К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2011
Автор: Анисимова Галина Юрьевна
boundaries of countries all over the world are obliterated due to the
development of globalization effect. Foreign languages are becoming very
popular, especially the English one. A thousand years ago only about two million
people spoke English. Now it became one of the most widespread and the most
influential languages in the word. It is not surprising that a lot of attention
is paid to its teaching. A wide variety of methods are known to exist in
foreign languages teaching. They are Grammar Translation method, Direct method,
Audio-lingual method, Community method, Silent Way, Suggestopedia, Total
Physical response, and Communicative teaching.
Grammar Translation Method
Translation method was originally developed for teaching Latin. The main
teacher’s goal was to teach the students to read and understand Latin texts so
that they could translate them. One of the most surprising facts about this
method is that it still exists in the teaching practice and if one attends a
secondary school or one of the colleges he is likely to see the widespread use
of this method.
By end of the late
1800s, educators felt quite frustrated by the results they obtained using
Grammar Translation method and by limited number of techniques they could implement
during their classes. But the most awful limitation caused by Grammar
Translation method was its inability to develop communicative competence of
students. The learners could read texts written in a foreign language, could
translate them and could write, but speaking training was missing during the
The main function
that any language has is serving as a means of communication and this function
was not paid any attention. That is why the experiments with teaching methods
took place. Teachers began attempting to teach foreign languages in a way that
was more similar to first language acquisition. So the Direct method appeared
on the teaching stage.
The Direct method
included techniques that were developed to address oral communication, natural
use of foreign language and ability to think in the target language. This
method got its name due to the fact that its followers were striving for
associating new words and grammar structures directly with their meaning
omitting native language translation.
The method became
very popular during the first quarter of the 20th century, especially in
private language schools in Europe where highly motivated students could study
new languages and not need to travel far in order to try them out and apply
The main teachers’
goals were to teach to think in a foreign language and to teach to communicate
using foreign language spontaneously. In order to help to link words and
structures with their direct meaning teachers used pictures, miming, and
instruction was conducted only with the use of target language. Only everyday
vocabulary and sentences were taught. Oral communication skills were built up
on question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students. Both speech and
listening comprehension were taught. Correct pronunciation and grammar were
The Direct Method
is a highly effective method, but it requires small class sizes, motivated
learners and talented teachers in order to obtain good results.
But nowadays not
only good communication skills are required but good knowledge of grammar and writing
skills as well, and etc.
Direct method is still used by English speaking volunteers who teach foreign
language abroad. Due to the absence of any knowledge in the sphere of language
of the country they come to they have to communicate and explain the material
in the way they can do it, i.e. using only foreign language, pictures, realia,
gestures, and creativity during their lessons.
The Direct method
became an important step in the development line of foreign languages methods.
This method was progressive. It was completely different from Grammar
Translation one and it symbolizes a turning point to the right educational
The next step in
the development of foreign language teaching was creating Audio-lingual method.
It coincided with the World War II, when America became aware that it needed
people to learn foreign languages very quickly. The "Army Method" was
suddenly developed to build communicative competence in translators through
very intensive language courses focusing on aural/oral skills. This in combination
with some new ideas about language learning became what is known as the
Again the main
goal of this method was to develop communicative competence in foreign language
learners. But it was taught through drilling dialogues and speech patterns
drilling and continuous repetition. The idea was to get the learners react
automatically using learned patterns.
As for new
material presentation it was always presented in a form of dialogues. Grammar
structure was also taught based on the presented dialogues and memorized speech
patterns. But what interesting about grammar presentation is that no
explanation was provided. The students had to understand the meaning and the
A lot of attention
was paid to pronunciation. Vocabulary was strictly limited and learned in
could be used but it was very limited and teachers used it if they saw that
there was not way out and students were really mistaken in understanding some
Just as with the
Direct method, the Audio-lingual method represents a major step in language
teaching methodology that was still aimed at communicative competence.
Community Language Learning
In the early
seventies, Charles Curran developed a new education model he called “Counseling-Learning”.
The learners were viewed as “clients” and teacher served as a “councilor”. The
teacher considered learners’ group as the whole organism, as one learner.
