Some interesting methods of teaching foreign languages tells us Mary Hunger, the academic Director of the Linguistic center of the Institute of foreign languages.
In the history of humanity were developed a great variety of different educational methods. At first all the methods of teaching foreign languages have been taken from programs designed to teach the so-called «dead languages» such as Latin and Greek, in which virtually the entire educational process was limited to reading and translation.
This is the method, whose foundations were laid by the enlightenment in the late eighteenth century, took shape by the middle of the XX-th under the title «the Grammar-translational method» (grammatical-conversion method).
Under this method, the possession of language is the knowledge of grammar and vocabulary. Process improvement is understood as the movement from one grammatical schema to another. Thus, a teacher planning a course on this method, first think about what grammatical pattern he wants to highlight. Then, under these themes are selected texts which are separate proposals, and ends with translation. First from the foreign language into the native language, and then Vice versa. Regarding the text, usually the so-called artificial text, which hardly paid the value of the sense (not so important what you say, it matters how you say it).
A good example of such a text is memorable to all since school «conversation topic» called «Bob’s family», in which worked out approximately the following material: «the Family of Bob is very good. His dad is working, mom is a doctor. They have a dog. At the end of the week they get a week-end where they all eat Sunday pudding».
Despite some deserved criticism, this method has several advantages. First, it really allows you to learn grammar at a very high level. Second, this method is very good for people with highly developed logical thinking, which of course to perceive language as a set of grammatical formulas. The main disadvantage is that the method creates the ideal preconditions for the emergence of the so-called language barrier, as people in the process of learning ceases to Express himself and begins to speak, but simply to combine words by certain rules. This method of learning foreign languages prevailed until the late 50-ies and was almost the only one which taught all. By the way, all brilliant and phenomenally educated translators until recently were trained in this way.
In the mid-50s, it became evident that the method is not formed corresponds to the time requirements of linguistics. The result was the emergence of a huge number of different methods. Some of them would like to talk more.
According to the method called «Silent way» method (of silence) appeared in the mid 60-ies, the principle of learning a foreign language is as follows. Knowledge of language is inherently in the person who wants to study it, and most importantly — not to interfere with the student and not to impose point of view of the teacher. Following this methodology, the teacher did not initially say anything. Teaching Junior-level pronunciation, it is a complex color tables in which each color or symbol represents a certain sound, and so presents new words. For example, to «say» the word «table», you need to first show the box indicating the sound «t», then the box indicating the sound of «Hey» and so on. Thus, manipulating in the process of learning all of these squares, sticks and similar symbols, the learner moves to the target, practicing the material covered with your classmates.
What are the advantages of this method? Perhaps, the fact that the language proficiency of the teacher has little influence on the language level of the student, and in the end, it may be that the student the result will be to know the language better than his teacher. In addition, in the process of training the student is compelled enough to Express themselves freely. It should be noted that this method is very good for lovers of high technology.
Another interesting method called «Total physical response» (the response). The basic rule of this method is … you can’t understand anything you missed through. According to this theory, the student in the first stages of learning says nothing. First, he needs to obtain a sufficient amount of knowledge that go into a liability. For approximately the first twenty lessons, the student consistently listens to foreign speech, what he reads, but does not say neither a single word in the target language. Then in the process of learning there comes a time when he should be responding to heard or read — but to only respond with action. It begins with a study of words meaning physical movement. For example, when you study the word «stand» all stand, «sit» — sit down, and so on. And then, when the student has accumulated quite a lot of information (first listened, then moved), it becomes ready to start talking. This method is primarily the fact that the student in the learning process feel very comfortable. The desired effect is achieved by the fact that all incoming information people pass through. It is also important that the process of language learning according to this method, students are able to communicate (directly or indirectly) not only with the teacher, but also among themselves.
It is impossible not to pay attention to the so-called immersion («Sugesto pedia»), the triumph of which had 70-ies. According to this method, to learn a foreign language, becoming (at least for the period of study) a completely different person. Learning the language this way, all students in the group choose their new names, coming up with new biography. Due to this, in the audience created the illusion that they are in a completely different world — the world of the target language. All this is done to ensure that any person in the learning process could completely relax, open up, and his speech was very similar to the original. He spoke not as a true «Peter,» but as the fictional «John».
The following method of learning foreign languages, which I would like to tell, appeared in the late 70-ies. It’s called «Audio-lingual method» (the audio linguistic method). Its essence consists in the following: in the first stage of training the student heard repeatedly repeats after the teacher or the soundtrack. And only starting from the second level, he is allowed to speak a phrase or two from yourself, all the rest is again repetition.
70-ies was marked by the emergence of so-called communicative method, whose main purpose is to teach people how to communicate, to make his speech understandable for the interlocutor. In accordance with this method, this can be achieved by teaching the person in the so-called natural conditions — natural primarily from the point of view of common sense. For example, the teacher asked, «What’s that?» pointing to the table can be considered natural only in the case if he really doesn’t know what it is. The method that is called communication, at present, in fact, it is not, while pursuing the same goal — to teach people how to communicate.
Modern communicative method is a harmonious blend of many ways of learning foreign languages, being probably on the top of the evolutionary pyramid of different educational methods…