Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Language teaching method

Methods are sets of teaching plans, strategies and techniques used to organize classroom practice (Cole and Chan, 1994: 4). There are some methods of language teaching that can be used by teachers. H.H. Stern (1983: 452) said there are six language-teaching methods which are commonly used, they are:

1) Grammar-Translation or traditional method

This method emphasizes the teaching of the second language grammar; its principal practice technique is translation from and into target language. The languages is presented in short grammatically chapters or lesson each containing a few grammar points or rules which are set out and illustrated by examples.

The grammatical features that are focused upon in the course book and by the teacher in his lesson are not disguised or hidden. A technical grammatical terminology is not avoided. The learner is expected to study and memorize a particular rule and example, for instance, a verb paradigm or a list of preposition. No systematic approach is usually made to vocabulary or any other aspect of second language. Exercise is consists of words, phrases, and sentences in the first language which the learner, with the help of bilingual vocabulary list, translates into the target language in order to practice the particular item or group item.

2) The direct method

The direct method is characterized by the use of the range language as means of instruction and communication in the language classroom, and by the avoidance of the use of the first language and of translation as a technique. The standard procedure involves the classroom presentation of a ‘text’ by the teacher.

The text is usually a short specially constructed foreign language narrative in the textbook. Difficult expressions are explained in the target language with the help of paraphrases, synonyms, demonstration, or context. Grammatical observations are derived from the text read and students are encouraged to discover for themselves the grammatical principle involved. Exercises involve transpositions, substitutions, dictation, narrative, and free composition. Since the direct method class involves much use of the spoken language, stress, is also laid on the acquisition of a good pronunciation.

3) The reading method

This method deliberately restricts the goal of language learning to training in reading comprehension. In this method, the use of the first language is not banned in language instruction as in the grammar-translation method. The introduction in the second language is oral as in the direct method because facility in pronunciation and ‘inner speech’ are regarded as an important aid in reading comprehension.

4) The audio-lingual method

This method has several distinctive characteristic: (1) separation of the skills–listening, speaking, reading, and writing– and the primacy of the audio-lingual over the graphic skills; (2) the use of dialogues as the chief means of presenting the languages; (3) emphasis on certain practice technique, mimicry, memorization, and pattern drills; (4) the use of the language laboratory; (5) establishing a linguistic and psychology theory as a basis for the teaching method.

5) The audiovisual method

A visually presented scenario provides the chief means of involving the learner in meaningful utterances and contexts. Audiovisual teaching consists of a carefully thought-out but rigid order of events. The lesson begins with the filmstrip and tape presentation. The sound recording provides a stylized dialogue and narrative commentary. A filmstrip frame corresponds to an utterance. In other words, the visual image and spoken utterance complement each other and constitute jointly a semantic unit.

In the second phase of the teaching sequence, the meaning of sense groups is explained (‘explication’) by the teacher through pointing, demonstrating, selective listening, question and answer. In the third phase, dialogue is repeated several times and memorized by frequent replays of the tape-recordings and the filmstrips, or by language laboratory practice. In the next stage, development stage (‘exploitation’ or ‘transposition’), students are gradually emancipated from the tape-and-film-strip presentation.

6) Cognitive theory

The cognitive approach does not reject, disguise or deemphasize the conscious teaching of grammar or of language rules. It does not avoid the presentation of reading and writing in association with listening and speaking. Instead of expecting automatic command of the language and habit-formation from intensive drill, it seeks the intellectual understanding by the learner of the language as a system; and practice of meaningful material is regarded as being of greater merit than the drive towards automatic control. The behaviouristic view of learning in terms of conditioning, shaping, reinforcement, habit-formation, and over learning, has been replaced by an emphasis on rule learning, meaningful practice, and creativity.


Cole, Peter G and Chan, Lorna. 1994. Teaching Principles and Practice. New York. Prentice Hall.

Stern, H.H. 1983. Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching. New York: Oxford University Press.


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