Thursday, October 14, 2010


Many teachers use a mixture of both Indirect and Direct Methods.
Grammar Method - easy for the teacher, but too intellectual an approach for the average pupil:
- may kill off his enthusiasm for language learning
- gives little chance to master spoken language which would be of greater use to him
- pupil cannot gain true insight into grammatical rule unless he has previously mastered the spoken aspect
Some teachers therefore try to veer away from pure Indirect Method, hoping to reduce the intellectual content of their lessons and to give pupils some opportunity of speaking the language.
But Direct Method teaching cannot supply the number of active speaking contacts required for pupil to begin to 'think' in the language, so that any 'eclectic' method lying between the two poles will afford even fewer contacts.
It is also true that a second language learner needs to have some knowledge of the grammatical blocks of language to help speed up the development of his oral proficiency.
Dilemma -
Too much veering towards Indirect Method:
- increases the intellectual content of lessons (condemning those pupils whose IQ isn't sufficiently high)
- decreases the number of active oral contacts the pupils require
Too much veering towards the Direct Method:
- denies the pupil the help which a knowledge of comparative grammar can give him in his development towards oral proficiency
- still means the teacher is unable to provide for the pupil the required number of oral contacts (thus leading to incomplete/inaccurate responses)
- makes it easier for the pupil but more difficult for the teacher himself.
Any eclectic method teacher therefore falls between two stools. Either way he faces obstacles which make teaching/ learning both difficult/ unpleasant.
What is needed, therefore, is a completely different method, which lies outside the range of Indirect/Direct methods
- which takes into account data obtained from investigations into second language learning
- which uses old/new teaching/learning activities in such a way as to enable the learner to learn a language more quickly and with less effort
- which gives pupil the opportunity to reach a level whereby he can 'think' in that language.

Criteria Necessary for Effective Method in Learning / Teaching a Foreign Language
1. It must be simple for both teacher and learner, and must be within the capabilities of all teachers.
Also, the teacher must feel that pupils are progressing satisfactorily.
2. It must bring about a balance between the spoken and written or printed word
(and must be flexible enough for the teacher to concentrate on the area (s)he wants).
3. It must overcome the conflict between fluency and accuracy.
4. It must increase the rate and amount of learning which takes place in the classroom.
5. Testing must be part of the method, and not a separate entity.
6. Constant revision must be part of the method.
7. It must enable the teacher to set defined limits and have control over oral responses.
8. It must be variable ( cf. the difficulty of the Direct Method where framing the right question to make the pupils apply various persons / tenses / cases and vocabulary is most difficulty without pre-arranged coding.
9. It must reflect the linguistic habits the child has already acquired by learning his/her mother tongue and their ability to assimilate a new language.
10. It must offer a new approach to the application of translation work.
11. It must give the pupils a stimulus to say something in the first instance - and it must find ways of supplying the pupils constantly with ideas which they can use for their expression in the foreign language.
12. It must enable work done with modern teaching aids (e.g. audio-visual aids, computer) to be an extension of the method used in class.
13. It must give the teacher an opportunity to speed up intercommunication between himself/herself and individual pupils.
14. It must be sufficiently flexible to cope with various class conditions ( as far as pupils' specific / general interests are concerned )
15. It must ensure that pupils are given the opportunity of having the greatest number of meaningful contacts possible both with and in the foreign language - THE most important criteria for the validity of any modern method.


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