- from easy to difficult;
- from simple to complex;
- from know to unknown.
Language teaching remained the chief concern of Ian Comenius. His "Linguarum methodus novissima" (Contemporary/modern methods revised) contains one of the first attempts to teach grammar inductively. "Didactica Magna" was a more ambitious work that went beyong language teaching and laid the foundations for modern pedagogy.
This method has been with us through the centuries and is still with us. It has had different names; at one time it was called Classical Method since it was used in the teaching of the classical language, Latin and Greek. The method involves many written exercises, much translation and lengthy vocabulary lists. The teacher describes in detail the grammar of the language, focusing on the form and infection of words. This method aims at providing an understanding of the grammar of the language in question expressed in traditional terms, and at training the students to read and write the target language, rather than mastering the oral and aural skills. To do this the students need to learn the grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language. It was hoped that, by doing this students would become more familiar with the grammar of the native language and that this familiarity would help them speak and write their native language better. It was also thought that foreign language learning would help students grow intellectually; it was recognized that students would probably never use the target language, but the mental exercise of learning it would be beneficial anyway.
Students study grammar deductively: that is, they are given rules and examples, they are told to memorise then, and then are asked to apply rules to other examples. They also learn grammatical paradigms such as the plural of nouns, degrees of comparison of adjectives and adverbs, verb conjugations. They memories native language equivalents for foreign language vocabulary lists.
The techniques of G-TM imply bilingual vocabulary lists, written exercises, elaborate grammatical explanations, translation, and total involvement in reading and writing.
The objectives of G-TM are non-utilitarian - confined to understanding of literature which gives keys to great classical culture.
The advantages of this method lie in its limited objectives: understanding of written language and some basic writing and translation. The method is not demanding for the teacher (simple preparation from a textbook and little physical endeavour).
The disadvantages of this method include a total neglect of spoken language, communication skills, use of esoteric vocabulary, and monotonous procedure in class.
Thus the Grammar-Translation Method is simply a combination of the activities of grammar and translation. The teacher begins with rules isolated vocabulary items, paradigms and translation. Pronunciation either is not taught or is limited to a few introductory notes. Grammar rules are memorized as units, which sometimes include illustrative sentences.
Harold Palmer's Method
Harold Palmer the great English authority and teacher, experimented extensively with the question-answer method. He considered question-answer work to be "the most effective of all language learning exercise ever devised".
Palmer insisted, however, that if this technique was to be carried out successfully, all questions asked by the teacher must be carefully planned and thought out beforehand. Questions should never be haphazard, either in form or content. Specifically, H. Palmer thought that any question asked by the teacher should be of a nature that admits the following:
a) an obvious answer, not an answer that requires one or more complicated acts of judgement on the part of the student;
b) an easy answer, not one that requires the use of word, facts, or constructions unknown to the student;
c) a relevant answer, direct answer involving only a moderate change through the process of conversion, substitution, or completion of the material contained in the teacher's question.
In H. Palmer's view, there are three stages of learning:
1. Receiving knowledge.
2. Fixing it in the memory by repetition.
3. Using the knowledge by real practice.
H. Palmer was the author of some 50 theoretical works, textbooks and manuals. Of great interest are H. Palmer's "100 Substitution Tables", in which sentence patterns are arranged in tables for pupils to make up their sentences, following the pattern. His main findings can be conveniently summarized as the following objectives:
1. Phonetic, semantic and syntactic aspects.
2. Oral speech by way of speaking and understanding.
3. Accumulation of passive material with subsequent active reproduction.
4. Techniques used for translation include visuality, interpretation and verbal context.
5. Speech patterns to be learn by heart.
6. Rational selection of vocabulary based on frequency counts and utility.
7. Topical selection: minimum vocabulary list of 3000 words.
H. Palmer paid great attention to a system of exercises, which in his should include:
1. receptive -question and short answers to them;
2. receptive-imitative -words and word-combinations repeated after the teacher;
3. conversational -questions, answers, commands and completion of sentences.
Thus H. Palmer method is based on rationalization of teaching/learning process and systematic selection of material. Teaching speaking features prominelity in H. Palmer's method, hence its name "oral method".
The Direct Method appeared as a reaction to the GTM and the failure to procedure learns who could use the foreign language they had been studying.
The Direct Method was based on the belief that students could learn a language through listening to it and that they learn to speak by speaking it - associating speech with appropriate action, like the way the children learn native tongue. The Direct Method received its name from the fact that