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Comparison between Grammar Translation Method and Communicative Language Teaching



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2.2 Comparison between Grammar Translation Method and Communicative Language Teaching
Grammar translation method was first known in the United States as Prussian Method. Grammar translation method dominated European and foreign language teaching from 1840 to 1940.

According to the Richards and Rodgers, the principle characteristics of Grammar Translation Method are7:

In Grammar Translation Method, the goal of learning a second or foreign language is mainly to be enabling to read the literature of that language and is to get benefit from intellectual development that results from foreign and second language study. Grammar Translation Method enables to learn detailed grammatical rules of target language and enables to translate into and out of the target language.

In Grammar Translation Method, reading and writing skills are focused while listening and speaking skills are totally ignored.

In Grammar Translation Method, the memorization of grammatical rules of foreign language and of the vocabulary items is focused. Vocabulary items are limited to the text that they are taught. Vocabulary items are memorized with the help of their meanings in the native language.

In Grammar Translation Method, sentenced is the basic unit of teaching and language practice. The learners are enabled to do detailed analysis of a sentence through this method. The learners are enabled to translate a sentence into and out of the target language.

In Grammar Translation Method, accuracy is emphasized rather than fluency. The basic purpose of this method used to be able to pass the written examinations.

In Grammar Translation Method, grammar is taught deductively i.e. by presenting and practicing the detailed grammatical rules of target language. A syllabus of grammatical rules if followed in which rules are systematically put in to a sequence starting from the simple rules to the complex rules.

In Grammar Translation Method, students are directed and instructions are given in the student’s native language so that they may easily understand the instructions. The students’ native language is used to explain new items and to enable them to compare two languages i.e. native language of the learners and foreign language.

There are some major techniques that are adopted in the teaching of second or foreign language through Grammar Translation Method.

Translation of a literary passage. Students translate a reading passage into and out of the target language. In checking of the translation, the focus of the teacher is on vocabulary and grammatical structures. The translation may be written or spoken or both. Students should not translate idioms but must understand their meanings.

Reading Comprehension Questions. A passage for reading and understanding is given to the students and they have to answer the questions given at the end of the passage in the target language. The questions are put into a sequence. The first group of questions is related with the information drawn from the passage, second group of questions require students to make inferences based on their understanding of the passage. The third group of questions requires students to relate the passage with their own experiences.

Antonym and synonyms. Students are given a list of words and a passage. The students have to find out the antonyms of those words in the passage. Similarly, the students can also be given a list of words and can be asked to find out the synonyms of the given words from the passage.

Deductive application of rules. Grammar rules are presented before the students with the all possible information that can be given to the students relating to the grammatical rules. The rules are also explained with examples. Once students understand a rule, they are asked to apply it for some different examples.

Fill in the blanks. The students are given a series of sentences with some missing words. The students have to fill in the blanks with some suitable grammar items such a preposition and verbs with different tenses

Memorization. The students are given a list of vocabulary to memorize them with their meaning in the native language. Students are also required to memorize the grammatical rules.

Use words in sentences. In order to check the understanding of the meaning and sue of vocabulary, the students are asked to use the list of typical words in their own sentences.

Composition. The teacher gives a topic to the students to write about that topic in the target language. The topic is based on some aspect of the reading passage of the lesson (Freeman8).

Nazir (2002) narrated as “The structure of a foreign language is best learnt when compare and contrasted with that of the mother tongue.”

According to Ishtiaq (2005), the Grammar Translation Method is based on a system and is in a sequence because in this method all the grammatical rules are arranged into a sequence for the convenience of the students. This sequence starts from the simple rules and eventually leads to the complex rules. When a book is written by an author on grammatical rules keeping in view the sequence, he writes one lesson that is completely based on one rule of grammar. Each lesson is divided into certain rules and these rules dominate the lesson.

Larson (1986) narrated importance of Grammar Translation Method as “in Grammar Translation Method, students are made to learn new words. Therefore, this method helps in improving vocabulary. Reading and writing are the two primary skills that are developed most so as to enable the students to read the literature in target language. Grammar is taught deductively and it makes use of students’ mother language.

