or the written form of the language, only spoken language is useful. A good representative sentence about this method could be: "teach the language not about the language".
ADVANTAGES: This is the first theory based on psychology and linguistic studies.
A large group of students is possible for this method.
The student can acquire good performance on listening and speaking.
DISADVANTAGES: The method is based on behaviorism, so it may result boring and repetitive for the students. The motivation does not exist and the learning is too mechanical and repetitive. Thus the learners have no control over their learning.
TEACHER ROLE: Teacher is the manager, who directs and controls the students language learning. Teacher is the model of the target language. The teacher is the example, manages the language learning and the pace of the students learning, and correct them in order to get a good performance of the foreign language. The teacher models the target language, controls the direction and pace of learning, and monitors and corrects the learners´ performance. The teacher avoid the students mistake, it,a important not make mistakes.
STUDENT ROLE: If the teacher is the model and the example, the students are the followers. Sometimes the students have to imitate some target language recordings instead the teacher model. Students are imitators of the teacher as perfect model of the target language or the native speakers in the audio recordings.
METHODOLOGY: The teachers use an inductive learning, they do not explain rules but use a mechanical exercises to learn to use the target language. Thus, the typical activities in this method are drills and pattern exercises such as repetition, memorization, replacement (one word is replace by another), restatements (the same but with sentences), complete dialogues, etc.
The meaning of words and sentences is shown directly, but the use of the mother tongue is forbidden.
L1 USAGE: The native language is not allowed in the classroom. It is considered a bad habit.
L2 USAGE: The teacher and the students only use the foreign language.
LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING AND WRITING: Students learn the target language in a natural order: listening-speaking-reading-writing.
It puts great emphasis on listening and speaking. The real important for this method is the oral language, the speech, the use of language, neither the written form nor the rules about language.
EVALUATION: Students are evaluated on only one point of the language at time. teachers use mechanical exercises to asses concrete points of the language learning. The most important aspect to evaluate is the correctness of the student, who must not make mistakes.
PERSONAL OPINION: There are many useful things we can learn from the Audio-lingual Method. It follows the natural order to learn a language, that is listening, speaking, reading and writing, and gives more importance to the oral skills.
In the classroom, using pattern drills students can control grammatical structures easily and can develop the oral abilities. So the Audio Lingual Method provide teachers many useful techniques which help students to gain confidence in the target language. With graded and intensive practice the student will be more confident when communicate.
Moreover, native speaking recordings and a great amount of language exercises offer practice in speaking and listening, which are considered of undisputed importance in language learning.
In sum, we could adapt some kinds of techniques used by the Audio-lingual Method, such as dialogues and pattern drills to our students and their needs, and taking into account important factors such as sociolinguistic and discourse competences, the context of the students and other communicative facts which are essentials when learners are studying a foreign language.
ANTECEDENTS: Is based on the Cognitive Psychology. The Silent Way is a method developed by Caleb Gattegno in the early 1970,s.
Gattegno stated his reasons for the emergence of his method as follows:
"As I developed my techniques while subordinating my teaching to the learning, I found that I could very early transfer the responsibility for the use of the language to my students, so that I become able to teach using fewer and fewer words. It is this aspect of my techniques of teaching that prompted me to call the approach 'The Silent Way of Teaching Foreign Languages"
He gave too much importance to the word 'silent' because he thought that there are ways of learning where the teacher does not interfere in this student learning.
ADVANTAGES: This method takes into account the cognitive studies of the human mind.
Also too much repetition is not necessary and avoid the waste of time or energy for the students and the teachers.
DISADVANTAGES: This method is only possible in small sized classes.
Moreover the teacher has to obtain a good number of skills and techniques in order to put this method into practice. I mean that the grammar is very complex and the teacher can find difficulties to carry out the classes only using this method.
The students could find this method meaningless and not motivating using unimportant discussion about rods.
Language is learned in no natural situations using rods.
TEACHER ROLE: The teacher monitoring the class, but is not a very active participant. He/she does not speak if possible, and the student is encouraged to speak as much as possible.
The teacher has to create an environment that encourages student to learn and facilitates the language learning.
The teacher should give to the students the necessary tools to learn using what they already know. The teacher should participate a little in comparison with what students should participate.
STUDENT ROLE: The learners should be responsible for their own language learning, thus they become autonomous. The students mix each other so it produces a cooperative work.
The students have to pay much attention because this is an important factor in the learning.
The learners help and encourage each other so this method promotes cooperation and independence from the teacher.
METHODOLOGY: The help of the teacher is limited as much as possible because the students have a capacity to solve language problems.
The techniques used are colour rods representing some language situations, colour charts, correction by pairs, teacher silence, word charts, etc.