The students sat
around a table and their task was to create dialogues, to maintain
communication on a certain topic. They told their teacher a phrase they wanted
to be said to other students, teacher translated it for them. After that
students pronounced these phrases or sentences and teacher tape recorded them.
By the way, usage of a tape recorder is the main feature of this method. This
technique “student says-teacher translates” is used over a considerable period
of time, until the students are able to apply words in the new language without
The method has
some limitations. First of all, students shall have a high level of motivation,
they shall want to know foreign language and to communicate using it. The second
limitation is that the teacher must be fluent in both the target language and
the students’ native language. This method is impossible to be used for large
group of students, only for six or eight people.
Though the method
has a number of limitations it still can be used in combination with other
methods and techniques.
The name of the
method says a lot about it. A teacher applying this method is limited in
speaking. He shall stay silent as much time during the lesson as it is
The techniques and
materials used in this method include the following:
- Word chart;
- Fidel chart;
- Peer correction;
- Cuisenaire rods;
(small rods of varying color and length) are typically used in this method to
introduce vocabulary and syntax, along with colorful wall charts.
This method is
quite unusual and it faced a lot of criticism at the time of its development.
The method encourages the teacher to assume a distance that prevents him/her
from providing direct guidance when at times such guidance would be helpful. Silence
of the teacher can prevent students from hearing many active models of correct
usage that they may find useful. In trying to create a less teacher-orientated
classroom, many say that the Silent Way goes too far to the opposite extreme.
In the late 70s, a
Bulgarian psychologist Lozanov introduced a new theory in teaching sphere. He
strongly believed that students have a lot of difficulties while foreign language
learning due to their psychological barriers, due to their fears of being
unable to achieve anything in this field. Lozanov thought that because of these
fears students do not use the whole their intellectual potential and the main
teacher’s task was to help the students to relax and to make their mind work as
hard as possible. The method Lozanov suggested became known as Suggestopedia -
the name reflecting the application of the power of “suggestion” to the field
One of the most
unique characteristics of the method was the use of soft Baroque music during
the learning process. This music was used as a background during foreign language
classes. Baroque music has a specific rhythm and a pattern of 60 beats per
minute, and Lozanov believed it created a level of relaxed concentration that
facilitated the learning process.
that was different was surrounding atmosphere during foreign language classes.
First of all, soft chairs were used, different pictures were fixed on the
walls. On the whole, it was difficult to call the room where such lessons were
conducted a classroom. The belief that learning process shall be facilitated in
a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere was the main one in this method.
concentrated mostly on the content of students’ utterances not paying attention
to their errors. In the classroom dialogues were studied, and the same
dialogues were re-read again at home as a kind of home assignment.
The dim lighting,
large comfortable chairs and music selections are not available to the majority
of schools, and these environmental factors are certainly close to impossible
for very large classes.
Total Physical Response
One of the primary objectives that was at the root of
TPR development is to make studying relaxing and less stressfull. Asher thought
that a natural way to accomplish this was to recreate the natural way children
learn their native language.
New vocabulary and
grammar structures are taught with the use of gestures and through actions. Teacher
speaks most of the time presenting and at the same time showing new material. Students
listen to the teacher, repeat actions and try to memorize new material. Students
do not feel pressure to speak. They can be silent as long as they want. They
will speak when they are ready to do it.
humor is injected into the lessons to make them more enjoyable for learners. Spoken
language is emphasized over written language.
Communicative Language Approach
All the methods
described were methods that influenced or gave birth to new methods.
Communicative Language Approach is believed to be the most mature method that
covers all the methods described above and uses the best techniques in order to
achieve the main aim – to get students know foreign language. It became very
popular nowadays. And it works excellent in Europe and America. As for our country, we have to cope with our stereotypes connected with the
learning process and with the prejudices about what teacher should and what
should not do in the classroom.
As it follows from
the name of this method it is directed at the communicative competence. If one
attends classes where the method is used, he will not hear complicated grammar
structures or difficult vocabulary. But it will be a mistake to think that Communicative
approach is only intended for speaking development. Attention is also devoted
to teaching reading, writing and listening skills as well.