Neilson (2003) stated that in Grammar Translation Method, oral skills i.e. speaking and listening skills are totally neglected while the whole attention is given to just reading and writing skills. Through this method, the students become able to read the literature of the target language by translating it into their native language but cannot communicate into the target language and even cannot understand the target language spoken by any native speaker.

In Grammar Translation Method, the authority of the classroom is totally in the hands of the teacher and teacher is at the centre of the classroom. The communication is just from teachers to students not from student to teacher and not even from students to students. The students are considered empty minded which have needed to be filled with all the possible vocabulary and grammatical structures that can be filled in their minds (ibid).

The main disadvantage of the Grammar Translation Method is that it is almost impossible to translate all the phrases and sentences into the target language because the main focus is the translation of this method so such students who have been taught through this method become fail to communicate well in the target language (ibid).

In the Grammar Translation Method, accuracy is emphasized rather than fluency and students go on thinking to accurate the grammatical rules which actually hinder their fluency. In Grammar Translation Method, the teacher abruptly interferes and stops the students wherever they make the mistakes so they become conscious while speaking and communicating in the target language and become unable to be fluent (ibid).

There have been various criticisms on the use of Grammar Translation Method for the teaching of modern language particularly English. There are some objections that have been put on the Grammar Translation Method.

Grammar Translation Method emphasizes on the reading and writing skills on the expense of listening and speaking skills. But learning the listening and speaking skills of a language is more important than leaning reading and writing skills because it is a natural way of learning a language. In Grammar Translation Method, writing gives learners a reflective chance to look at their writing that whether they have written correct spellings, vocabulary and grammatical rules. The main aim and goal of most of the learners in learning modern languages is not just to develop reading and writing skills whereas they want to communicate well and understand the native speakers’ language.

Grammar Translation Method demands the arrangement of the grammatical rules in a structure starting from the simple rules and leading to the complex rules. While most of the learners especially adult learners want to start using the language straight way because they have not got time to learn all the grammatical rules one by one and start using them after then. Grammar Translation Method emphasizes to make the students learn each rule and practice it one by one and after commanding a rule move to the next one. So there remains the need to revise all the rules again and again so that they may not get washed out of the learners’ mind.

In Grammar Translation Method, sentence is the basic unit of the language. The learners are made able to memorize certain rules of grammar and certain vocabulary which they have to fit everywhere they find a chance to use them. But if learners find some unusual situation they become unable to fit their memorized rules to fit in that situation.

In Grammar Translation Method, grammatical rules and vocabulary is memorized in modern ways of teaching a language memorization is not regarded while exposure of a language, experience and use of language is preferred and recommended. People have different learning styles. Some people like to learn vocabulary, grammar rules, phrase and sentences through memorization. But when they have to sue them, they must have time to stop and recall the memorized items.

In Grammar Translation Method, the focus of the learners is the manipulation of the grammatical rules and words to write correct sentences with prescribed content. But in learning the modern languages, it is recommended that the major focus should be more and more on the oral practice and expression of the personal meanings. The expression of the personal meanings may spoil the structure of the grammar rules and sentences.

In Grammar Translation Method, the teachers and the learners mostly speak in their first language or native language. While it is highly recommended that use of second and target language should be maximized in learning the language but here maximization does not mean teachers and learners should all the time speak in the target language. The speaking of the second language is also advantageous because in language classrooms we may also have multilingual learners that may belong to different languages so a single language i.e. second or target language will be convenient to use without pointing a single native language.

In Grammar Translation Method, teacher should explain, describe the grammatical rules, tell the meanings of the words, translate the passages, conduct grammar practices, correct mistakes and teacher should authorized the classroom and learners. But now it is highly recommended that teachers role in the class should be as a guide and facilitator. Teacher’s role in the language classroom should be less. Teacher should act behind the scene. Teacher should give the problems to the learners to solve, interact among each other and generally it leads the learners to be independent learners.

