How does the Grammar Translation Method differ from other language teaching methods?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Grammar Translation Method (GTM) of foreign and second language teaching is a language learning and teaching strategy in which language is translated verbatim, that is, word for word and accommodating accordingly by phrases.

Recent research shows that theĀ  Grammar Translation Method is best used for specific purposes entirely based on acquiring linguistic information in the raw. It cannot (or should not) be used as a way to teach language usage for communicative purposes. The reason for this is because GTM leaves behind meaning, semantics, idioms and other cultural elements that make language the communication tool that it is.

For that latter option there is the CALLA method, or the Communicative Academic Language Learning Approach, which is the academic infusion of the target language to the teaching of a lesson. This approach is awesome because it involves high cognitive and meta-cognitive skills, provides opportunities for scaffolding, and is followed by consistent assessment.

Other methods such as the functional-notional approach, and the Total Physical Response TPR approach involve the recognition of sounds and symbols through physically engaging activities. Kinesthetic learners would have a good time with that.

Although new methods continue to appear (Rosetta Stone, tandem asynchronous, synchronous, immersion, partial immersion, etc), the fact is that GTM is only good for quantitative or raw meaning methods and not for effective language acquisition.