L1 USAGE: native language can be used to give instructions when necessary, but only at least for beginner levels and when it is totally necessary.
Also the native language is used as a tool to learn about the foreign language that is to say when words have similar sounds the students can notice those phonological differences.
L2 USAGE: The use of the target language is essential for this method.
The meaning of the words or sentences are conveyed by students ability but not by translation .
LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING AND WRITING: Pronunciation is one of the most important language skills to acquire from the beginning. The intonation and musicality of a language is hard worked. despite of everything all four skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) All four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) are trained from the very beginning.
EVALUATION: The teacher is evaluating students all time but not by formal test. The teacher assesses the students' capacity to transfer their knowledge to other situations.
By one hand I completely agree with the idea that the teacher should not meddle too much when a student is trying to communicate or making mistakes when talking because this could discourage the student and maybe cause that the student does not participate any more. Furthermore a teacher speaking all time and interfering the communication among students does not mean more effective learning. I think that too much information is not good for the students. I prefer take into account the students abilities to learn languages and the responsibility for their own learning
In my opinion this method is too extremist because there is no need for the teacher to be in silence all time, in addition the teacher should speak with the students and serve as a model. This fact is not contrary to encourage students to speak more than the teacher.
Finally I agree with the importance of the learning process more than the results of that process.
TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE:
ANTECEDENTS: Total Physical Response (TPR) is a method created by James Asher to help learning foreign languages. The method had its great moment in 1970s but never became very accepted by educators and teachers.
The T.P.R. also supports the idea of learning a second language just like the acquisition of the mother tongue, first oral communication (listening in a silent period and secondly oral productions).
Basically it consists of commands emitted by the teacher and performed by the student. The commands usually are imperative verbs, from the easiest (like sit down, skip...) to more complex commands (such as go to the blackboard and draw a man sitting between a tree and...).
Asher defended that the language learning could be organized around this commands.
ADVANTAGES: Students love this method because it is funny.
Besides it is very easy to the teacher, it does not require much preparation.
Regarding the vocabulary learning the T.P.R. is one of the best tools to learn new vocabulary. It is a good tool for learning vocabulary.
By other way there is no problem with large sized classes.
And other advantage of this method is that the teacher can use it with all students, young, adult, etc.
Although TPR can be used by all students, even adult people, it seems to be more effective with beginners.
Moreover only the imperative form is trained.
Another disadvantage for the student is the poor creativity that this method give them. The students can not express and their participation is limited.
Finally all language learning can not be deal with this method and there is a need to combine it with others.
TEACHER ROLE: In the T.P.R. the teacher has a very active role because he/she decides what to say, which materials use and the student's response.
STUDENT ROLE: The students are performers and active listeners. They listen the commands said by the teacher and then they have to respond physically to these commands.
METHODOLOGY: For the T.P.R. the second language learning has to be as the first language acquisition in the sense of learn the language in a non stress environment. Students only speak when they are ready and they only are expected to respond physically showing understanding of the commands given by the teacher.
Thus the grammar is studied in an inductive way, the rule is never explained. The meaning is conveyed through body language and gestures. The imperative verb is the central tool for this method and all grammar and vocabulary elements are introduced through this imperative.
The teacher use techniques such as Commands (skip, open your eyes, touch your toes...), both the teacher say the command or a students can say the commands too, ad from the most elemental like jump!, close your eyes, etc, to the most sophisticated ones, like "stand up and walk 3 steps, then turn right and draw a women wearing glasses in the blackboard, etc", and sequences of commands, that is several commands together.
L1 USAGE: The mother tongue is never used, except in the very beginning to introduce the method to the students, in order to understand the mechanism of the T.P.R.. After that the native language is never used.
L2 USAGE: Teacher only speaks in the foreign language. A great amount of commands are said by the teacher and only in the foreign language. However the students don,t use the foreign language until they are ready to do that.
LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING AND WRITING:
This method defends the natural order in language acquisition: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Listening is very important because it is part of the silent period what is essential at the first stages. At this stage students listen what they hear and try to understand helping by the teacher, and finally, if the student has a comprehensible input they feel ready to speak.
Speaking is also important but only if the student is ready to speak, when it does not mean a stress situation. Speaking is always voluntary.
EVALUATION: Obviously the teachers will notice if a student understands the commands observing their physical response to the instructions given. This is the formal evaluation that teachers can do in this T.P.R. method, for instance, observing the performance and the responses to the commands, student by students. It is very easy to know if the student has the knowledge looking at their actions. The responses go to the most simple to the most complicated performance, depending on the age and level of the students.
