Grammar translation method plan: Grammar–translation method. The Grammar Translation Method theory

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1. Grammar–translation method.
2. The Grammar Translation Method theory.
3. Grammar Translation Method | Characteristics, Objectives And Techniques.

The grammar translation method is a method of teaching foreign languages derived from the classical method of teaching Greek and Latin. In grammar-translation classes, students learn grammatical rules and then apply those rules by translating sentences between the target language and the native language. Advanced students may be required to translate whole texts word-for-word. The method has two main goals: to enable students to read and translate literature written in the target language, and to further students’ general intellectual development.

Classes are taught in the mother tongue
Much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words.
Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.
Reading of difficult texts is begun early.
Long, elaborate explanations of the intrincacies of grammar are given.
Why would I use this method?
GTM focuses on the application of grammar and correct sentence structure. This is especially helpful in teaching students how to write and read in another language, allowing them to explore interchangeable words and phrases (i.e., different words for different tenses) more effectively than a verbal teaching method.
Tests of grammar rules and of translations are easy to construct.
Class activities or learning games are rarely necessary, as students are translating text to another language directly. Teachers who are not fluent in English (but fluent in the other language that the students primarily use) can teach English using this approach, as the emphasis is not on the spoken word but on translations.
Students learn a lot of vocabulary.
Reading and writing skills are excelled.
It activates students´ memory.
Poor listening and speaking.
Unnatural and Inaccurate Pronunciation
GTM is not interactive and engaging for students.
It gives the chance of learning a new language using textbooks.
Students can learn vocabulary not only in the target language but also in their mother tongue.
It will be more interactive
More STT
Students might not be accustomed to translate word by word.
The grammar–translation method is a method of teaching foreign languages derived from the classical (sometimes called traditional) method of teaching Ancient Greek and Latin. In grammar–translation classes, students learn grammatical rules and then apply those rules by translating sentences between the target language and the native language. Advanced students may be required to translate whole texts word-for-word. The method has two main goals: to enable students to read and translate literature written in the source language, and to further students' general intellectual development. It originated from the practice of teaching Latin; in the early 16th century, students learned Latin for communication, but after the language died out it was studied purely as an academic discipline. When teachers started teaching other foreign languages in the 19th century, they used the same translation-based approach as had been used for teaching Latin. The method has been criticized for its shortcomings.
The overall concept of grammar-translation has been criticized since few verifiable sources support the existence of such a method until the 19th century.
The grammar–translation method originated from the practice of teaching Latin.[citation needed] In the early 16th century, Latin was the most widely studied foreign language because of its prominence in government, academia and business. However, the use of Latin then dwindled and was gradually replaced by English, French and Italian. After the decline of Latin, the purpose of learning it in schools changed. Previously, students had learned Latin for the purpose of communication, but it came to be learned as a purely academic subject.
Throughout Europe in the 18th and the 19th centuries, the education system was formed primarily around a concept called faculty psychology. The theory dictated that the body and mind were separate and the mind consisted of three parts: the will, emotion and intellect. It was believed that the intellect could eventually be sharpened enough to control the will and emotions by learning Greek and Roman classical literature and mathematics. Additionally, an adult with such an education was considered mentally prepared for the world and its challenges.
At first, it was believed[by whom?] that teaching modern languages was not useful for the development of mental discipline and so they were left out of the curriculum.[citation needed] When modern languages began to appear in school curricula in the 19th century, teachers taught them with the same grammar–translation method as was used for Classical Latin and Ancient Greek in the 18th century.[4] Textbooks were therefore essentially copied for the modern language classroom. In the United States, the basic foundations of the method were used in most high school and college foreign language classrooms.
There are two main goals to grammar–translation classes. One is to develop students' reading ability to a level where they can read literature in the target language. The other is to develop students' general mental discipline.
Users of foreign language want to note things of their interest in the literature of foreign languages. Therefore, this method focuses on reading and writing and has developed techniques which facilitate more or less the learning of reading and writing only. As a result, speaking and listening are overlooked.
Grammar–translation classes are usually conducted in the students' native language. Grammatical rules are learned deductively; students learn grammar rules by rote,[7] and then practice the rules by doing grammar drills and translating sentences to and from the target language. More attention is paid to the form of the sentences being translated than to their content. When students reach more advanced levels of achievement, they may translate entire texts from the target language. Tests often involve translating classical texts.
There is usually no listening or speaking practice, and very little attention is placed on pronunciation or any communicative aspects of the language. The skill exercised is reading and then only in the context of translation.
The mainstay of classroom materials for the grammar–translation method is textbooks, which, in the 19th century, attempted to codify the grammar of the target language into discrete rules that students were to learn and memorize. A chapter in typical grammar–translation textbooks would begin with a bilingual vocabulary list and then grammatical rules for students to study and sentences for them to translate. Some typical sentences from 19th-century textbooks are as follows:
The philosopher pulled the lower jaw of the hen.
My sons have bought the mirrors of the Duke.
The cat of my aunt is more treacherous than the dog of your uncle.
The method by definition has a very limited scope. Because speaking and any kind of spontaneous creative output were excluded from the curriculum, students would often fail at speaking or even letter-writing in the target language. A noteworthy quote describing the effect of the method comes from Bahlsen, a student of Plötz, a major proponent of this method[citation needed] in the 19th century. In commenting about writing letters or speaking he said he would be overcome with "a veritable forest of paragraphs, and an impenetrable thicket of grammatical rules".
According to Richards and Rodgers, the grammar–translation has been rejected as a legitimate language teaching method by modern scholars:
[T]hough it may be true to say that the Grammar-Translation Method is still widely practiced, it has no advocates. It is a method for which there is no theory. There is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it or that attempts to relate it to issues in linguistics, psychology, or educational theory.
The grammar–translation method was the standard way languages were taught in schools from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Despite attempts at reform from Roger Ascham, Montaigne, Comenius and John Locke, no other methods then gained any significant popularity.
Later, theorists such as Viëtor, Passy, Berlitz, and Jespersen began to talk about what a new kind of foreign language instruction needed, shedding light on what the grammar–translation was missing. They supported teaching the language, not about the language, and teaching in the target language, emphasizing speech as well as text. Through grammar–translation, students lacked an active role in the classroom, often correcting their own work and strictly following the textbook.
Despite all of these drawbacks, the grammar–translation method is still the most used method all over the world in language teaching[citation needed]. That is unsurprising since most language proficiency books and tests are in the format of grammar–translation method.
The Grammar Translation Method is an old method that was originally used to teach dead languages which explains why it focuses mainly on the written form at the expense of the oral form. It was designed according to the faculty psychology approach which was very popular during the 18th and 19th centuries. It contended that ” mental discipline was essential for strengthening the powers of the mind”. The way to do this was through learning classical literature of the Greeks and Romans.

