Assignment 2 551

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  • 1. Q.1 Which teaching method do you prefer to teach English in your classroom keeping in view the national educational scenario? Justify your comments with arguments.Ans: In this assignment we are going to study two of the oldest methods of teaching foreign languages, these methods are the grammar translation method and the direct method. We shall look at the main features of both of these methods and see how they can be used by the teacher in the class room. Finally we shall assess each method and see whether or not they have a part to play in English language teaching in Pakistan.Before proceeding to the topic proper it looks appropriate to discuss what approach, method and technique are. Over the years there have been many changes in the ways in which people learn and teach foreign languages. During the second half of this century especially, many different teaching methods have come into fashion and have just as quickly gone out again. When we want to discuss these different methods, there seems to be a problem: the terms approaches, theories, philosophies, methods, techniques, etc. seems to be used interchangeably, with those taking part in the discussion unsure as to exactly what the other participants mean when they use these terms. Therefore, before we start discussing different methods of 1

2. language teaching, let us try to define these terms as we shall be using them throughout this course.Approach:An approach to language teaching is a set of beliefs about language when underlies or prescribes the use of a certain method. For example, if you believe that language is primarily concerned with speaking, then you will follow a method of language teaching which concentrates on developing the spoken skills. If you believe that language is a set of rules, then you will adopt a teaching method which gibes emphasis to the rote learning of grammatical structures and so on the terms principle, theory, and philosophy can mean the same as approach in this context.Method:A method of language teaching is a complete set of procedures and techniques that follow a systematic scheme. They are often prescribed by the approaches, as we have just seen. For example, the audio-lingual method is based on the view that language consists of grammar, and that we learn it through repetition. Thus a teacher using this method will use drilling, repetition, and reinforcement. Technique: 2 3. This is the narrowest term of the three, and refers to specific procedures within the method. For example, while the teacher is conducting a language drill, he will first call on the whole class to respond, then he will call on a group within the class to respond, and then he will call on an individual. This is a technique within a method.The classical approach to language learningUnderlying this method we find the traditional, or classical approach to language teaching; it was believed that modern languages could be taught in exactly the same way as the ancient languages of Greek and Latin had been taught for many centuries. But here we need to ask ourselves a question: what was the purpose in teaching these ancient languages? They had been dead for hundreds of years; nobody actually spoke them anymore. The answer is that they were taught purely as an academic exercise- learning these languages was considered to be an excellent training for the mind. Since the languages themselves were long since dead, there was no question of training students to understand and produce conversational forms; emphasis was thus given to the grammatical system and to the reading and translation of literary texts in the target language.The purpose of learning a modern language, such as English or Japanese, however, may be very different. Usually the student wants to be able to communicate in the language which he is learning, and this means that he must master the skills of 3 4. listening and speaking in the target language just as much (and probably more so ) than those of reading and writing. The classical approach to language learning, however, takes little account of this need.The Grammar Translation methodLet us imagine that we are unseen observers in an English class which is being taught by the grammar-translation method. What exactly is happening?When the teacher enters the classroom he will greet the students and carry out any class business in the mother tongue. Again in the mother tongue, the class will be directed to open their textbooks at the page where they left off in the last class. The textbooks will contain rather heavy, literary-style texts, and will be unlikely to contain examples of modern conversational-style English. The teacher may say a few words about what was read the day before, and then he will start to read through the text and to translate it section by section. The students hurry to note down the L1 translations of any words they dont understand. They may be given a word list to memorize as a homework task. Translation is followed by a few comprehension questions in L1, or the students may be asked to gibe an L1 translation of sentences from the text. Finally the teacher may write up a paradigm or model construction about grammar.Advantages of Grammar-translation method: 4 5. It can be useful for large classes It can be useful for inexperienced teachers. It may gibe adult learner confidence. Students get plenty of practice in reading, grammar and translation.Disadvantages: The student cannot use the language for communication. The student cannot use the language appropriately.The Natural Approach to Language TeachingWe are now going to look at another approach to language learning and teaching- one which is very different from the classical approach. This is not surprising, as it was developed in the second half of the nineteenth century as a reaction against the strict intellectual confines of the classical approach andits resulting grammar-translation method.In its development we can find a parallel to the reaction against the classical style in literature and the arts. The Romantic Movement, with its emphasis on a return to Nature. According to the exponents of the Natural Approach, then, language was first to be learnt through speech, since this was the natural route taken by a child when he acquired his first language. Reading and writing followed later. Just as a young child learning his first language rarely, if ever, had the rules of 5 6. grammar explained to him, so in learning a second language he was to follow the same patch by finding out for himself how the language worked. The developing science of psychology was also applied to language learning; the resulting theories called for teachers to help the students learn by enabling them to visualize actual objects and link them with words in the target language; to encourage the students, especially the younger ones, to learn through play, and through activity in everyday situations. Most important of all, language was natural, and the heavy literary texts were to be a thing of the past. Instead, texts were chosen which reflected the day-to-day culture of the countries where the target language was spoken.The Direct MethodBy now we understand that a new educational approach often gives rise to a new method, and the natural approach was no exception. The principles of this approach to language teaching became enshrined in what came to be known as the direct method. Even so, the grammar-translation method was not cast aside overnight. Indeed, in many parts of the world, it lingers on to this day. Now again we will come to the advantages and disadvantages of this method.Advantages The language learnt is useful for communication. The student will gain confidence in speaking. 6 7. The method is motivating.Disadvantages Teachers refusal to translate can waste time. Many students feel more confident if they are given somegrammar rules. The direct method needs excellent teachers.To conclude we can rightly say that every method and approach has its merits and demerits. It is now up to the learner and the teacher to get the most benefit of them by using these methods according their situation. An interesting research that was held in Islamabad is given below.Method plays an important role in the teaching of language. It is a planned and systematic effort of the teacher for establishing sequence in the various parts of the teaching. The direct method, as its name suggests, is teaching the foreign language without the interference of mother tongue. It is also called quot;natural methodquot; because the students learn the foreign language in the same way as they learn their mother tongue. In this method, not the word but the sentence is the unit of the grammar, while the traditional method aims at teaching English by word-to-word translation in mother tongue. The child begins to develop his vocabulary from a single word. The Solomon four- group design was used for the treatment of the data. The students of Federal Government boy's secondary schools of 7 8. Islamabad were the population of the study. In this design: Subjects were randomly assigned to four groups. Intelligence test was administered to determine the level of each student before treatment and to equalize the students of four groups. Experimental groups were taught by direct method while the Control groups were taught by traditional method for a period of three months. At the end of the treatment, a posttest was administered and scores of pre-test, posttest and intelligence test served as data of the study. Applying t-test and analysis of variance tested to know the significance of difference between the scores of groups at 0.05 levels. The main objectives of the study were: to determine the role of direct teaching in the academicachievement of student in English at secondary level, to determine whether the direct teaching method is moreeffective than traditional me