In Grammar Translation Method, translation is the basic technique. Translation is a way of understanding the meanings of the written and oral texts by converting the texts into the first or native language of the learners. Translation is a way of comparing and contrasting two languages i.e. first language and second language. But now it is highly recommended that translation should be avoided because it leads to such a mental process which hinders or stops learning. The learners should be encouraged to speak and even think in second language as much as possible.

In Grammar Translation Method, accuracy is emphasized rather than fluency but it is now highly recommended that accuracy should come at the last and fluency should preferred first. If the learners are corrected on their mistakes from the very beginning, they will become hesitant to speak in the target language. When they will start to speak, their minds will abruptly become read to look upon the grammatical rules that they are using so I this way they will become unable to be fluent in language (Jonathan, 2012).

Faiq stated that in most of the Uzbekistani schools, Grammar Translation Method is used to teach English. In Uzbekistan, Grammar Translation Method is used to learn and memorize the grammatical rules in such a way that rules are deductively presented and practiced through the exercises of translation, fill in the blanks and by using such other techniques9. Mostly students are taught certain letters, applications and stories like “thirsty crow”, “greedy dog” etc. In Uzbekistan, it is considered that learning a language means just to be able to read literature and write certain kinds of things without giving importance to the listening and speaking skills.

Grammar is taught through deductive method i.e. rules are presented to the learners, deep analysis of the rules is done and rules are used for translating passages of English into Urdu ad of Urdu into English. It is a common practice in our public sector schools that a student reads aloud the lines of a paragraph and teacher translate it into Urdu word by word. Teachers write the meanings of the difficult words on the blackboard. Linguists say that a language can be better learnt without translation and meanings of the difficult words can be told through demonstrations and actions (ibid).

Language can be better learnt and taught by using it actively in the classrooms. Grammar can better learnt through inductive or implicit method i.e. exposure of a rule is provided to the learners and learners grasp that rule unconsciously. The importance of listening and speaking skill cannot be denied in the public sector schools of Uzbekistan. Writing is also an important skill but just copying the material from the blackboard is not a good practice. It limits the thinking process of the learners. Learners should be given some topics to write on them in their own words (ibid).

In our schools, teachers and textbooks take the central role in the classroom while the students sit passively depending on the teachers and textbooks. The learners’ purpose of sitting in the classroom is to take lectures from the teachers. The interaction from the students to teachers is not ever into the consideration of public sector schools. They just know how to feed the minds of the learners with information. Learners should be considered as living beings with their own minds, ideas and thinking. The learners have their background knowledge. The use of the leaner’s’ background knowledge can be helpful for the teachers to teach a language (ibid).

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is a widely used approach in the field of English language teaching. Since the introduction of communicative language teaching in the late 1970s, there have been different definitions and interpretations of the communicative approach which are as follows:

Communicative Language Teaching is a teaching method for teaching a second language emphasizes on the importance of students’ interactive ability to express their own ideas in the target language (Hattum10).

Communication ability is the essential goal in language learning. The communicative approach claims that learning a foreign language should not be focused on language structures (grammar and vocabulary), but also on the communicative functions that the language performs. Language learners should also learn the relations between the structures and the communicative functions in real situations and real time (Littlewood, 1981).

Communicative language teaching began in Britain in the 1960s. It was used to replace the earlier structural method, called Situational Language Teaching (Orwig, 1999).

The goal of communicative language teaching is to teach real-life communication skills. Students learn with a situation that they may encounter in their real life. CLT is not like the audiolingual method, which is based on repetition and drills. On the contrary, it uses the way to leave students in suspense as to the outcome of a class exercise, which will change according to the students’ reactions and responses. The real-life situation change every day; therefore, the students’ learning motivation comes from their desire to communicate in the ways and topics which they are interested in (Galloway, 2010). Therefore, many researchers have indicated that it is better to use CLT in ESL classrooms, rather than EFL classrooms in Asia (Liao, 2006).

