Classical Approaches To Teaching English As A Second Language

1609 words - 6 pages

During the last hundred years, English has become the most important language in the world. In the contemporary age, learning any foreign tongue has become both fashionable and necessary. But is there a perfect method which can be applied to achieve the appropriate level of English?
I have been learning English for more than 10 years, but have never realized that there are so many different techniques and approaches to teach English as a second language. While studying, I have noticed that I had experienced some of them at the primary and secondary school. In this essay I would like to present my personal opinions and reflections about the approaches I encountered, the ways they were presented and exploited by my English teachers.
First, I want to concentrate on the Grammar-Translation Method. Personally I think that many teachers use this technique while teaching a foreign language, but they do not even realize it. We may contend that it is the most common method, due to the fact that it is considered to be quite easy. I contend there is nothing more complicated than to give students a passage to translate from one language to another. Is it interesting or challenging for the students? I do not think so. I remember I did a lot of translation at school and that was not my favorite activity. Besides, it was hard for us to find any purpose in them. Apart from that, most of my classmates were simply bored. Sometimes it was too difficult and we had to spend many hours to find the meaning of a particular word in a dictionary. Without a doubt, that was not the way I wanted to learn English. Furthermore, translating a literary text was something entirely useless for me. And although we were rarely exposed to such a translation, I must admit that it was a bit discouraging and exhausting. Another thing that I could not stand was the memorization of long lists of new vocabulary items. I was able to learn a number of words by heart, but not very many. I needed more time to acquire them. The last detail I want to focus on is the application of rules. I can not recall any other way of learning grammar rules than the deductive way. As far as I remember, this technique was quite successful and most of the students did not have serious problems with understanding grammar points. Generally I think that we fancied this method because we were not accustomed to any better. Usually it was the teacher who dictated the rule that we were supposed to write down. Then we were shown some examples which presented both the meaning and the form. The next step was to do several exercises with the use of the target structure. The interaction was mainly reduced to pair or group work. In the end a translation of similar sentences was given as the homework. From time to time we were provided with a set of words and we had to find synonyms or antonyms in the reading passage. In my view, it was a very good idea. I am fond of doing any kind of exercise that allows me to...

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