The Evolution of Traditional English Language Learning

The Evolution of Traditional English Language Learning

Learning English and its methods have gone through a whole lot of changes, especially throughout the twentieth century. Compared to learning Sciences and Maths – the method of learning these subjects has almost remained the same – unlike English lessons, which has achieved different milestones in attempt to come up with the best method to make language learning and teaching more effective.

The Grammar Translation Method

Formerly known as the Classical Method, this idea was widely used in foreign language learning back in the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries. This method widely focused on syntax, grammatical rules, translating texts in books, and vocabulary memorization. Although effective in Greek and Latin lessons at the time, this method may not be most effective in English Courses, since it is not focused on oral communications, which is vital in learning English. The Grammar Translation Method remains a popular model in language learning in terms of using prepositions, adjectives, and nouns.

The Direct Method

Developed by Charles Berlitz, this method focuses on the principle, “Second language learning is similar to first language learning”. This means that learning English for non-native speakers is more effective when spontaneous oral interaction is present. However, this method had very little explanation of grammar and syntax and relied mostly on everyday vocabulary.

The Audio-lingual Method

Also known as the Army Method, this technique was modelled from American soldiers during the Second World War. Having to learn the native tongue of both allies and enemies, American troops were made to learn a second language through mimicry and memorization. In the 1950s, the Audio-lingual Method was further developed to teach English using the same principle through constant repetition phrases, or drills.

Communicative Language Teaching

Various designer methods were introduced in the later years although most approaches were focused on psychological aspects, meaning learners are encouraged to learn on their own with very little participation from educators. This paved way to Communicative Language Teaching, which is the approach currently being used to learn English in the modern era. This approach is a complete model; the past methods serving as its prototype. The principles of this approach do not only focus on grammar and syntax, but also gives importance to the oral aspect of learning English.



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