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The Grammar Translation Method Community Language Learning English Language Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 2843 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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We have learnt about different teaching approaches during the lecture. The examples of approaches are the direct method, grammar translation method, the silent way, community language learning, communicative language teaching, total physical response and many more. I have chosen the grammar translation method and community language learning as for this report. According to Random House Unabridged Dictionary, grammar translation method means a traditional technique of foreign-language teaching based on explicit instruction in the grammatical analysis of the target language and translation of sentences from the native language into the target language and vice versa. Community language learning means a method of teaching a foreign language that uses small groups and other ways of reducing students’ anxiety. There are advantages and disadvantages of both approaches. Both approaches are also relevant to use in the current Malaysian Education system.

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Generally, ‘the grammar translation is derived from traditional approaches to the teaching of Latin and Greek in the nineteenth century’ (Barb, 2010). Even though the method has been used a long time ago, this method is still useful to our current education system. According to Richard and Rogers, 2002 (as cited in Barb, 2010), the grammar translation method is a way of studying a language that approaches the language first thought detailed analysis of its grammar rules, followed by the application of this knowledge through the task of translating sentences and text into and out of the target language. The first advantage is that grammar rule is taught deductively. This means that the pupils are taught about the grammar rule and then they have to apply to the new examples. It is important for the pupils to learn about the grammar rule of the language. This will make them use and apply the language better. They can lessen their mistake when they know about the grammar rule. They also will be able to explain about the grammar rule of certain words when they have the knowledge.

Next, translation is the easiest and shortest way to understand English. This is because most primary school children do not familiar with this language. They can only understand their mother tongue. So, by teaching English using the mother tongue, the pupils manage to catch up with their study better. Translation is needed to teach the children. The usage of mother tongue is very important for the pupils in learning English in the early year. This is to make them understand better. For example, if we talk using English during lesson, the pupils may not be able to understand a single thing during the lesson. By using the mother tongue during the lesson, the pupils also do not have any problem in understanding and responding to the teacher. So, there is interaction happen in the classroom. The communication between the pupils and the teacher does not cause any problem. Translation is very important element in learning English for these children. The other advantage is the pupils have been introduced to the literature texts during the early years of their study. It is a good sign that the pupils learn about literature during the lesson. When they have learnt about the literature texts, they manage to interpret the literary passages well based on their experience during the learning process in the class. They can show their understanding in literature by managing to interpret the literary texts.

There are also disadvantages of this method. The first disadvantage is less participation from the pupils. This method is teacher-oriented. The teacher has the full authority to control the class. So, the inputs of the learning are given by the teacher from the beginning of the lesson until the end. The pupils’ job in the class is to hear to the teacher’s instruction without questioning anything. They are like silent learners. There is no discussion or sharing opinion occurs during the lesson. As a result, the pupils’ cognitive skill and critical and creative thinking will not develop. Not only that, the teacher also is the one to decide whether the pupils’ answers are correct or not. If the pupils do not manage to get the correct answers, the teacher will give the correct answers to the pupils. The teacher does not even try to give the pupils another chance to answer to the questions. They will not become autonomous learner. This is one of the teacher-centred methods in the learning process. These skills are required for the pupils to develop so that they will be able to understand their learning better and manage to do well in their study. Not only that, the other disadvantage is little or no attention given to the speaking skill. According to Brown (2001), it does virtually nothing to enhance a student’s communication ability in the language. This is because they only do the reading and writing during the class. The pupils are not exposed to any other skills in learning like listening, speaking and writing. These skills are vital for the pupils in their learning. By learning a lesson with these skills, they will be able to understand the lesson and manage to complete all the works given by the teacher. If this situation continuously happens, it will promote to the boredom to the pupils. This is because they keep on doing the same thing during the lesson. Primary school children always like to have fun and doing fun things. When they are doing the same thing during the lesson, the tendency for them to withdraw from the lesson is higher. As a result, the lesson process will not progress well. The disturbance that occurs will interrupt the learning process. They will also disrupt other students who wanted to learn.

