Friday, April 22, 2011

Language-Centered Methods

         Looking back at more than 150 years of development in teaching practice, there have been a some methods which have heavily influenced current TEFL practices. Early in the twentieth century language study was deeply ingrained in analysis of grammar language.
         A linguists like Jespersen postulated that study of language should be communicative, or incontext. Several contextual language study methods have since emerged as being intrumental in current TEFL Practices. The following is description of a number of language –centered methods.

A. Grammar Translation Method. (GTM)

          Grammar Translation Method was the most popular teaching method for over 100 years and it continues to be used even today despite many years of criticism. The focus of this approach is based on reading, writing and grammar rules rather than spoken or communicative skills.
The characteristics of GTM:

  1. Classes are taught in mother with little active use of the target language.
  2. Vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of words
  3. Long explanation grammar are given.
  4. Use exercises in grammatical analysis.
  5. Little or no attention is given to pronunciation.
          This method emphasized mastery of knowledge about language and did not aim at mastering productive skills (speaking and writing).
An example of GTM class:
The teacher teaches many english part of speech, definition of each (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, prepotition, etc).
Classification of nouns (singular-plurar, countable-uncountable) the rules for changing singular into plural nouns.
For vocabulary, the students will be given lists of words and they are asked to translate and memorize them.
For reading, they are asked the subject or predicate in sentence, and asked to change the tenses, ex : from present into past tense.

B. Direct Methods (DM)

          The basis of this method was developed in Europe by Francois Gouin in the 1880s. He states that it was best to learn language by listening to it and speaking it just as children do, in stead of learning a set of grammar rules and vocabulary lists. The goal of this method is to teach students how to converse in everyday.
The characteristics of DM:

  1. Lessons begin with a brief anecdote or dialog.
  2. The material is presented orally with actions, and pictures.
  3. There is no translation.
  4. The type of exercise in a series of question in the target language based on the dialog and answered in the target language.
  5. Grammar is taught inductively.
  6. Students read literature for comprehension and pleasure not analyzed grammatically.
  7. Correct pronunciation is emphasized, but correct structure is not.
In Indonesia, this method was adopted in the beginning of 1960s.

An example of DM class:
The teacher gives a short dialog orally.
A: Where are you going?
B: I am going to school
A: What do you want?
B: I want to study English.
Then the dialog is repeated to the students, after that they are asked to memorize and practice the dialog in front of class.

C. Reading Method (RM)

          This method is selected for practical reasons. Because people who do not travel abroad, reading is the one usable skill.
The characteristics of RM:

  1. The material is emphasized on reading ability
  2. The grammar necessary for reading is taught.
  3. Little attention for pronunciation.
  4. Vocabulary is assumed more important than grammatical skills.
This method was criticized because it looked like returning to the GTM.

D. Audiolingual Method (ALM)

          The method appeared in 1950s to 1970s, but it was critisized because some of the characteristics are taken from Direct Method.
The characteristics of ALM:

  1. Material is given in dialog form
  2. There is dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases.
  3. Sructures are taught one at a time.
  4. Structural patterns are taught using repeatation drills.
  5. Little or no grammatical explanation.
  6. The pattern: listen- speak- read- write.
  7. Use of tapes, language labs, and visual aids.
  8. Pronunciation and intonation are consider important.

An example of ALM:
The teacher gives some real objects:
- It is a book. - It is a pencil. - etc.
Then the students are asked to repeat the phrase. After that the teacher gives them the negative form, and introgative form. Then they are asked to repeat as before.
This type using pattern cycle.

E. Cognitive Method (CM)

          Cognitive Method is a reaction to behaviorist features of Audiolingual Method.
The characteristics of CM:

  1. There is emphasis on communicative competence.
  2. Language acquistion is seen as rule formation, deductive explanatin of grammar is preferred.
  3. Pronunciation is de-emphasized.
  4. There is renewed interest in vocabulary.
  5. Teacher is as fasilitator rather than a figure of absolute authority.
  6. The importance of comprehension, especially listening comprehension.
  7. The written language skills (reading and writing) and the spoken language skills (listening and speaking) are equal importance.
  8. Bilingual- bicultural proficiency is seen as an ideal goal.
F. Eclectic Method (EM)

          The Eclectic Method is similar with the Cognitive Method. They are some general principles or attitudes, some conclusions that are drawn from current research and thinking in the field.
The characteristics of EM:

  1. Language learning must be meaningful, real.
  2. Translation is specialized language skills and is inappropriate for beginning learner and teacher of language.
  3. Language learning should be done in the target language.
  4. Mimicry, memorization, and pattern practice do not teach language.
  5. Reading aloud.
  6. Use of a large and varied vocabulary.
  7. Reading and writing are taught as soon as the student is ready.
  8. Most student errors are not caused by language interference but mostly in pronunciation area.
          In summary language learning will not occur unless the student is able, wants to, makes a personal commitment to learn. In whatever way you measure will be the student choise and decision that determines his language learning process.


Fachrurrazy, M.A., Ph.D. 2010. Teaching English as a Foreign Language for Teachers in Indonesia. Malang: The State University of Malang. accessed on 8th of March. 2011 accessed on 8th of March. 2011 Accessed on 8th of March. 2011 accessed on 8th of March. 2011

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