Traditionally, studying a language was grounded on the principles of Greek and Latin grammar. During the renaissance era, Greek and Roman literature were held in high regard and Latin was taught as a language mainly for reading and writing. Mastering Latin grammar rules became an educational goal. The invention of printing machines and the development of local languages around Europe increased the need for second or foreign language learning. Grammar was central in language teaching and language teachers adopted the Grammar Translation Method which was based on traditional Latin teaching. The underlying principle of the method was that the target grammar should be described in the student’s native language. Grammar was viewed as a set of rules that govern how sentences should be formed.

The Grammar Translation Method theory

The GTM is based on an idealist philosophy which holds that ideas are absolute and unchanging. According to this doctrine, ideas make up fundamental reality and are even seen as being the only true reality. In other words, the only real things are mental entities, not physical ones. Likewise, truth and values are universal and unchanging. This universal view of learning is the reason why the method insists on translating text that reflects perennial truths. Latin and Greek were held in high esteem and those who could read the Greek and Latin texts were respected and given high social status.

In addition, the method views language learning as consisting of memorizing a set of grammar rules and trying to understand and manipulate the morphology and syntax of the target language. Another feature of the method is that the mother tongue is maintained as the reference system in the acquisition of the second language. It is the vehicle of language teaching.

How is the Grammar Translation Method implemented in the classroom?

Using of mother tongue to teach the target language.
Grammar is taught deductively.
Memorizing vocabulary items that are taught in the form of word lists.
Memorizing grammar rules.
Elaborate explicit teaching of grammar.
Focusing on morphology and syntax.
Focusing on reading and writing.
Reading of difficult texts early in the course.
The practice focuses on exercises in which students translate sentences or texts from their mother tongue to the target language and vice versa.
It is surprising to see that the Grammar Translation Method is still in use in some classrooms. Maybe, it’s because it has some advantages.

Grammar Translation Method activities

The method may be still implemented in today’s classrooms. Depending on whether your school tolerates the use of L1 (i.e., the student’s first language), you may adapt the method accordingly. Assuming that you are a bilingual teacher, here are some activities that you might try:

Ask your students to memorize a rule and apply it to their own sentences.