Besides that, the teaching using this method is against the natural way of learning a language. ‘The natural order of learning a language is listening, speaking, reading and writing’ (Purwarno Hadinata, 2006). Through this method the pupils are to ask to read texts and literature texts during the lesson. This method is unnatural method. Even though the primary school children want to learn about their mother tongue language while they were young, they still have to listen to the other people’s words before they can speak out the words. It is hard for them to learn about English which is not their mother tongue through reading. They will not understand the sentences or words through reading. The last disadvantage of grammatical translation method is much vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words. The teacher gives the meaning of single words instead of the meaning of the sentences or phrases. For example, the teacher gives the meaning of the word ‘happy’ in the mother tongue. The pupils only know the meaning of the word ‘happy’. There are also other words that related to the word ‘happy’ like ‘happiness’, ‘happily’ and many more. When reading sentences that have the word ‘happiness’, the pupils may become confused. This is because they only know the meaning of the word ‘happy’.

This method is relevant for the rural area pupils. This is because using this method; the teacher does not has to use any high-tech teaching aids. High-tech teaching aids such as LCD (liquid crystal display) projector can be quite bothersome sometimes. The teacher just has to use the textbooks as the main resource in the classroom. Furthermore, in rural area, the high-tech teaching aids are rarely found there. Sometimes, the electricity resource is not enough for them. There are some places in rural areas that do not have water and electricity resources. So, textbooks are the important resources in the classroom. Other than that, the target language is translated into the mother tongue. So, the rural area pupils will be able to understand English well when the words are translated. This is because many of them do not capable in understand and using English. They are not exposed to this language since they were little. When they entered school, they have to learn about this language as a second language and they are very new to this language. Translation using the mother tongue is very essential for them. This can build their interest towards the language. Even though they find it hard learning English for the first time, as the time goes by the interest towards the English language will be developed. Since this method is teacher-centred, the pupils can depend on the teacher to learn English. They have no one to teach them English at house compared to the pupils who live in the urban area.

The other approach is community language learning. This method is also known as ‘counselling-learning’. Basically, community language learning is based on the student-centred. The pupils will become autonomous learners. In this method, teacher acts as the counsellor while the pupils as the clients. The pupils are asked to sit in a close group of six to ten persons. They have talk about anything they like and the teacher has to be outside the circle. The pupils also have the chance to choose their own topic. They are given the time to brainstorm the ideas. The most important thing is their discussion will be recorded. Besides that, during the discussion, the pupils can also talk using their mother tongue and the teacher will translate for them the actual sentences. At this point, the pupils are responsible for their own learning. They have to be more confident to have the conversation among the members in the group. The recorded conversation will be shown to the pupils in order to improve their abilities in the English language. Even though this is student-centred approach, the teacher plays a vital role in this method. Teacher plays the role as he facilitator and guider for the pupils during their learning process. The second advantage is it will boost the pupils’ speaking and listening skills. When the pupils use this method for the first time, they may feel a bit of awkwardness during the conversation. When they are used to this method, the feeling of awkwardness will disappear. They will find this method enjoyable and fun. This is because the topic is not specific by the teacher. The pupils have the freedom to choose the topic for themselves. Thus, their speaking and listening skills will be improved. They will be able to use the language without any worry. They are not afraid to make mistakes when speaking. As a result, they have the confident in using the language.