PERSONAL OPINION: This is a very useful method to use with all students (children, young and adult students), but only in the first stages of the foreign language learning. I completely agree with the idea of learn the foreign language in a non- stress environment, because this is a key factor of the learning. Students learn better in a relaxing atmosphere, like children learn their mother tongue. The kind of activities that the teacher can use is wide and don't require any language answer of the students until they are ready to do that. But teacher has to bear in mind that this method is not enough when students are in a higher level. In that case, students need more communicative activities.
ANTECEDENTS: The psychotherapist Lozanov developed this method in the 1970,s. Although it was used in several fields it was mostly used in the language learning field. Lozanov defended that with this method the students could learn foreign languages more quickly than with other methods.
The theory emphasized the psychological learning factors, which should be favored even by physical context.
the teacher should use positive suggestion in order to make a comfortable environment, in a non stress and relaxing atmosphere. Thus the students feel secure and motivated to participate in class.
The teacher can get this aims making some changes in the classroom: a soft and indirect light, a relaxing music, comfortable chairs, etc. The students cad changes their names or roles, in order to feel uninhibited.
ADVANTAGES: this method reduce the classroom anxiety and the students stress due to the music, the lights, the relaxing atmosphere and the kind words of the teacher, who are continuously encouraging and motivating students. So this method increases the possibilities of oral interchanges among students and the teacher and their participation in class.
DISADVANTAGES: Not all teachers have comfortable chairs or relaxing music at their disposal. This method considers that in all language learning situations must be an idyllic context, but it is not always possible.
By other hand this kind of techniques are effective with some students but not with others, and in ones cultures it maybe works and in others not.
Finally not only memorization is important in the language learning, there is a need of comprehension and understanding of a language in order to be successful in all communicative situations.
TEACHER ROLE: The fundamental role of the teacher is the creator of situations in which the students feel comfortable thus a more positive retention is possible, and then show the linguistic material. Learners learn better if they get the information from a reliable authority. Students must trust and respect that authority.
STUDENT ROLE: Students are like a child. Sometimes they change their identity, to feel more secure and less inhibited adopt a new identity to feel more secure and less inhibited. It is important when a student deals with new linguistic material without anxiety or a great effort.
METHODOLOGY: The suggestopedia method emphasized the memorization because it says when a student is relaxed he/she is using his/her long-term memory, then if a student is not stressed he/she learn much better than if is worried or feels anxiety.
As a consequence the vocabulary is very important for the method unlike the grammar which is taught deductively and as less as possible. Even the mother tongue is used to explain grammar rules.
Some of the techniques that the teachers follow are:
provide the correct classroom atmosphere ( settings, lights, music, etc)
make a positive suggestion to the students ( that is encourage students direct and indirectly)
peripheral learning ( use posters, wall charts, paintings, etc, because the students learn indirectly with this material)
Students adopt a new identity
Mental exercises: for example students close their eyes, breath deeply and concentrate in a different and motivating scene described by the teacher.
Music exercises: the teacher read a text accompanied with music, almost always classical music. The intonation goes with the music.
Students performances: here the students are active participants and they have to read a text or sing a song or dance or dramatize, etc.
L1 USAGE: The teacher uses the mother tongue when it,s necessary, almost always to convey meaning of dialogues, but as soon as the course goes on it use should be reduced at minimal.
L2 USAGE: the use of the foreign language is essential and the teacher should use it as much time as possible.
LISTENING AND SPEAKING: Oral communication is emphasized over written form. Speaking and listening are very important.
READING AND WRITING: Writing and reading are also important. The students' works on writing creating compositions, reading dialogues, etc.
EVALUATION: There is no formal test to evaluate students, but it is possible through students classes performance and daily observation. The formal way of evaluation may threaten the relaxing atmosphere.
PERSONAL OPINION: I think that the Suggestopedia method itself can't offer teachers a solution to their language learners' problems, but it doesn't mean that we, as teachers, can't use some of these techniques when appropriate. For instance, if our students are adult or young and they feel shy or nervous in a communicative situation, the teacher can play music, rearrange seating in order to the students feel comfortable, switch soft light, etc. In my opinion the environment is very important for learners, and the context must be safe and secure for them. Besides, students who have good experiences with the foreign language learn better than others who feel stress. All this reasons make this method interesting, but unable itself to get proficiency in a foreign language.
ANTECEDENTS: There was a great dissatisfaction with the audio-lingual and grammar translation method. this methods cannot resolve some linguistic problems, for example the learning is not enough realistic or the students did not learn social language ( expressions, gestures, etc) to let them communicate successfully.
The Communicative Approach arose in the middle of two opposites linguistic principles: the theory and the practice, one studies the linguistic code and other studies something wider, that is the communicative event, taking into account the circumstances in which the text has been produced.
Communicative Approach defends real use of language, like authentic oral exchanges where the students are completely engaged in real communication, and a communicative language teaching in which the teacher facilitates the students' language learning through communicative situations.
