Slides on the Grammar Translation Method

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Grammar-Translation Method
Liwei Zhang
Department of Language&Linguistics
Structure of this presentation
• Definition
• Background
• Principle Characteristics
• Shortcomings of Grammar-Translation Method
• Innovations
• The Reform Movement
• Summary
Grammar Translation Method
"a method of foreign or second language
teaching which makes use of translation and
grammar study as the main teaching and
learning activities."
---Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary of
Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Pearson Education Limited.
pp.231.
Background
• The Grammar Translation Method was the traditional way
Latin and Greek were taught in Europe.
• In the 19th century it began to be used to teach “modern”
languages such as French, German, and English, and it is still
used in some countries today.
• A typical lesson consists of the presentation of a grammatical
rule, a study of lists of vocabulary, and a translation exercise.
Personal understanding of this point:
grammatical rules + vocabulary end up with translation
or
A lesson= grammatical rules+vocabulary+translation
Background
• Because the Grammar Translation Method emphasizes
reading rather than the ability to communicate in a
language, there was a reaction to it in the 19th century
(see NATURAL APPROACH, DIRECT METHOD), and
there was later a greater emphasis on the teaching of
spoken language.
--- Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary of
Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Pearson Education Limited.
pp.231.
Principal Characteristics
• Grammar Translation is a way of studying a language that approaches the
language first through detailed analysis of its grammar rules, followed by
application of this knowledge to the task of translating sentences and texts into
and out of the target language...
Grammar
Rules
Target
Language
Translation
• Reading and writing are the major focus; little or no systematic attention is paid
to speaking and listening.
• Vocabulary selection is based solely on the reading texts used, and words are
taught through bilingual word lists, dictionary study, and memorization.
• The sentence is the basic unit of teaching and language practice. Much of the
lesson is devoted to translating sentences into and out of the target language,
and it is this focus on the sentence that is a distinctive feature of this method.
Principle Characteristics
• Accuracy is emphasized. Students are expected to attain high standards
in translation, because of "the high priority attached to meticulous
standards of accuracy which, as well as having an intrinsic moral value,
was a prerequisite for passing the increasing number of formal written
examinations that grew up during the century" (Howatt 1984: 132, cf.
Jack C. Richards & Theodore S. Rodgers, 1986,4).
• Grammar is taught deductively, that is, by presentation and study of
grammar rules, which are then practiced through translation exercises.
• The student's native language is the medium of instruction. It is used to
explain new items and to enable comparisons to be made between the
foreign language and the student's native language.
----Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and Methods in
Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press pp.3-4.
Shortcomings
• "a tedious experience of memorizing endless lists of unusable
grammar rules and vocabulary and attempting to produce perfect
translations of stilted or literary prose."
---Adapted from Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and
Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp.4.
• "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."(ibid.p.5)
Innovations
• Time: mid-nineteenth century
• Factors that lead to the rejection of Grammar-Translation Method:
A. Increased opportunities for communication among Europeans
created a demand for oral proficiency in foreign languages.
B. Language teaching specialists also turned their attention to the
way modern languages were being taught in secondary schools.
C. New approaches to language teaching were developed by
individual language teaching specialists.
--Adapted from Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and
Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.pp.5
The Reform Movement
link
Summary
• Grammar teaching involves any instructional technique
that draws learners' attention to some specific
grammatical form in such a way that it helps them either
to understand it metalinguistically and/or process it in
comprehension and/or production so that they can
internalize
it
(Ellis,
2006,
cf.
Shih-Chuan
Chang,2011,pp.15).
Personal understanding:
metalinguistic understanding of grammatical form
internalization and use of it in comprehension and
production
• “Translation can make the student come to closer
grips with the target language. A simultaneous
awareness of two media could actually make the
student see the points of convergence and
divergence more clearly and also refine the tools of
perception and analysis resulting in divergent
thinking."(Chellapan, 1982, cf.Shih-Chuan Chang,
2011,pp.16)
References
• Chellapan, K. (1982). Translanguage, Translation and
Second Language Acquisition. In F Eppert (Ed.), Papers on
translation: Aspects, Concepts, Implications (pp. 57-63)
Singapore: SEMEO Regional Language Center.
• Ellis, R. (2006). Current issues in the teaching of
grammar: an SLA perspective. TESOL Quarterly, 40 (1):
83-107.
• Richards, J. C., & Schmidt, R. (2002). Longman Dictionary
of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics. Pearson
Education Limited.
• Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (1986). Approaches and
Methods in Language Teaching.Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
• Shih-Chuan Chang. (2011). A Contrastive Study of
Grammar Translation Method and Communicative
Approach in Teaching English Grammar. English
Language Teaching, Vol. 4, No. 2,pp.15-16.
Further readings
• Castro, Ruben. (2010). A Pilot Study Comparing Total Physical
Response Storytelling[TM] with the Grammar-Translation
Teaching Strategy to Determine Their Effectiveness in Vocabulary
Acquisition among English as a Second Language Adult Learners.
Online
Submission,
Retrieved
from
http://ovidsp.ovid.com/ovidweb.cgi?T=JS&PAGE=reference&D=
eric3&NEWS=N&AN=ED509467
• Sadeghi, Sima & Ketabi, Saeed. (2010). Translation: Towards a
Critical-Functional Approach. Babel, 44(3), 4.
• Sapargul, Destan & Sartor, Valerie. (2010). The Trans-Cultural
Comparative Literature Method: Using Grammar Translation
Techniques Effectively. English Teaching Forum, 48(3), 26.
Thanks for you attention!

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