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General Methods of Language Teaching

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Language education basically refers to the learning and teaching of a language. This may also entail the improvement of a learner’s mastery pertaining to their native language. However, the term is much more commonly used to refer to second language acquisition referring to learning of foreign, or rather second language. It is also notable of how some scholars tend to differentiate between learning AND acquisition. Language education is apparently part of applied linguistics. The paper tires to implore on the major methods applied in general and effective methods of teaching language and also the application of translation in language teaching.

The teaching of English to non-natives is commonly seen as a daunting task, to which the Mongolian Professional Accountants have found themselves on the mercies of the allegations. Even though Mongolia is famous for its Gobi desert and also age, the Buddhist culture and also their distinguished tradition, particularly in this era of globalization, Mongolians are actually marching neck to neck, a strategy to smartly compete with the rest of the world. In the recent past, ICAI organized a training program that took only three months for the Mongolian Certified Professional Accountants particularly in the field of English language. This paper, particularly in the second part about the translation in language teaching, assists in highlighting some of the challenges that face translation, achievements through translation and means to curb the challenges.

It is quite prerequisite to first of all highlight what is referred to as overview of Language Teaching Methodology. This may prove quite important when one is making can attempt to get informed about the entire issue pertaining to language teaching. The term methodology is itself often misinterpreted if not ill-comprehended. This is given lip-service being the explanation of for the way a particular goes about their teaching. Others refer it to being a kind of umbrella-term to explain the work of teaching another language. Often, the term methodology has been used to refer to a general sense, and some other times it is termed as specific teaching techniques. It does, otherwise should, entail much more than that. One would notice that Brown’s (1994:51) definitions (that tend to reflect the current usage at the time and also got from the earlier to classify elements related to methodology) are the quite useful ones.

Methodology

The existing study pertaining to pedagogical practices (theoretical underpinnings inclusive, and the related research). Whatever considerations have been put in place in ‘how to teach’ are usually seen as part and parcel of methodology.

Approach

This refers to the theoretical positions and also the beliefs pertaining to the nature of language, the existing nature of language learning, and finally the application of both to pedagogical settings.

Method

This is the general set of classroom specifics for the purpose of accomplishment of linguistic objectives. Methods are basically concerned with the teacher and student roles cum behaviors and majorly with such features like linguistic and also subject matter objectives, materials and sequencing. This are ways believed of being applicable when it comes audiences in varied given contexts.

Curriculum/Syllabus

This are the various ways of carrying out a given language program. Features deal with specifications subject-matter objectives and linguistics, sequencing and also materials to ensure the satisfaction of the requirements of designated group of the ones taking the learning session in a defined context.

Design

This refers to any variety of exercises, activities and also the devices applied in a language classroom in order to enhance the realization of lesson objectives.

Another method is the audio-lingual. This is a vice that has been dominant since the year 1950 and was developed in the USA. It is based on skills and does not require use of LI, Stresses memorization, structure, tapes and even repetition. Apparently the role of the teacher is to ensure the standard modeling of the language while it is the student’s role to make sure that they practice the pattern and also the student happens to be an accuracy enthusiast.

In approach and method of teaching the language, specialists in linguistics and language thought of improving the trend in language teaching through application of different general principles and theories pertaining to how the languages are normally learned. They also made an attempt to closely scrutinize how language is structured as well. Early linguistics, the likes of Henry sweet, Otto Jerpersen and also Harold Palma made an attempt to clearly elaborate principles and countable reforms in theory form to the very design of language teaching programs, materials and courses.

However other specific practical details were actually left out for the working by others. The linguists sought a universal answer to the rising questions like the ones pertaining ot the selection cum sequencing of grammar and vocabulary. It is however interesting to note that none of these linguists saw ant relevant existing method, the ideal embodiment of their varied ideas and also the procedures for the teaching of a language is termed as central. Making an attempt to clarify the same, a given scheme was put in proposal by the American Applied linguistic, Edward Anthony in the year 1963. He further identified the three given levels of conceptualization and also organization, which he referred to as ‘approach’, ‘method’ and ‘technique’.

An approach, being a set of correlative set of assumptions that normally deals with the nature of the nature of nature of language teaching and also learning. Scholars allege that an approach is axiomatic. In actual fact it does the description of the nature of the particular subject matter that has to be taught.

Anthony’s models tend to serve as a useful way when it comes to distinguishing between the various different degrees of abstraction and specific evident in the various language teaching proposals. Thus it is evident that the proposals of the reform movement were actually at the same level of approach. Also the direct method of language teaching is one found in this hence derived from this approach.

Among the several ways of language teaching, there also includes the MacKay’s opinion, in his book ‘Language Teaching Analysis’ (1965), alleged to be the well known model of the 1960’s, one that actually focuses basically on levels of the methods and technique. It is important to note that MacKay’s model pertaining to language teaching mostly touches on dimensions of selection, presentation, gradation, and repetition underlying a method. In fact, and despite the Mackay’s book title, most of his concerns is basically with the analysis of given textbooks and their respective underlying principles of organization. His models have not been in a position to succeed in addressing of the level of approach, nor does it touch the actual classroom behaviors of the teachers and their learners. It is hence evident that it can never really serve as the basis for complete and comprehensive analysis of either approach or rather the methods.

