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Message from the author : “To make the French learning process a breeze for everyone.” is my writing motto. This textbook on French writing rules is not an exception. See for yourself how easy it is ! This textbook is especially designed for : FIRST TIME LEARNERS Bon courage ! Jean-Charles Bossis
Lesson 7: How can we get back home? So you want to be a teacher? An article discussing the grammar-translation approach to language learning. At the height of the Communicative Approach to language learning in the 1980s and early 1990s it became fashionable in some quarters to deride so-called « old-fashioned » methods and, in particular, something broadly labelled « Grammar Translation ». As with many other methods and approaches, Grammar Translation tended to be referred to in the past tense as if it no longer existed and had died out to be replaced world-wide by the fun and motivation of the communicative classroom.
If we examine the principal features of Grammar Translation, however, we will see that not only has it not disappeared but that many of its characteristics have been central to language teaching throughout the ages and are still valid today. The Grammar Translation method embraces a wide range of approaches but, broadly speaking, foreign language study is seen as a mental discipline, the goal of which may be to read literature in its original form or simply to be a form of intellectual development. The method is very much based on the written word and texts are widely in evidence. A typical approach would be to present the rules of a particular item of grammar, illustrate its use by including the item several times in a text, and practise using the item through writing sentences and translating it into the mother tongue. The text is often accompanied by a vocabulary list consisting of new lexical items used in the text together with the mother tongue translation. Generally speaking, the medium of instruction is the mother tongue, which is used to explain conceptual problems and to discuss the use of a particular grammatical structure.
It all sounds rather dull but it can be argued that the Grammar Translation method has over the years had a remarkable success. There are certain types of learner who respond very positively to a grammatical syllabus as it can give them both a set of clear objectives and a clear sense of achievement. Other learners need the security of the mother tongue and the opportunity to relate grammatical structures to mother tongue equivalents. Above all, this type of approach can give learners a basic foundation upon which they can then build their communicative skills.