This method is
aimed at withdrawing a fear learners experience when they face speaking.
David Nunan lists
five basic characteristics of Communicative Language Teaching:
(1) An emphasis on
learning to communicate through interaction in the target language.
introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation.
(3) The provision
of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on the language but also on
the learning process itself.
(4) An enhancement
of the learners’ own personal experiences as important contributing elements to
(5) An attempt to
link classroom language learning with language activation outside the classroom.
implement this method usually instruct with the use of target language, but
they can translate from time to time where students need or benefit from it.
competence is the desired goal. Teachers help learners in any way that
motivates them to work with the language.
First of all
students learn to speak a foreign language, then to think in it. Drilling, isolated
grammar structures and materials are not paid too much attention. They are
replaced by games, peer communication, interactive discussions, cohesive
content, and etc. As this method is striving for creating a foreign language
atmosphere around a student, a cultural aspect plays a big role in it. That is
why authentic texts and materials are used in order to get a learner involved
in a foreign community as much as possible.
Referring to adult
learners auditory, it is possible to conclude that this method will be useful
and suitable for them.
identified the following characteristics of adult learners:
• Life knowledge
This method is for
independent and self-directed students, who can participate in classes planning
and direct themselves throughout the course. Materials used in this method must
relate to students’ own lives. Changing texts and materials regularly keeps
helps to make minds more flexible and inspire confidence in coping with new
into consideration the fact that the vast majority of motivation adult people
have when they start learning foreign languages is directed at communication
development strongly supports the use of this method.
It is very
important not to be restricted to textbook, teachers shall not feel that text-book must be used
from cover to cover. Usage of visual stimuli is important to
provoke practical communicative language.
The focus is not upon
listening and speaking but upon using language to communicate and to learn.
has been done to indicate how to use this method in the classroom especially
with adult learners auditory, but some literature does exist on the subject.
is important to establish an appropriate physical and psychological atmosphere
in the classroom.
be dedicated to the belief that oral communication is important for learning.
The psychological atmosphere should be one in which students feel comfortable
for their learning.
There is a number
of techniques and materials typically used within the boundaries of this
method. They are:
- Language games;
- Picture strip
- Role play.
Many authors have
suggested creative activities for involving students in various kinds of
talking exercises. Drama, role-plying, puppetry, debate, formal reporting, and
etc. were described in their books.
The teacher’s role
in the classroom is “facilitator”, whereas the student’s role is “communicator”.
Methods of assessment
As for evaluation
that is applied by a teacher, student’s fluency plays a big role. However,
errors are thought to be natural in the learning process
and they do not play a big role while evaluation.
performance shall be assessed due to effective use of language in different
social situations. A students’ performance includes the speaker’s hearer’s
ability to accomplish tasks with language, the ability to communicate and
interpret intentions, knowledge of the functions that language can serve; the
strategies that can be used to accomplish each function.
create suitable emotional environment, encourage and support students, show
them that their efforts are evaluated. Adult learners need to feel a respect
towards them, as the students of other ages, so when assessing their
performance it is of utmost importance to take care of their feelings.
adult learners any teacher shall pay attention to a number of peculiarities of
the learning process and based on the gained information shall choose the best
method that will help to facilitate the process and will help to attain
students’ needs and achieve their goals.
It should be added
to what has already been said that use of methods in isolation seems to be
impossible. It is more efficient to choose and concentrate on one of them at
the same time implement some best techniques from the other methods.
Knowles, Malcolm. Self-Directed Learning. Chicago: Follet, 1975.
Knowles, Malcolm. The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species. Houston, TX: Gulf Publishing, 1984.
Larsen, Diane. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Oxford University Press, 2000.
Rogers, Alan. Teaching adults. Open University Press, 1986.
Canadian Social Science. Key Elements in Conducting Communicative Approach to
Language Teaching, Vol.5 No.2. April 2009.
Lee, J.F. and VanPatten, B. Making communicative language teaching happen. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2003.
К содержанию номера журнала: Вестник КАСУ №2 - 2011