The Different Types of Language Learning Methods in 2023

Different Language Learning Methods

There are a variety of methods used to teach a language. These methods are based on different approaches and visions of how a language should be learned.

The most common approach is the communicative approach, which focuses on how a language should be used to communicate. This method often uses group discussion, role-plays and Q&A sessions to make learning more fun.

Grammar-Translation

The Grammar-Translation method is a language learning method that has been around for centuries and still remains popular in some schools today. While there have been some criticisms of this particular approach to language teaching, it has also become a very common way to learn a foreign language in the 21st century.

The grammar-translation method focuses on learning grammar rules and translating them into the target language. It is a very effective way of learning grammar because it helps you learn the structures of a language.

This method consists of a number of elements including learning vocabulary lists, memorizing them, and practicing grammar rules. It can be difficult to master a language without having a strong vocabulary base.

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It also involves the use of bilingual word lists so that students can memorize words in the target language and in their native language. There are also grammatical exercises such as multiple-choice questions, fill-in-the-blanks, etc.

These are all very useful ways of boosting students’ fluency in the language. However, the main issue with the grammar-translation method is that it tends to neglect speaking and listening skills, leaving learners unable to engage in conversation.

As a result, the language learning process can be very slow and tedious for students. In addition, many of these methods do not promote active and interactive language learning, which can lead to boredom and discouragement among learners.

It is important to remember that all language learning starts with the basics of vocabulary. Therefore, the GTM can be a great start for any language learner.

Communicative Approach

The Communicative Approach is a language teaching method that emphasizes interaction as the means and the ultimate goal of language learning. This approach aims to provide vitality and motivation in the classroom by putting the learner’s interests and needs at the forefront.

The method is also called the communicative linguistic approach, the communication language approach, or the interactive language approach. Historically, the method has been seen as a response to the Audio-Lingual Method (ALM) and as an extension or development of the Notional-Functional Syllabus.

One of the key principles in CLT is that activities should involve meaningful language use at all levels, from beginner to advanced. Moreover, the activities should be chosen in such a way that they help the students to practice their skills.

In addition to the use of authentic materials, CLT uses teaching methods that are more learner-centered and less systemic than other language teaching methods. For example, teachers may give more emphasis to skill-based tasks that require speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

It is important to note that, while CLT focuses on a more practical approach, it does not ignore grammar and rules of structure. Therefore, a teacher must be careful to balance the two in order to ensure that learners will not become overly focused on the functional aspects of language.

A common model used in CLT is the Functional-Notional syllabus, which divides the language into 5 broad functions. These are personal (expression of feelings, emotions, and thoughts), interpersonal (communication in social and working situations), directive (influencing others), referential (reporting about things, events, and people), and imaginative (creativity and artistic expression).

The Direct Method

The Direct Method is a language learning method that concentrates on communicating in the target language. It is a fast-paced teaching approach that is great for students who are looking to learn a new language quickly.

This method is based on the premise that language acquisition is first and foremost about listening and speaking skills, and that a student’s writing and reading skills should be developed later. This is because going through translations can bog down a student’s learning.

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Hence, this language learning method places much emphasis on oral practice, and about 80% of lesson time is devoted to oral exercises and tasks (reading aloud, speaking practice). This type of practice is particularly effective because it enables students to practice the same vocabulary and grammar structures in different contexts, which ensures that they’ll remember them for longer.

Examples of this kind of activity include question-answer exercises, dictation, and example proliferation. These activities are designed to drive home key points and help students figure out the rules of the language for themselves.

When teaching this technique, the teacher must make sure that the examples they use are simple, unambiguous, and interesting. They should also give students plenty of time to process the information they’re receiving.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that this method requires smaller groupings of students, so it may not be appropriate for a large classroom. Moreover, it is difficult for teachers to be on hand for every single student in the class.

The Silent Way

The Silent Way is an approach to language learning that emphasizes student involvement, discovery, and creativity. It is characterized by a focus on oral response and the use of accompanying materials, such as rods and charts.

In a Silent Way class, students will learn the pronunciation of words using the Fidel chart (also called a color chart). They will point to a symbol on the chart that corresponds to each sound in a word. Once they have mastered this, the teacher will model the correct sound for them and then they can practice their pronunciation on their own.

This method of teaching also encourages students to make mistakes without feeling embarrassed, which can be a great tool for helping them develop their language skills. However, it does require a certain level of motivation from the students as they will be required to speak more than usual in order to understand the lesson.

Gattegno, the founder of the Silent Way, believed that communication was one of the key components to learning a new language. He believed that communication is a two-way process and that he must be willing to submit to the other person’s message before it could be understood.

He felt that it was important for students to learn how to communicate in their new language by discovering the words and sounds themselves instead of having them drilled into them. This allowed the students to become more engaged and invested in their learning, making it more effective.

Gattegno’s book Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools, published in 1963, outlines a methodology that he believes promotes discovery and creative problem-solving. He was a rank outsider to language education at the time, and his work remains relatively little known today.

The Natural Approach

The Natural Approach is a language learning method developed by Stephen Krashen and Tracy Terrell in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It aims to foster naturalistic language acquisition in the classroom setting, emphasizing communication, placing decreased importance on conscious grammar study and explicit correction of student errors, and making the learning environment as stress-free as possible.

The teaching methodology is based on observation and interpretation of how children learn their first language. This process is viewed as the key to effective language learning in the second or foreign language classroom.

There are three stages in the NA-based teaching model: preproduction, early speech, and speech emergence (Krashen and Terrell 1983). Each stage emphasizes the teacher’s role in providing comprehensible input that leads to language output.

In the preproduction stage, students are expected to listen to the teacher talk slowly and distinctly, responding to either-or questions and eliciting one-word answers. The teacher also points to pictures, charts, and other realia as a way of eliciting questions and guiding conversation.

Later in the early production stage, the student’s role shifts to that of the speaker. The teacher continues to talk slowly and distinctly, but when the student’s competence allows, he or she begins to speak, responding to either-or questions, using single words, and short phrases, filling in charts, and expressing fixed conversational patterns.

The Natural Approach borrows a number of techniques from other methods and approaches to teach languages, but it is the focus on comprehension, meaningful communication, and the provision of the right kinds of comprehensible input that distinguishes this method from its more formal counterparts. These include command-based activities from Total Physical Response, Direct Method practices involving mime and gesture, and situation-based practice of structures and patterns.

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About the Author: Kate Benzin