Many methods have been developed to teach the English language. The natural method, for example, was developed in imitation of the way children learn their first words. Other methods, such as the total physical response method and the audiolingual method, teach the English language with a focus on specific learning styles.
Grammar Translation Method
The grammar translation method is also called the classical method. This method focuses on memorizing the grammatical rules of the English language. English grammar lessons are taught not in English but in a language the students know. This helps the students learn English by teaching them the logic of its grammar in a language they already understand.
This method relies heavily on dialog in the English language. Sentences are learned based on context and repeated until they become second nature. Repetition is often used with little explanation of grammatical rules. Those who use the audiolingual method reason that explaining grammatical rules would prevent the forming of new language habits. Students are discouraged from using the language they know and are told to focus on drills in the new language.
Children initially learn language naturally, and how they do so forms the basis of the natural method. This method mimics the steps that all children go through to learn any language. First, students listen and observe English speakers. Second, students attempt to voice individual words. Third, students turn their individual words into sentences. Practice is important to fully grasp the new language.
The direct method combines grammatical teaching with the natural method of learning a new language. The teacher uses only the English language, and conducts intensive question-and-answer sessions to teach students their new language. Students are expected to learn more and more of the new language through these question-and-answer sessions, which build on each other. The teacher demonstrates before expecting the students to perform.
Total Physical Response Method
The total physical response method consists of two phases. In the first phase, the teacher will say, for example, "Stand" in English and then stand. Students are to copy that action when they hear the word. Students are not expected to talk during the first phase, as they are actively listening and following through on the words. The second phase comes when students are comfortable with the new language and begin to use it of their own accord. Students are able to comprehend the spoken word as well as recall English words they can use to form sentences.
Correct pronunciation of each part of a word is stressed in the phonetic method. Teachers start by reading a passage written in English. As unfamiliar words are reached, the teacher explains the word by sounding it out phonetically with the child. Afterward, students must paraphrase and answer questions on the passage. Grammatical rules are avoided in this method as well.
Communicative Language Method
This method stresses the importance of understanding the meaning of words and sentences. Understanding involves the ability to say something in a socially acceptable manner. Experiences with native speakers are encouraged. Practice various contexts so students know what is acceptable in each.
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