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The Grammar Translation Method In FLT

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 846 words Published: 4th May 2017

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Lets look at one of the classical teaching methods in the theory of foreign language teaching. The grammar-translation method, also called the GT method, is one of these traditional language teaching methods that consist primarily of a sequence of classroom activities that focus on the grammar, vocabulary, and literature of a target language. This method requires students to translate the whole text, word for word, and memorize numerous grammatical rules and exceptions as well as enormous vocabulary lists. We could say the goal of the GT method is to be able to read and translate typical modern novels as well as literary masterpieces and classics.

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In GT method, classes are conducted in the native language. Instructors tend to teach from textbooks that begin with an enormous list of vocabularies for students to memorize. And Grammar lessons are also taught from the texts presented in textbooks. For you guys, this might sound new, but tedious translation and grammar drills are used as exercises to strengthen the students’ knowledge. We can see the skill dominantly exercised in this method is reading, but only in the context of translation.

Q2You wouldn’t find it surprising that there are many criticisms against this method, as the method by definition, has a very limited scope of objectives. It also appears that GT method hugely favors reading over listening and speaking skills, to an extent that they are forgetting to teach speaking. Without opportunities to practice their speaking, students are missing out on an opportunity to learn the language fluently. I mean, it lacks the spontaneous creative output’ Q3it’s like saying the best students are the ones that can translate most precisely. But what’s the point if they aren’t learning how to communicate?

Not only is the focus of the class too narrow, but the materials taught in classes are also very limited. The study into the culture of the target language is strictly limited to its literature and fine arts, because that is the only text used in the class.

The overly traditional role of the teacher is another component of this method that is criticized. In the classroom, the teacher is the ultimate authority, with little or no student-to-student interaction, and he or she is always the one who gives out the correct answer. Having the correct answer is considered very important, and in many cases, students who give the wrong answers are scolded by the teacher. How would you feel if I reprimanded you for getting a question wrong? You would probably be discouraged and wouldn’t want to try next time, right? Ultimately, due to excessive reliance solely on textbooks, the materials taught in class might not even require a teacher; um’ the role of the teacher is strictly limited to the extent that there’s barely any interaction between a student and a teacher.

Q4Additionally, the translation exercises and practice tests the students are given, are clearly just for practice purposes, and thus rarely ever used in real life. The materials taught do not state how written style of language differs from the colloquial language, which is another problem of depending on a written text. Therefore, it lacks authenticity, lacking usefulness in real life, and doesn’t prepare the students efficiently enough for real-life usage of the language.

Theorists such as Vietor, Passy, Berlitz, and Jespersen began to shed light on the problems of the grammar translation method and suggested that a new kind of foreign language instruction was needed. They supported teaching the language in a slightly different way from the GT method’Q5they have not only focused on the text, but also emphasized the importance of speech. Johnson, one of the many critics of teaching methods, said that the GT method can give foreign language students a total loss of genuine feeling for the language.

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Okay, so although the GT method carries much criticism along with it, it is also important to acknowledge some of the positive aspects of this method. For example, the great emphasis made on the grammar and vocabulary of the target language will strengthen the students’ reading and writing skills extensively. Also, by reading and appreciating foreign literature, they can become better at analyzing and will become more intellectual thinkers. Translation exercises, grammar practices, and vocabulary memorization can all provide the students with good mental exercises and make the form of the target language more familiar to the learner. Plus, language learning through speaking comes at a high cost as it requires more teaching time. It’s much easier for students to study reading by themselves than speaking.

Q6However, ultimately, the GT method has proven to be ineffective nowadays, and many teachers are avoiding this traditional method. Next class, we will look at another traditional method of foreign language teaching: the audio-lingual method.



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