Language teaching has its own history as it has been going through different methods according to the kind of proficiency learners need. During these days this world is a place of multilingual people. The prestige of the standard language has been changed in different times. English is considered as worldâ€™s mostly popular foreign language but 500 years ago Latin was the dominant language as it had been used for trade, education, religion and government purposes. During sixteenth century French, Italian and English gained the prestige where as Latin gradually disappeared as a spoken or written form of communication. In the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century Latin was used for school children to get introduced with grammar. Grammar was taught through rote learning of rules, translating sample sentences and sometimes bilingual dialogue practices. In the eighteenth century modern languages entered in school curriculum but these were also taught in the same way as Latin was taught. By the nineteenth century this method based on teaching Latin became the standard way of teaching foreign language. Only some morphological and syntactical rules were taught. Oral work was minimum, handful of written exercise were there. This approach came to be known as Grammar Translation Method.
Grammar Translation Method:
According to this method learning foreign language is to know everything about something rather than the thing itself. GT method was first introduced in the United States as the Prussian Method. Principal characteristics of GT method are:
Goal of foreign language study is to learn a language for reading its literature and for intellectual development. In GT method language is learnt through detailed analysis of grammatical rules followed by translating sentences and texts into and out of the target language. First language is used a reference in learning and teaching foreign language.
Reading and writing are the major focus where as speaking and listening have no attention.
Vocabulary selection is based on the reading texts used, dictionary study and memorization.
Sentence is the basic structure of teaching and learning practice.
Accuracy is emphasized.
Grammar is taught deductively.
Studentsâ€™ native language is the medium of instruction.
Though GT method dominated the European and foreign language teaching from 1840s to the 1940s, it is still used in teaching and learning all over the world in different modified forms.
The Reform Movement
The Reform Movement introduced the foundations for the development of new ways of teaching and learning language. The principal reformists are Henry Sweet in England; Wilhelm Vietor in Germany, and Paul Passy in France.
The reformists advocated:
The study of the spoken language.
Phonetic training in order to establish good pronunciation habit.ted with
The use of conversation texts and dialogues to introduce conversational phrases and idioms.
An inductive grammar teaching
Teaching should be associated with the target language, not the native language.
The Reform Movement grew the interest in developing naturalistic principles of language learning. This led to the use of natural methods and ultimately developed as Direct Method.
The Methods Era
The word â€˜methodâ€™ got a new notion. Different teaching approaches and methods emerged having different characteristics in terms of goals. To change and improve the teaching methodology assumption were made about how foreign language is learned and on preferred teaching techniques. The most active period in the history of approaches and methods was from the 1950s to the 1980s. The 1950s and 1960s was the emergence of the Audiolingual Method and the Situational Method, which were followed by the Communicative Approach.