The aim of this approach is to enable the students to communicate in the target language like a native speaker of that language. CLT does not focus on accuracy but stresses on the semantic use of language. A student should know the different forms in meaning that can be used to perform a function and also that a single form can perform many functions. The objective of CLT is to enable the students to use the target language as a mean of expression that can meet their communicative needs. Communicative language teaching includes activities based on social interaction, such as conversation, discussion sessions, dialogues and role plays etc. CLT focuses on the proficiency of the language rather than on the mastery of structures. It can be said that CLT does enables learners to interact but it is very difficult for a teacher to introduce such activities which allows genuine interaction (Brown11).

The basic objective of the communicative language teaching is the communication into the target language in authentic situation. To achieve this, the students need to know the linguistic forms, meanings and functions of language. The learning and teaching activities that are used in the communicative language teaching require the use of communication processes like:

The classroom activities are often designed to focus on the completion of tasks. In the completion of these tasks, the teacher’s role is as a facilitator who motivates and facilitates the students to speak during the completion of these tasks. Teacher is an advisor who answers the questions of the students and monitors their performance. Teachers is the co-communicator who engage in the activities of the students but the learners are responsible and manager of their own learning (Richards and Rodgers12)

The goal of Communicative Language Teaching is the development and improvement of knowledge and skills that will help a speaker to make his/her communication successful. The main focus of CLT is effectiveness. When we consider how native speakers of English think about the use of language, then it becomes obvious to us that our main goal is effective communication and the transfer of our ides not just formal grammatical correctness and accuracy (Neil, 2000).

In CLT, language is the taught in the way as it is used in everyday life. Students are not supposed to memorize language. Grammatical accuracy is important but our main focus should be effective communication. The attitude of students towards learning a second language can be made positive by using CLT. If we focus so much on accuracy, the students would not dare to use the language in the class because they fee hesitant and afraid that they might make grammatical errors. In this way CLT encourages the students to use the both of their linguistic and communicative competences.

  1. Chapter 2. Modern trends of teaching foreign languages\




3.1 Latest and Greatest Language Teaching Techniques

At present, a high level of knowledge of a foreign language is one of the criteria by which a qualified specialist is as­sessed.

Under given conditions of economic and world politics, in our country it actively participates in the life of the world community and expands its international relations. These factors determine the increased demand for teaching foreign languages.

In the past, the most popular method of teaching a foreign language was a grammar-translation or traditional method,

in which students were mainly taught reading and translating with a dictionary of foreign texts. In the process of using this method, the formation of communication skills was not the goal of training. Thus, the communication of the majority of residents in a foreign language was extremely problematic, due to the language barrier that arose from the fact that in the process of learning a foreign language, students did not learn a foreign language, but only received theoretical infor­mation about its structure. Possession of grammatical rules and the ability to translate foreign texts are insufficient con­ditions for successful communication in a foreign language. This led to the need to revise the goals, objectives and con­tent of teaching a foreign language, as well as to change the methods of teaching and forms of control.

Currently, within the framework of changing the educa­tion system, the introduction of information and computer technologies in the educational process is being actively im­plemented.

The modern trends in the development of the world edu­cational process include the use of new educational technol­ogies in the learning process, which lead to the application of interactive learning technologies for foreign language that meet the following requirements: improving the efficiency and quality of teaching; providing motivation for independent cog­nitive activity; development of interdisciplinary connections.

The student becomes a full participant in the educational process; his experience serves as the main source of educa­tional knowledge.

The teacher, in turn, plays the role of a guide. He does not provide knowledge in the finished form, but encourages learners to independently search. Compared with traditional learning in interactive learning, the interaction between the teacher and the learner alternates alternately. Several methods of learning are distinguished in modern methods:


  1. passive, when the student acts as an «object» of learning (listens and looks);

  2. active, when the student acts as a «subject» of training (independent work, creative tasks);

  3. interactive, in which the student interacts not only with the teacher, but also with others.

