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Name: Preetha Sriram

Module: 1

Section: B

Question: 8

METHODS OF LANGUAGE TEACHING THEIR MERITS AND DEMERITS

Throughout the history there has been lots of different approaches and methods in which

language has been taught. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. Changes have

been added to different methods to recognize the different kinds of learners and goals of

language study. Currently there are different types of teaching methods and all of the teaching

approaches fall into two categories:

Formal Approach: In formal approach, the main focus is on teaching the rules of

the language and the presentation of the language, which is then reinforced with

the use of examples. This approach concentrates mainly on the writing and the

reading skills and the learners have no active participation in learning.

Active Approach: In active approach, the main focus is on learning the language

and how to communicate. Examples are provided and the students discover the

rules by themselves from the examples given, and the explanation is provided

later. This approach concentrates on the listening and speaking skills and the

learners have active participation in learning.


Now a days teachers try to combine the best of both the approaches to bring out better

teaching methodologies. There are lots of different teaching methods and approaches. To begin

with let us define approach, method and technique as they are used interchangeably.

Approach: Approach is the defined as the theory of what is taught, nature of the

language and how it is taught in the classroom. It is a set of ideas or rules that

define how the language learning is done and how it is taught.

Approach is a set of principles or ideas about the nature of language

learning which would be consistent over time. (Ilyas)

Method: Method refers to the plan used for the presentation of the content in the

classroom. It is the kind of teaching aids, materials, activities that will be used in

the classroom.

Method is an overall plan for the orderly presentation of language

material, no part of which contradicts, and all of which is based upon, the

selected approach." (Ekawati)

Technique: Technique can be define as the strategy used in the classroom to

accomplish the immediate objective.

A technique is implementational that which actually takes place in a

classroom. (Ekawati)

In this essay we are going to discuss about the definition, merits and demerits of the

Direct Method, Communicative Approach and Situational Language Teaching Approach (Oral

approach).

Direct Method
With the short comings of the Grammar Translation Method, which concentrates only on

the writing and reading skills, the Direct Method became more popular and widely used

methodology.

The direct method was an answer to the dissatisfaction with the older grammar

translation method, which teaches students grammar and vocabulary through direct translations

and thus focuses on the written language. (Direct Method)

Direct Method uses one basic rule that no L1 is used or no translation is allowed. In

Direct Method, language is primarily speech. Teachers use objects present in the classroom,

actions to demonstrate and help the students understand the meaning. The native language is not

used in the classroom. Student should start learning to think in the target language and

vocabulary is acquired through practice in the target language and by associating with the

objects.

The main purpose of the Direct Method is to use target language in communication. More

concentration is provided on the pronunciation. Grammar is taught only when needed. Lessons

include conversational activity to motivate the learners to speak. The principles of the Direct

Method are seen in the following guidelines as used in the Berlitz Schools, named after Charles

Berlitz, who was one of the person to popularize the use of Direct Method as follows:

Never Translate: demonstrate


Never Explain: act
Never make a speech: ask questions
Never imitate mistakes: correct
Never speak with single words: use sentences
Never speak too much: make students speak much
Never use the book: use your lesson plan
Never jump around: follow your plan
Never go too fast: keep the pace of the student
Never speak too slowly: speak normally
Never speak too quickly: speak naturally
Never speak too loudly: speak naturally
Never be impatient: take it easy (Rodgers)

Advantages: This is one of the method that introduced using realia in teaching

vocabulary. Understanding of the target language is easier because there is very less interference

from mother tongue. It provides better fluency in speech since language is taught through

demonstration, contextualization and conversation. Students take an active role in learning,

which motivates the students to learn. This bridges the gap between theory and practice.

This method is based on sound principles of education. It believes in introducing the

particular before general, concrete before abstract and practice before theory. (Rahmi)

Disadvantages: The Direct Method requires a teacher who is more fluent in L2 or a

native L2 speaker. It also requires large number of class hours as most of the work is done only

in the classroom. All the activities are limited to the classroom context, so the students do not

comprehend the meaning of using L2 in real life. This method gives very less emphasis on the

reading and writing.

Communicative Approach:

Communicative Approach also known as the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)

Approach mainly focuses on developing the communicative competence or the ability to

communicate.

