Carmen Morras Catalan

My teaching approach

Carmen Morrás Catalán


Different teaching methods: compare and contrast


People all over the world use English to communicate. Over the years, learning it has become a necessity for many reasons: work mainly but social and personal as well. That is why the traditional teaching method has developed into different ways of teaching, more modern and more speaking-focused. Students not only learn grammar and new vocabulary but they practice it in real situations and in a context, which allows them to use the language.


The traditional method, also called the Grammar-translation method, focuses on students learning how to write and read properly. So they learn grammar and spelling very well but they don’t learn how to use the language.


Opposite to this is the Direct method. The main differences with the traditional one are: no translation is allowed, the teacher has to demonstrate (not explain), it is based on topics more than in linguistic structures, pronunciation is very important and grammar is taught inductively. Students learn how to communicate in real situations.


Most of the other methods are more similar to the direct one than to the traditional one, based on developing the communication skills of the students (some of them more than others). With the Audio Lingual method, students learn structures and vocabulary and memorize them by constant repetition.  The Callan method is similar to this one, the teacher talks a lot and prints structures and new vocabulary into the students’ brain.


The Silent Way method is and old technique in which the teacher observes the students and uses silence as a tool. They learn pronunciation first; all the different sounds are represented by colours so students can easily identify them later. Then, students learn what language means by practicing and putting it in a context, similar to the Direct method.  The Vaughan method is based on conversation, translation and learning structures so students can develop their speaking skills.  There is a lot of repetition, similar to the Audio lingual and the Callan methods.


The last method we are going to mention here is the Total Physical Response (TPR). It isn’t very communicative as it is based on students learning by mime, gestures and words written on a blackboard. They develop their listening and reading skills.


In my opinion, methods based on repetitions are not very good; students get easily bored and the teacher has to talk a lot, which doesn’t allow students to develop their speaking skills. The TPR one could be useful for children, as they learn by “acting” and repeating.


In my experience, the traditional method is good and very useful because it makes you understand the “inside” of the English language; students learn how to write and read properly. However, students don’t get to use that language and when they find real situations they can’t communicate very well. So, I think a combination of this method and the Direct one would be the perfect way of learning English. 

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