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Language Teaching Methods and the evolution of Linguistic Theory.

Language Teaching Methods and the evolution of Linguistic Theory.

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Published by Hassan Basarally
A critical analysis of the link between the evolution of Language Teaching Methods (Grammar Translation, Direct Method, and Audio-lingual Habit Formation) and the evolution of Linguistic Theory. The Grammar Translation Method was used to outline the stages to develop an appropriate syllabus for teaching English to a group of Creole students.
A critical analysis of the link between the evolution of Language Teaching Methods (Grammar Translation, Direct Method, and Audio-lingual Habit Formation) and the evolution of Linguistic Theory. The Grammar Translation Method was used to outline the stages to develop an appropriate syllabus for teaching English to a group of Creole students.

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Published by: Hassan Basarally on Mar 08, 2010
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03/15/2013

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Hassan
 
Basarally
 
806007430
 
LING
 
6103
 
0
 
Name:
Hassan Basarally
ID:
806007430
Course:
LING 6103-Principles and Methods of English Language Teaching
Assignment:
Write a critical analysis of the link between the evolution of LanguageTeaching Methods (Grammar Translation, Direct Method, and Audio-lingual HabitFormation) and the evolution of Linguistic Theory. Use any one method to outline thestages you would go through to develop an appropriate syllabus for teaching English tothe group you have identified.
Lecturer:
Prof. I. Robertson
Semester:
1
Academic Year:
2009/2010
Faculty:
Humanities and Education
Department:
Liberal Arts
University:
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
 
Hassan
 
Basarally
 
806007430
 
LING
 
6103
 
1
 
Language learning always existed in human history and can be traced to the Greek andRoman Eras. With the advent of formal schooling, a pedagogical approach was applied,although initially with little linguistic knowledge. In the latter half of the twentieth century, thischanged with the field of linguistics becoming an integral academic base for language learningtheories. As with all academic fields, advances in linguistic knowledge resulted in changes inlanguage teaching methods. These methods had ideological bases as well, that in some casescomplemented the relevant linguistic theory. The result of this is that a teaching course orsyllabus will reflect the relevant linguistic and pedagogical standpoints. In addition, a particulartheory is utilised as the best possible way to teach the language to the particular studentpopulation.Stern divided language learning history into two periods: 1940-1960 and 1965-1970(131). The Grammar Translation and Direct Method were of the first period and Audio-lingualHabit Formation to the latter. In the early stages of language learning theory, the focus was onlanguage learning as an intellectual exercise, the study of classical literature in the targetlanguage and the study of grammatical rules and translation exercises. This was called theGrammar Translation method. Early use of this was in 1840 by Ollendorff (Stern, 454). Itinvolved the teaching of a grammatical rule followed by its application to a translation exercise.Grammar was considered part of the mental disciple required for language. The focus ongrammar showed that language was viewed as a rule governed system. As such, focus was put onelaborate grammatical explanations, grammatical terms, rule exceptions and rule memorisation.Translation formulae and vocabulary lists were used. The focus was on reading and writing asopposed to listening and speaking. The target was explained in comparison to the nativelanguage of the learners. Though it was an early theory it possessed some advanced linguistic
 
Hassan
 
Basarally
 
806007430
 
LING
 
6103
 
2
 
principles. Amongst them was the comparison of the target and native language. Cross lingualtechniques and the use of the native language as a reference resulted in students understandingthe grammatical system of the target (Stern, 455). However, the students were never truly freefrom the native language hampering expression.Linguistic theory came into conflict with the Grammar Translation as language isprimarily speech not writing. The method’s focus on translation resulted on accuracy, butaccuracy did not result in creativity. As language is creative, according to Hockett, students werenot able to create novel sentences and risk taking. One of the twelve principles proposed byDouglas Brown in language learning is risk –taking (13). Students must attempt to producelanguage with the knowledge that errors are inevitable. This belief is undermined when thefixation is on correct grammatical forms. Another principle is meaningful learning (12). Thisrequires the content to have some relevance in usage by the learner. This relevance was notattained with the Grammar Translation method’s use of translation exercises that lacked culturalawareness of the target and usability in everyday situations. Another divergence with linguistictheory that the Grammar Translation method, and later the Audio-lingual Habit Formationmethod, had was that repetition does not necessitate learning. The focus on translations,vocabulary lists and drills meant that students could recall isolated aspects of the languagereadily and not produce lengthy coherent structures. The students’ “apparently high level of accuracy, based on the use of memorised chunks, suddenly drops and then rises again as theycome to create novel sentences” (Lightbrown, 444). The focus on isolated aspects of the targetmeant that corrections were given without consideration for changing language behaviour.The primacy of speech in language is a key principle of the Direct method. Translationwas replaced with direction association with the word or object. One of the earliest calls for the

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