This is one of the few methods that take into account the student (their abilities, capacities, specific needs, interests, etc); the method is learner-centered.
Giving students real life situations is very useful if we want to teach communicative language, I mean tat the real important aspect to bear in mind when we are teaching is to give students the opportunity to develop their language skills in a real context, with a meaning and present it in a motivating way, always taking into account the personal students characteristics, needs and capacities. Nowadays the social need is to find people who be able to communicate in foreign language, not people who know about the grammar rules or formal aspects of a language.
Moreover the use of authentic materials is highly motivating.
The Communicative Approach is very useful to develop oral skills, listening and speaking. But it doesn,t put much attention to the other skills, reading and writing, which are also very important and have to be learned if a students wants to be communicative competent. There is a need to read and to write in the foreign language. and the Communicative Approach does not focus on this aspect.
TEACHER ROLE: The teacher is a facilitator of his/her students' learning. He/she managers the activities in the classroom and always is monitoring the student's performance without interfering and correcting mistakes.
STUDENT ROLE: Here the students have the whole responsibility of their own language learning. The students are seen as communicators who are continuously negotiating the meaning each other. The students have a very active role.
METHODOLOGY: The most important characteristics of the Communicative Approach method are the follows:
- The Communication covers a great range of functions (for example greetings, apologizing, looking for information...) and notions (for instance greetings to be kind, apologizing for being late...)
- The language is seen as a medium of communication, thus this communication has always a social purpose. The students have something to express or to find out.
- The activities in the classroom offer students the opportunity to use the foreign language as a communicative tool from the very beginning, looking at the meaning rather than the form of language.
- The activities should be meaningful and motivating for the students. So the students will learn by intrinsic motivation, from difference to other methods in which the teachers use extrinsic motivations ( award the correct answer and avoid mistakes). Meaningful leaning is always better retained by students.
- As I said before, this is a learner centered method in which the students is the center of the learning and all the knowledges and activities are designed taking into account the specific characteristics, needs and interests of the students.
- The language learning must be useful, I mean that the learning has to serve for the real life where students have to deal with a great number of different everyday situations.
- The activities represents real life situations and get the student the opportunity to real communication through role plays, projects, plays, in which language is produced spontaneously. Spontaneous and improvised practice will make students more confident in communication. Repetition activities are avoided.
- The oral language is emphasized over the written language.
- The mistakes are seen as a natural part of the learning process. The students learn from making mistakes. Constant correction is not good for the learning process.
-The formal aspects of language and the grammar are taught less systematically, but also is important.
Teachers must find the connection between the previous knowledge and the new, to make the topic memorable for the student. There should be a bridge between the two knowledges.
The materials play an important aspect in language learning. This should be attractive and motivating for students. Authentic materials can be used for this purpose. - native conversations, newspapers, magazines, poems, videos, ICT (information & communication technologies) resources...- and can be exploited in different ways. The teacher should not be restricted to the textbook. It can be manipulated in order to make it more useful for this purpose.
- The new knowledge has to be presented, assimilated and reproduced in a spontaneous way. The use of visual aids will help students.
L1 USAGE: Students and teacher does not use the mother tongue, so this has not any particular role.
L2 USAGE: The foreign language should be used almost all time- giving explanations, in activities, for communication among students and teacher...-L2 should be used during not only activities, but also when the teacher is giving explanations, instructions, and homework. Students should see L2 as a tool for communication, not a subject to study.
LISTENING, SPEAKING, READING AND WRITING: The four language skills are learnt from the very beginning. But oral skills, listening and reading are emphasized.
EVALUATION: The teacher evaluates students' communicative performance through different ways- communicative activities, dialogues...etc- but also assesses the writing and reading skills- for example asking students to write a letter, or reading a passage with some objectives...etc.
This is the method used today in the foreign language classroom. It is the one that best suits the needs of students because it offers the opportunity to learn the second language in a communicative way, where the important thing is communication, not the form or rules. So the student is able to communicate in a foreign language, which is the goal of language teaching: real communication outside of classroom.
Having a general view and a complete understanding of the most important methods, I have to say that the most suitable method to teach a foreign language is this Communicative Approach. The students have the need to communicate outside the classroom, real communication, not prepared exercises or drills. In order to get this aim, the Communicative Approach offer us a great variety of techniques and activities we can use as teachers with our students, using authentic materials, motivating for the pupils, and similar to the real world. But I think that not only the Communicative Approach is a valid Method, because there is a lot of different learning needs, different students, different situations and each one can be deal with the most suitable method in each case.
All in all, no one method is the solution to the problems of the language learning. It would be better for us to take fruitful techniques from each method depending on our students' level, age and needs.
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