Communicative language teaching (CLT), or the communicative approach, is an

approach to language teaching that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate
goal of study. According to CLT, the goal of language education is the ability to communicate in

the target language. (Communicative Language Teaching)

In CLT Approach, language is defined in terms of communicative function as well as

grammatical function. The features of the CLT Approach can be defined as:

1. Language is a system for the expression of meaning.

2. The primary function of language is for interaction and communication.

3. The structure of language reflects its functional and communicative uses.

4. The primary units of language are not merely its grammatical and structural features,

but categories of functional and communicative meaning as exemplified in discourse. (Rodgers)

In this approach we develop the learners ability to use the target language in real life

situations like introductions, agreeing, disagreeing, apologizing, etc. Grammar is only taught to

help the learners in the process of better comprehension.

Communicative competence implies knowledge of the grammatical system of the

language as well as performance. Such competence includes both the usage and use of the

language. Therefore, the approach does not deny the importance of mastering grammatical

forms, so long as they are taught as a means of carrying out meaningful communication. That is,

grammar is taught as a language tool rather than a language aim. (Teaching English as a

Foreign Language)

Language is selected based on relevance and learner needs. The student is an active

participant and the teacher becomes a facilitator.


Advantages: Teacher becomes a facilitator and hence promotes interaction between the

students. This helps the students to express themselves and removes any inhibitions of those who

feel intimidated by formal classroom activities. More student participation, makes the student

feel confident and motivates them to learn. It increases the oral and listening skills of the learner.

Disadvantages: CLT Approach best works on classes of smaller size. Larger classes can

be more challenging. More student interaction means noisier classroom. This is not the best

approach to use when the learner is not exposed to L2 outside of the classroom. CLT Approach

concentrates on the speaking and listening skills and tends to overlook the other skills (reading,

writing and grammar use).

Situational Language Teaching Approach:

Situational Language Teaching Approach (SLT) also called as Oral Approach was

founded in Britain by applied linguists such as Harold Palmer and A.S. Hornsby and used during

the 1940s and to 1960s. The SLT relied on the structural view of the language. ST focuses on

the vocabulary and reading. In this approach, it is believed that mastery of a set of high

frequency words leads to good reading skills. It follows a behavioristic approach (habit

formation). The following processes are noted in this approach:

1. The act of receiving knowledge or material

2. Repetition to fix that knowledge or material in memory.

3. The use of the knowledge or material in actual practice until it becomes a personal skill.

(RHALMI)
Language is presented orally at first and then in written form. SLT focuses on all the

four basic skills. SLT concentrates on accurate pronunciation and use of grammar. It follows

a structural syllabus with increasing levels of complexity. Teaching involves language drills

to practice new patterns. A typical lesson in SLT can be defined as:

According to Situational Language Teaching, a lesson starts with stress and

intonation practice followed by a revision and a presentation of new material (mainly

structures or vocabulary). The teacher then proceeds to oral practice and drilling of the

elements presented. Finally, the lesson ends with reading activity or written exercises.

(RHALMI)

In SLT teacher occupies a more central role in teaching. The pupils are to imitate

what the teacher does to listen and repeat during the language drills. Active verbal interaction

between the teacher and student is of vital importance.

Advantages: Though it has been replaced with many different new methods and

approaches, some teachers still find it useful due to its structural practice of language. This

method is the most suited when we are introducing them to the language. Provides good

command over vocabulary and pronunciation because of the language drills. When provided

with a good curriculum, this method makes teaching more effective rather than a burdensome

process.

Disadvantages: SLT does not allow any mistakes in pronunciation or use in

grammar, since they give to bad language habits. The SLT approach, though follows some of

the Direct Method principles, it is mostly based on behaviorism rather than a natural

approach. Since the approach follows a structured curriculum, the learner has no control over
the content. And since teacher does most of the talking and the student take on a passive role,

the lessons can get boring. (The Oral Approach or The Situational Language Teaching)

Conclusion

The above mentioned approaches/methods are just a few out of many methods and

approaches present. Each approach has its own strengths and weakness. So teachers try to

overcome some of these weakness by using a feature from a different approach to suit their

needs. Since there is frequent changes in the methodologies, most of the teachers try to

combine the best element from different methodologies, and try to bring a best outcome for

both themselves and the students.


Bibliography
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