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Language teaching approaches and Grammar Translation Method (GTM)

It is true that language teaching and learning has been difficult because the origin and change in various teaching and learning methods supports it. If it had been so easy, there would not have been any need of new approaches.


The famous approaches are;

  1. Grammar Translation Method
  2. Audio-lingual Method
  3. Oral Method
  4. Direct Method


I would prefer to use the Grammar Translation Method. GTM is a classic method of teaching. Among all the other approaches, it is the oldest. Originally, it was used to teach the Latin and Greek languages which were influential language of their time. Also, among all the other approaches, this approach sustained for a very long period in the teaching of language, especially in Pakistan where it is still widely used in a large number of schools.

  • Strategies in GTM
  • Questions and answers

GTM uses question answer strategy. The teachers ask the questions and the students answer them back.

  • Dictation

Teachers dictates the students by selecting some appropriate passage and then reads it aloud to the students.

  • Reading aloud

Teacher asks the students to read out aloud the passages turn by turn.

  • Self-correction

The teachers gives exercises to the students and help them self-correct.


The Role of Teacher and Student

The classroom in this method is teacher-centred. The students are passive listeners.

Advantages of GTM

GTM carries the following advantages;

  1. It is easy for the learners to learn a foreign language with the help of this approach
  2. Grammar translation method permits teaching of language with the help of language rules. This makes language learning and teaching easy both for the teacher and the student.
  • It is useful for crowded class where a teacher cannot focus individually. In most of govt schools in Pakistan, the classes are overcrowded. So with the help of this approach, it is easy for the teacher to teach to such classes.
  1. In GTM, language is learnt with the help of translation such as learning meaning, vocabulary etc. This is very helpful for our students who do not have direct interaction with the English. Without translation, it is not possible for them to start learning the language.
  2. Also, giving the students the rules about the target language helps them easily shape and monitor their learning with the help of these rules. Otherwise they would have to observe the language for a long time and then it would be possible for them to discover the grammar rules of the language. So in this sense, GTM can be helpful.
  3. GTM permits support of students’ native or national language such as in our case i.e. the teachers use Urdu language while teaching English to the students.
  • Due to use of the translation method and support from the native tongue, it becomes less costly because teachers do not have to use AV-aids as in case of other approaches such as audio-lingual method.

Although there are many disadvantages with this approach, still it is greatly effective in schools to a large extent. This approach can also be merged with other approaches when needed to adapt to the situation.

About Zubair A. Bajwa

Zubair A. Bajwa is a graduate in linguistics from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Now, he holds an M.Phil. degree in English Linguistics from University of Gujrat. He is an author of various articles.

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