Fay Harryman

My teaching approach

Assignment 1: TEFL Methodologies


Compare and contrast two methodologies in terms of the approach to teaching, the approach to learning, the goals of the students, the organisation of the syllabus and the teacher’s attitude and behaviour.


Assignment length: approximately 1000 words


A teaching method comprises the principles and methods used for instruction. Commonly used teaching methods may include class participation, demonstration, recitation, memorization, or combinations of these. The choice of an appropriate teaching method depends largely on the information or skill that is being taught, and it may also be influenced by the aptitude and enthusiasm of the students.


Some popular methods and approaches include;

The Grammar Translation Method,

The Audio-lingual Method

Communicative Approach/Communicative Language Teaching

Direct Method and many more.


The Grammar translation teaching method is one of the oldest methodologies in TEFL teaching, and is frequently associated with learning ‘dead’ languages such as Greek and Latin. The method refrains from spoken communication and relies heavily on teaching grammar as a means to translate text from one language to the other.


It is said that the Grammar Translation method is the easiest for a teacher to employ as it is not necessary for the teacher to speak at a high level of English or be imaginative with lesson preparation. Grammar Translation classes are taught in the students’ native language, and require students to memorize long lists of vocabulary and grammar rules. They also encourage students to translate classical texts and other arbitrary sentences. Students are taught by way of lots of drill like repetition exercises and lengthy explanations in the mother tongue.


The unstated assumption was that students would naturally pick up the ability to use the language if they obtained a full and explicit understanding of the "The Rules".

Learning in this manner can have a tedious and soporific effect and can lead to the class being de-motivated.


The Direct Teaching Method followed the Grammar Translation Method and was to a large extent a reaction against it. The Direct Teaching Method, developed by Maximilian Berlitze, is in my opinion a far more effective approach to teaching.


Using only the target language in class, encourages students to think in the target language and respond spontaneously through oral communication, building up a bank of everyday vocabulary and sentences without being taught grammar explicitly. Various vocabularies are taught through using pictures and elaborate pantomime, allowing the students to absorb the grammar as they go.


This manner of teaching allows the students approach to be less frustrating as it is more engaging. Students play an active role in the classroom, participating in lively activities which can stimulate and motivate their learning.


The aims of teaching in the Grammar translation Method are to primarily improve the students reading and writing skills. It was believed that literacy of the target language is far superior to that of the spoken language, thus being able to speak fluently in the target language is not seen as an important goal of learning and is therefore not on the syllabus. Instead, this method is grammar-driven with lengthy explanations of the grammatical rules and is practiced through written exercises encouraging direct translation, paying no attention to pronunciation.


In comparison, the Direct Method focuses on pronunciation, emphasizing vocabulary over grammar with a Situationalsyllabus. The primary goal is to be able to communicate naturally in the target language; therefore students practice “real-world” conversations and scenarios, through an active syllabus. The purpose of language learning is communication; therefore, a great emphasis is put on questions and answer activities encouraging opportunities for “real-life” conversational practice. Conversation exchange with a native English teacher is key in achieving a good level of pronunciation and flow.


Conversational practice is not present in the classroom of a grammar translation class. Instead the teacher behaves in an authoritative manner, dictating and translating to the students. Most of the interaction in the classroom is from the teacher to the students. There is little student initiation and little student-student interaction. Being one of the oldest teaching methods, it retains the historic image of the teacher standing at the front of the class doing all the talking to a non responsive classroom.


In contrast the role of the teacher in the Direct Teaching Method is to conduct the class activities. Students and teacher are partners in the learning process and student-student interaction is also encouraged through the use of fluent conversation, debates and activities.


Teachers' attitudes play an important part in the over-all learning process and have a direct effect on the students' motivation, self-esteem, and anxiety level. Therefore I feel that it is important for the teacher to maintain a good atmosphere within the classroom rather than a commanding one, discouraging a positive learning atmosphere.


In conclusion I believe the Direct Method to be the preferred style of learning, when teaching English as a second Language, due to its natural learning method. I feel it is more valuable to be taught the language, rather than to be taught about the language, giving you a natural acquisition of the second language. However there is no right or wrong approach to teaching or learning, it is a personal preference depending on the way in which you respond to learning.





Learning Teaching – Jim Scrivener



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