A passive model of learning is the form of interaction be­tween a teacher and a student, in which the student acts as an object of learning activity, while the teacher is the main character of the activity. The students do not interact with each other. To this form of training can include a lesson, a lecture and an optional lesson.

With these forms of employment, the teacher interacts with students through interviews, control tasks and tests. From the point of view of modern pedagogical technologies and the effectiveness of students» mastery of the material, the passive learning model is ineffective. However, it may have positive characteristics, such as an easy-to-prepare training for the teacher and the ability to cover more teaching material in a time-limited environment.

An active model of learning is the form of interaction be­tween the teacher and the student, in which the learner be­comes the subject of educational activity to a greater extent, actively interacts with the teacher during the lesson. The student and the teacher have equal rights. Active methods of teaching presuppose the use of such a system of me­thodical methods of educational activity, which is directed mainly not at the teacher»s presentation of finished knowl­edge and their reproduction, but on the independent mas­tery of knowledge by students in the process of active cog­nitive activity.

There are different levels of activity, such as:



  1. the activity of reproduction, which is characterized by the desire of the trainee, remember, reproduce knowledge, master the methods of application;

  2. the activity of interpretation, which is connected with the learner»s desire to comprehend the meaning of the studied, to establish connections, to master the ways of ap­plying knowledge of the changed conditions;

  3. creative activity which presupposes the learner»s as­piration to theoretical comprehension of knowledge, an in­dependent search for solutions to problems, and an intensive manifestation of cognitive interests.

The features of active learning include:

  1. forced activation of thinking, when the learner is forced to be active regardless of his desire;

  2. a sufficiently long period of involvement of students in the learning process, as their activity should be sustainable and long-lasting;

  3. presentation of the instructor as a subject of training;

  4. independent decision-making of students;

  5. increase the degree of motivation of trainees;

  6. constant interaction of trainees and teachers.

This form of training can include a seminar session, a seminar-dispute and consultation. In these forms of educa­tion, students show independence in educational and cog­nitive activities, resulting in deeper and more systematic knowledge.

Interactive learning model Interactive («Inter» is mutual, «act» is to act) means to interact, be in a conversation mode, dialogue with someone. Unlike active methods, interactive students are oriented to a wider interaction of students not only with the teacher, but also with each other and on the dominance of students» activity in the learning process. The place of the teacher in interactive classes is reduced to the di­rection of students» activities to achieve the objectives of the lesson. The teacher also develops a lesson plan.

The factors that stimulate the activity of students includes:


  1. Cognitive and professional interest;

  2. The creative nature of conducting classes;

  3. Competitiveness;

  4. The game character of educational and cognitive ac­tivity;

  5. Emotional impact of the above factors.

Among the main methodological principles of an interac­tive approach to teaching foreign languages are the following:

——mutual communication in a foreign language with the purpose of making and producing authentic information, equally interesting for all participants, in a situation that is important for everyone;

——joint activities, characterized by the interrelationship of three objects: the producer of information, the recipient of information and the situational context;

——changing the traditional role of the teacher in the learning process, transition to a democratic style of commu­nication;

——the reflectivity of teaching, conscious and critical com­prehension of the action, its motives, quality and results, both on the part of the teacher and students.

At the same time, the effectiveness of the learning process depends on the implementation of the following principles:



  1. communicative-situational learning;

  2. interactivity;

  3. differentiated approach;

  4. accounting for individual characteristics;

  5. Variability of the operating mode.

  6. Interactive training allows you to develop the creative side of personality. The essence of interactive teaching methods is to focus on the mobilization of cognitive forces and as­pirations of trainees, to awaken an independent interest in cognition, the development of their own ways of activity, the development of the ability to concentrate on the creative pro­cess and get pleasure from it. Interactive methods refer to the subject experience of students and help them in the learning process to master their own ways of discovering social expe­rience.

English is often considered one of the most difficult languages to learn fluently, if you haven’t grown up speaking it. As a second language, mastering secondary level English can be a challenge, but helping your students gain a strong command of the language is far from impossible. Here are some of the more creative approaches that could deliver the results you need:


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