English: Jewish Children with their Teacher in Samarkand. Early color photograph from Russia, created by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii as part of his work to document the Russian Empire from 1909 to 1915. Français : Enfants juifs avec leur professeur à Samarcande. Une des premières photos en couleur de Russie. Prise par Sergueï Prokoudine-Gorski, c’est une partie de son travail d’un document sur l’empire Russe de 1909 à 1915. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
GTM-THE GRAMMAR TRANSLATION METHOD
L1: First Language, Mother Tongue
L2: Second Language, The language the students aim to learn
THE GRAMMAR TRANSLATION METHOD (GTM)
- Learning Theory: Deductive learning is essential. First, the teacher gives rules explicitly then the rules are reinforced with examples and exercises.
- Language Theory: Language is for understanding the literature. Translation is the way to learn the language. Oral communication is not primarily important. Written language is superior to spoken language. Students also learn the structure of their own native language. Those who study a foreign language become more cultured and intellectual.
- Culture: Culture is limited to literature and fine arts.
- Teachers’ Role: Teacher is the strict authority. Classes are teacher centred.
- Students’ Role: Students are the passive receivers of the new information. The teacher starts the activities and directs them. Students are supposed to memorise the rules and the new vocabulary with their meanings in their native language.
- Interactions: Very often “Teacher –Student” interactions occur. Rarely “Student – Student” interactions also occur.
- Vocabulary Teaching: The most common vocabulary teaching technique is “the memorisation of long lists of vocabulary with their equivalents in the students’ native language. Other techniques are
-Teaching “cognates” (i.e., “cinema –sinema”, “theatre – tiyatro” …, etc).
– Using synonyms and antonyms
- Grammar Teaching: The teaching of grammar is deductive. The teacher introduces the rules explicitly and wants the students to apply these rules to new examples in exercises. Students are supposed to memorise the rules. In order to explain the rules, the teacher uses comparison and contract between the students’ native language grammar and target language grammar. Translation is a common way to clarify the meanings of the new grammar patterns in the target language.
- Materials: Texts from the target language literature are used. The teacher may either write the text or use an authentic literary text.
- Syllabus: Structural syllabus (i.e., list of structures to be taught during the course) is used. The order of structures starts from the easiest
- Role of L1: L1 (i.e., students’ native language) has an important function in teaching vocabulary and grammar. Since oral communication in the target language is not important, classroom instructions are given in L1.
- Evaluation: Translation is an important technique to test students’ progress in the target language. In addition, “fill-in-the-blank” type test items are also used. Synonyms, antonyms, and cognates can be asked to test vocabulary in formal tests. Reading passages and comprehension questions about the passages can also take place in tests as the reading section.
- Goals and Objectives: Among the goals are to teach translation, to read and understand literary texts in the target language, to make students aware of their native language structure and vocabulary, and to improve students’ mental capacities with grammar exercises.
- Error Correction: The teacher corrects the errors strictly. Errors are not tolerated. Accuracy is emphasised strictly. Accuracy means grammatical correctness.
- Student’s Feelings: There is no information about how GTM deals with students’ feelings. V Therefore, we cannot consider this method as a humanistic approach.
- Translation of a Literary Passage: Students translate a passage from the target language into their native language. The passage provides the focus for several classes: vocabulary and grammatical structures in the passage are studied in the following lessons.
- Reading Comprehension Questions: Students answer questions in the target language based on their understanding of the reading passage. First, they answer information questions whose answers they can find in the passage. Second, they answer inference questions based on their comprehension of the passage although the answer cannot be found in the passage directly in the passage. Third, they answer questions that require students to relate the passage to their own experience.
- Antonyms / Synonyms: Students are given one set of words and are asked to find antonyms in the reading passage. A similar exercise could be done by asking students to find synonyms for a particular set of words.
- Cognates: Students are taught to recognise cognates by learning the spelling or sound patterns that correspond between the languages. Students should be aware of “true cognates” (i.e., theatre-tiyatro) and “false cognates” (i.e., apartment-apartman).
- Deductive Application of Rule: Grammar rules are presented with examples. Exceptions to each rule are also noted. Once students understand a rule, they are asked to apply it to some different examples.
- Fill-in-the blanks: Students are given a series of sentences with words missing. They fill in the blanks with new vocabulary items or necessary items of grammatical features.
- Memorisation: Students are given lists of target language vocabulary words and their native language equivalents and are asked to memorise them. Students are also required to memorise grammatical rules and grammatical paradigms such as verb conjugations.
- Use words in Sentences: In order to show that students understand the meaning and use of a new vocabulary item, they make up sentences in which they use the new words.
- Composition: The teacher gives the students a topic to write about in the target language. The topic is based upon some aspect of the reading passage of the lesson. Sometimes, instead of creating a composition, students are asked to prepare a précis (pronounced as /preısı/).
17. Skills: The primary skills to be improved are “reading” and “writing”. Little attention is given to speaking and listening, and almost no attention to pronunciation.
Native language conference, Norway (Photo credit: Wikipedia)