The other advantage of this method is ‘encourage teachers to see their students as ‘whole’ persons, where their feelings, intellect, interpersonal relationships, protective reactions, and desired to learn are addressed and balanced’ (English Raven Educational Services 2007). This method is also a part of humanistic approach in the language learning. This is because it will help the teacher to understand their pupils’ emotions or feelings. When the teacher is able to understand the pupils’ feelings, the teacher will be able to help them in their learning. It also encourages the teacher to know more about their pupils. So, the teacher is capable to fulfil the pupils’ needs in their learning. The pupils’ learning process will run smoothly. The last advantage is it will enhance the relationship between teacher and pupils. According to Joyce, Calhoun and Hopkins (2002), this model emphasizes the partnership between students and teachers. The teacher will help the pupils to translate the sentences that the pupils produced in their mother tongue. This is because the pupils will seek for their teacher’s help whenever they need the help. So, the teacher will always ready to help the pupils outside the circle. The relationship between the teacher and pupils will become closer. It can also decrease the pupil’s anxiety while doing the conversation in the group. This is because they manage to build trust among themselves. They are able to support each other during the conversation. Teacher can also help the pupils to overcome their negative feeling towards English by turning them into positive energy to further their learning. Teacher can encourage the pupils to speak English. The teacher can also praise the pupils when they manage to speak English during the conversation. This will motivate them to learn about English. In the class, teacher is responsible to correct the pupils when they make mistakes. Teacher should be able to comfort the pupils during the conversation. Then, the fear of learning English by the pupils will disappear slowly.

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There are also disadvantages in this method. Firstly, this method is time consuming. A lot of time is needed for this method to be progressed successfully. The teacher should be more patient while using this method. The teacher has to give more time for the pupils on their learning process. Sometimes, the learning process will be delayed. In addition, not all pupils will be able to participate in the conversation at a time. Only a few pupils will be participating. The teacher has to follow the time that has been allocated during the lesson. If the learning process has delayed, the teacher has to find some other time to continue with the session. If this method requires a lot of time, the pupils will feel bored when they do not capable to acquire the language. This will lead to frustration to the pupils. Thus, they will lose the interest in learning English as the second language and tend to withdraw themselves from the conversation. Furthermore, it is very hard for the teacher to translate certain sentences for the pupils. This is because there are some classes which have multiracial pupils. They also use different mother tongue language. So, the teacher will find it hard for them. The teacher may not be able to understand every pupil in the class. There are also a few teachers that are not really capable in using the English language. As they continue using this method; it will also lead to frustration to the teachers. The teacher may not be able to help the pupils in their English. So, in order for the teacher to be able to help the pupils, the teacher should be fluent in the mother tongue language and also English.

Other than that, some of the pupils do not have the confidence is speaking in English. So they may use a lot of mother tongue in the conversation. This will not improve their English as second language. They are afraid to try to speak in English. They will feel embarrass when their friends laugh at them if they make mistakes. Some pupils may feel rather passive and will not volunteer to speak anything. This is because they have to depend on themselves during the conversation. The teacher will serve as a facilitator and will monitor them during the conversation. They will also feel embarrass when they hear the recorded tape. Some of the pupils may not be able to speak fluently when they know that they are being recorded. They will lose the feeling of security learning English. Even though this method is non-threatening, some of the pupils may find this method threatening. This is when they are not capable to acquire the target language. They may have low self-esteem in using the language. The tendency for them not to speak in English during the conversation may be higher. This is because they have to be responsible for their own learning. They have to depend on themselves and the other members in the group. When they are not able to speak using the target language, they will have the feeling of frustration in themselves.

This approach is relevant to the secondary school and tertiary level education. This is because this is student-centred approach. They should be able to be responsible towards their learning. They are able to think about the thing that will benefit them. By using this method in learning, the students will be able to become autonomous learner. This is because the current Malaysian education system encourages the students to find their own way of learning. They should not depend on the lecturers that teach them. They have to find other alternatives in their learning. So, by using this method, the students will be able to achieve the aspiration of the current education system. They will also enhance their speaking and listening skills. The order of learning a language is by learning listening and speaking skills first. If they are able to listen to teacher well, they will be able to speak English well. Hence, they will have the confidence in using the target language everywhere.

In conclusion, both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages. It depends on how it is being used in the school. In order to make this method successful in the class, teacher and the administration of the school play an essential role.


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