Invite students to memorize a short list of words each day in English and give their native language equivalent.
Ask your students to pick five vocabulary words they like from a text and then translate them into their mother tongue.
Ask the students to translate different language functions (e.g., inviting, making requests; offering help, asking for clarification, etc.) from their mother tongue to English.
Ask students to identify a certain part of speech (e.g., verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc) from a text. Invite them to translate these words and then use a dictionary to find synonyms and antonyms.
Assign different parts of a text to different groups of students to translate. When they finish, regroup them to produce the final version of the whole text making the necessary changes.
Ask students to translate their favorite quotes, jokes, idioms, or poem from their mother tongue to English or vice-versa.
Ask students to use google translate or any other translation application to translate texts and see to what extent the translation was good, making the necessary changes to improve it.
Ask your students to create a blog with different categories (e.g. poems, quotes, idioms, etc.) to publish their translations.
The Grammar Translation Method advantages and disadvantages
Translation is the easiest and shortest way of explaining the meaning of words and phrases.
Learners have no difficulties understanding the lesson as it is carried out in the mother tongue.
It is a labor-saving method as the teacher carries out everything in the mother tongue.
Language learning does not consist of only memorizing a set of rules and manipulating the syntax and morphology of the target language.
The translation of sentences or texts can be sometimes misleading.
What the method is good at is “teaching about the language”, not “teaching the language”.
The method focuses on grammar at the level of each sentence, that is, the well-formedness of sentences according to prescriptive grammarians. Actual data suggest that sentence-level grammar does not account for many instances of real communication.
Speaking or any kind of spontaneous creative output was missing from the curriculum.
Students lacked an active role in the classroom.
The main focus is on reading and writing at the expense of the speaking and listening skills.
Very little attention is paid to real communication.
Very little attention is paid to motivating content.
Some sentences can be perfectly grammatical, but they may convey no meaning at all. Chomsky’s (1957) example – ‘colorless green ideas sleep furiously’ – exemplifies this perfectly well. Although this sentence is grammatical, it is nonsensical.
Grammar is not absolute and fixed. Grammar rules may change not only diachronically through historical linguistic evolution but also synchronically, through dialectal variations
Because of all these disadvantages, teachers tried to find better ways to remedy the pitfalls of the Grammar Translation Method. The Direct Method was the answer.
The Grammar Translation Method is a foreign language teaching method that originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This method is usually taught in the classical or dead language, for example, Latin and Greek.
The primary purpose of this method is to enrich their literature and language reading proficiency. And for this reason, this method is also called the Classical Method. However, in the 19th century, this Classical method was recognized as the Grammar Translation Method.
Let us know the significant characteristics of the Grammar Translation Method:

Characteristics Grammar Translation Method
The main purpose of the Grammar Translation Method is to learn a language in order to read its literature to benefit from mental discipline and intellectual improvement.
As far as skills are concerned reading and writing skills are more focused than listening and speaking.
GTM takes vocabulary from reading texts the teachers teach through translation, memorisation and dictionary study.
It chooses the sentences as the basic part of teaching and language practice as well.
It focuses on the accuracy of grammar and translation.
In GTM, teachers teach the grammar rules then gives examples.
Teachers teach in the mother tongue with little active use of the targeted language.
Teachers and learners maintain traditional roles of knowledge transmitter and knowledge receiver.
As we mentioned before, the main objectives of the Grammar Translation Method are to enrich the Latin and Greek literature to benefit from the mental discipline and intellectual abilities that result from the foreign language study.
Let us see the main objectives of the Grammar Translation Method in the below sentences:
Techniques Of GTM
Larsen-Freeman (2000) discusses the following techniques of the Grammar Translation Method:

In GTM students translate literary extracts from the target language into their mother tongue.

The students read comprehensive texts and try to find information, make inferences and relate to personal experiences.
They find synonyms and antonyms for words that occur in the text.
The learners identify cognate by learning spelling and sound patterns between mother language and targeted language.
They try to understand the grammar structure first and later apply them to examples.
In GTM students memorize bilingual vocabularies, grammar rules and grammatical paradigms.
Learners usually used to memorize vocabulary to apply them in sentences.
They write paragraphs, essays or summaries on a particular topic using targeted language.
Let us know the significant advantages of GTM:

The teachers need a few specialized skills on particular topics.

Students get the opportunity to achieve maximum accuracy on targeted language.
The learners have to read the classic literature which develops their mental and intellectual ability.
Literature also helps to enrich multiple potentials of the learners.
The leaners have to memorize a lot of vocabularies which help them to make different kinds of sentences.
GTM also helps students to improve the reading and writing proficiency of the targeted language.
Let us know the considerable disadvantages of GTM:

The students get less opportunity to engage in several segments, unlike Communicative Language Teaching.

Grammar Translation Method mainly a teacher-centred method that’s why learners get less opportunity to interact with the teachers.
The students are not offered to produce their own sentences in the classroom.
They get less opportunity to develop their speaking and listening skills.
Oral interaction is avoided in GTM.
In GTM accuracy is more emphasized then fluency.
The leaners can develop their reading and writing skills but fail to communicate with the real world.
Although the Grammar Translation Method has some limitations, the learners get a lot of benefits to develop their skills in their targeted language.

The instructors also get the opportunity to teach many students in the classroom, and they don’t need to give more effort to take the class. Further, it helps the students to develop their mental and intellectual abilities.

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