´╗┐Approaches, methods, procedures and techniques

Within the general area of methodology, people talk about approaches, methods, techniques, procedures and models, all of which go into the practice of English teaching.

Grammar-translation, Direct method and Audiolingualism
Many of the seeds which have grown into present-day methodology were sown in debates between more and less formal attitudes to language, and crucially, the place of the students' first language in the classroom. Before the nineteenth century many formal language learners were scholars who studied rules of grammar and consulted lists of foreign words in dictionaries (though, of course, countless migrants and traders picked up new languages in other ways, too). But in the nineteenth century moves were made to bring foreign-language learning into school curriculums, and so something more was needed. This gave rise to the Grammar- translation method (or rather series of methods).

Typically, Grammar-translation methods did exactly what they said. Students were given explanations of individual points of grammar, and then they were given sentences which exemplified these points. These sentences had to be translated from the target language (L2) back to the students' first language (L1) and vice versa. A number of features of the Grammar-translation method are worth commenting on. In the first place, language was treated at the level of the sentence only, with little study, certainly at the early stages, of longer texts. Secondly, there was little if any consideration of the spoken language. And thirdly, accuracy was considered to be a necessity.

The Direct method, which arrived at the end of the nineteenth century, was the product of a reform movement which was reacting to the restrictions of Grammar-translation. Translation was abandoned in favour of the teacher and the students speaking together, relating the grammatical forms they were studying to objects and pictures, etc. in order...

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