Grammar translation approach aspects

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Grammar translation approach aspects

  1. 1. Universidad Católica de la Ssma. ConcepciónFacultad de EducaciónPedagogía Media en InglésDidáctica en Inglés 1 CMAP Progress “Grammar Translation Approach” Fernando Alexi Peña Salinas Gabriel Fernando Jara Muñoz • Historical Context: This Approach has its “roots” in the concepts that formed the educational system of countries in Europe during the 18th and 19th century, the conception that society had about human mind and what elements a person should possessed in order to be competent in the world. One of those elements were Greek and Latin Literature, and it seemed to be that the only way to teach them was through the classical method focus primarily on grammar and vocabulary issues1. Therefore, there was no need of using communicative or oral skills, for that was not the goal of this method of teaching. • Teacher’s Role: The role of the teacher in the classroom is moderately simple, reduced and even mechanized. Grammar translation method requires few specialized skills from the educator2 (he/she teaches in his/her mother tongue), which means that the delivery of the “contents” (basically grammar rules, vocabulary, conjugations and text translations) are easy to present (written exercises-long explanations focus on grammar issues) and to evaluate (written tests) for the main aim of this approach is to enhance students’ vocabulary, making them able to read and study other contents or books in a foreign or second language. 1 Brown, D.(1994) Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, pp 18 2 Brown, D.(1994) Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, pp 19
  2. 2. • Student’s Role: The role of the student is basically limited to a few actions, which are to memorize, to conjugate and to translate3. Because the goal of this method is not to develop oral or communicative skills, the student is restricted only to do written exercises in order to gain vocabulary, memorize structure of sentences or translate texts. • Role of the Abilities: The Grammar translation method is focused on grammatical rules and the written part of the language (Brown, D. 1994), in order to make the learner able to understand it in this form. Therefore, as its name suggests, the abilities focused on this method are the ones required for understanding grammatical rules, memorization of vocabulary and its transformation within the language, the translation of texts, and obviously the ability to exercise and produce in a written way. That is because is based on the Classic Method, which at the beginning was used for teaching Greek and Latin, which are mainly found in their written expressions. • Summary of a class: Because of the low specialized skills required to the teacher as Brown (1994) says, the class follows a certain structure which consist of delivering the content (vocabulary) with no context, in the learners mother tongue, followed by explanations of grammatical issues (rules, collocations etc). Then all of those rules are applied on text translation wherein no attention is paid to pronunciation4. Usually in class, vocabulary is written in the whiteboard, and students have to memorize it and then translate a text in order to apply new vocabulary5.3 Brown, D.(1994) Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, pp 194 Brown, D.(1994) Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, pp 195 Murphy School of Education, (2010), Grammar Translation Method in EFL Class. Japan
  3. 3. • Advantages and Disadvantages:Advantages:- Reading of difficult classical text is begun early. This could obviously mean anearly development of complex grammatical structures and vocabulary(Prator and Celce-Murcia 1973).- Elaboration of tests, as it is only focused on few skills, both from teachers as arequirement, and students as goal, are easy to construct and can be easilyprepared.- Although it does not develop the required communicative skills for nowadayslinguistic competence in foreign language learning, it has remained to be stalwartamong many competing models (Brown, D. 1994).Disadvantages:- Prator and Celce-Murcia (1973) Classes taught in mother tongue, with little activeuse of language, which means that students are not developing skills forcommunicating in an oral way, and are prepared for being "scholarly" (Brown, D.1994).- (Richard & Rodgers 1986) this method has no supporters and no theory. and aspointed in "Teaching by Principles", (Brown, D. 1994), at the beginning, there werefew if any theoretical foundations of language learning upon which to baseteaching methodology, therefore, this method, based on the Classical Method isinfluenced by that beginning.- Prator and Celce-Murcia (1973) Even though it is aimed on translations of texts,little attention is paid to the ontent of texts, which are treated as a source forexercises. Analysis of structures is more relevant than meaning of the texts.
  4. 4. • Browns principles present: The Grammar Translation Approach is a quiet difficult method in terms of matching it with a Brown’s Principle, mainly because many of the principles are focus on the Student (student- centered) and the more communicative approaches, however there are some aspects of certain principles that might be present in grammar translation method: 1. Principle 10: The Native Language Effect: The Grammar Translation Approach presents the contents in the learners mother tongue, therefore as this principle suggest (Brown, 1994) teachers can use the native language in classroom as long as it helps in the student learning process, mainly because it can facilitate the way learners structure the sentences or the order of words. 2. Principle 12: Communicative Competence As its name suggest this principle aims to develop competences in the learner in many aspect such as “organizational competence (grammatical and discourse), pragmatic competence (functional and sociolinguistic) and psychomotor skills6” (Bachman 1990 and Canale & Swain 1980 aforementioned in Brown 1994). However it is necessary to mention that this principle does contemplate and integrate grammar explanations, drills or exercises, but just as a part of the class, for the main objective is to develop all of the skills in the learner.6 Brown, D.(1994) Teaching by Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy, pp 79

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