The Grammar-Translation Method

The Advantages of the Grammar-Translation Method:

·         The following are the advantages of the Translation Method for teaching of English as second language:
The Grammar-Translation Method

1.    It is an easy method:

·         In this method the child proceeds from the known to unknown. He already knows his mother tongue and now he learns the English equivalents.

2.    It helps in building vocabulary:

·         Translation method helps in the rapid expansion of vocabulary of the students as it avoids difficult definitions or lengthy explanations. The vocabulary is economically and effectively acquired. Students get the exact meanings of words.

3.    It saves teacher’s labor:

·         The teacher finds it very easy to prepare his lesson. He has not to think of the ways and means to explain new words. It doesn’t require the teacher to make use of audio-visual aids.

4.    Comprehension is easily tested:

·         Students’ comprehension of English, especially at the early stages can be easily tested by asking them to answer questions in the mother tongue.

5.    Grammar is easily taught:

·         Grammar of the foreign language is easily taught by comparing it with the grammar of the mother tongue.

The Disadvantages of the Grammar-Translation Method:

The Grammar-Translation Method

·         The disadvantages of the translation method are as under:

1.     It is an unnatural method:

·         In the translation method, the teacher starts teaching English to the students by teaching them reading first. But while learning his mother tongue the child learns first to understand spoken English and then speaking. The natural order of learning a language is listening, speaking, reading and writing. Translation method doesn’t follow this method.

2.     It neglects speech:

·         Translation method neglects speech no much attention is paid to oral work or drill work in this method. Besides this there is little ear-training as the teacher speaks the mother tongue most of the time.

3.     It neglects pattern practice:

·         There is no pattern practice in the translation method. The result is that students aren’t able to speak English correctly.

4.     It ignores habit formation:

·         Because of its neglect of speech and pattern practice. Translation method ignores habit formation. ‘The child never acquires the habit to think in English. Instead first he thinks in his mother tongue and translates his thoughts into English.

5.     Exact translation is not possible:

·         Language is the result of the history, tradition, culture and the life of the people speaking them. That is why they can’t translate exactly from one language to another.
6.     Idiomatic expressions are difficult to translate:
·         The idiomatic expressions are hard to translate is likely to translate literally and absurdly.
7.     It teaches English by rules:
·         Translation method tries to teach English by rules rather than by use.

8.     It makes the student a passive listener:

·         In the translation method the student isn’t an active participant in the teaching learning process. He is passive listener.
9.     It is uninteresting:
·         Translation method is dull and mechanical. It is bookish. No aids are used to make lessons interesting. It reduces the learning of a living language to that of a dead language.


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