Even though Anthony’s former proposal has the added advantage of its simplicity and also comprehensiveness and actually has proved important way of differentiating the existing relationship between underlying of the theoretical principles and the practices tied up with them, it still fails in submission of sufficient attention to the kind, and also nature of method itself. Actually nothing is normally said about the duties of teachers and learners assumption in a given method, like for example, about the in structural materials or even the kind of forms they are bound to take. It is apparent that it fails to properly explain how an approach may be realized in a given method, or even for how method and the technique are really related.

Still considering the works of Antony, one is able to realize the approach cum method treated at the level of design, that particular level whereby objectives, syllabus and content are normally determined, and the way the role of the teachers, learners and the instructional materials are normally specified.

Design

For an approach to lead to a method, it is quite prerequisite for the development of a design for a given instructional system. Design refers to the level of method analysis whereby one considers: the real meaning of the objectives of a method, the way language content is normally selected and how it is organized within the particular method, that is, the given syllabus model this method tends to incorporate, the kind of learning tasks and the consequent teaching activities the method calls for, learners’ roles, teachers’ roles and finally the role of the instructional materials.

Objectives

Various theories of language and also the language teaching tend to impact on the focus of a method. This means that they normally determine the method that sets out t achieve. The existing specification of a given learning objectives, however is normally termed as a product of design, not of approach. Some of the methods tend to focus on basically on the oral skills and assume that the reading and the writing skills are and tend to derive from transfer to the oral skills.

The content choice and organization: Syllabus

The entire methods of language teaching normally involve the use of the language referred to as the target language. This means that all the methods tend to involve overt or covert decisions pertaining the selection of language items (topics, functions, constructions,, tenses, sentence patterns and words), that have to be used during the course or even the method. Decisions touching the choice of language content tend to relate to both the subject matter and also the linguistic matter. To be sincere, one normally makes decision on what to say (subject matter), and how to actually talk about it (linguistic matter). The ESP courses are usually the subject matter focused. The structurally based methods, including the Situational Language Teaching and the Audio-lingual Method, are linguistically set.

However different ways in which they see as the relevant language and also the subject matter whereby the language teaching ought to be organized and the various principles applied in sequencing the content that is within a course.

The grammar-translation’s impassioned rejection method that accompanied the advent of the audio-lingual and the communicative approaches to the learning of the language has really given way to a more balanced examination by the potential and the problems accompanied by the trend in usage of translation when it comes to language learning and teaching. There shoots up some controversies when it comes to the use of translation –and translation into the L2 in particular.-in a language classroom with a vision to expansion towards their resolution. It has been alleged that much valuable work in the past has been done particularly in the field dealing with translation pedagogy. However, individuals still lack a strong foundation on which one ought to base their practice. The purpose of the study hence becomes offering a number of points for the purpose of reflection which tends to serve as a basis due to the much needed research pertaining to the topic.

An example is when one works in an institution whereby they are assigned with the teaching of the theoretical modules for example at the MA level and may be undergraduate classes dealing with language that tend to involve the use of the translation into L2 to assist students acquiring the language. In this case one will be drawing research on translation studies on one’s own long time experience of language teaching.   

The proponents of the audio-lingual and also the communicative methods that are normally firmly believed that the behavior of mother tongue usage was termed as counter-productive especially in the whole process of the acquiring of the new language, and then the use of translation particularly in the classroom was bound to do more damage compared to the good, due to the fact that it holds learners to from being able to express themselves freely in the second language. His skepticism, if not downright animosity, surrounding the use of translation in language teaching proves more often acute when it comes to L2 translation.

Arguments have it that while translation into the mother tongue is an experience that graduates might encounter especially in their profession life, the translation to other foreign languages is futile and unrealistic. As a result of this opposition, it is notable that translation was banned particularly in  those places mostly affected, for example in France (1950), quite literally, if one can say, actually banned by legislation 1. This was practiced in the secondary schools curriculum and also in specialist language schools. It is however notable that the departments in universities are a bit slower to react to this and some never considered it seriously.

The reluctance to fight away translation especially at a time it was being used as a method of teaching was even unfashionable. This is apparent due to some factors. First it was due to the demand to bring up graduates for official examinations which actually required the examinees to assist in translation of passages either to or out of their mother tongues. The other reason was that due to failure to consider such issues with the care they deserve, one will tend to realize that even some lectures involved in language teaching apparently have insufficient knowledge, if not experience of any other teaching methods, and probably have little interest in striving to counter that. This may pose regrets but also perfectly understandable in a case where such lectures will be are evaluated primarily on their output as pertains to their research, confining oneself on the quality offered by them on the language teaching menace.

In this case, many of the teachers with no confidence with the teaching of foreign languages, they tend to be contended with the teaching of the language on the basis of just a few pages for the translation that they prepared and have actually been over years. Of late however there has been tremendous improvement in the attitude towards the application of translation, both as one of the academic discipline and also as a profession. Translation study is a currently a thriving field of research having an increasing institutional standing. Still bearing in mind that the thriving of the same is not by itself, teachers believe the insights that they have gained in recent years calls for the reassessment of the translation’s role in language pedagogy. It even alleged that to some extent, the reassessment is already is underway2 but, as pointed out, there is much a lot of work to be accomplished to ensure the establishment of an empirical foundation to form our practice (Richards, 2001).

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