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Presentation,Practice and Production approach to language teaching between the critiques and the proposed alternative methods - Dissertation Example

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Presentation,Practice and Production approach to language teaching between the critiques and the proposed alternative methods

Cook (2011) maintained that the term foreign language refers to “a language acquired in a milieu where it is normally in use” (p. 140). Meanwhile, a second language may be defined as “one that becomes another tool of communication alongside the first language … [and] is typically acquired in a social environment in which it is actually spoken” (Cook, 2011, p. 140). The aforementioned distinction, therefore, is grounded on two dimensions: social and location. The social dimension deals with meeting the communicative need of the learner whereas the location dimension has something to do with the usage of the language in the native locale of the learner (Cook, 2011). Richards and Rodgers (2001) emphasized that current issues in language teaching has been around for centuries and has remained unchanged. Throughout the centuries, the study of foreign languages has shifted importance from one language to the next. In a world where six out of ten individuals speak a language which is different from their mother tongue, speaking two or more languages has become the norm rather than an exception. Five hundred years ago, Latin was the prominent language used for education, commerce, religion, and government, particularly in the Western World. During the 16th century, other languages rose to prominence such as French, Italian, and English. These languages eventually supplanted Latin as the language of choice for verbal and written communication (Richards and Rodgers, 2001). Though Latin was relegated as a subject of study in schools, it has become a model for instruction for foreign languages. Instruction was composed of grammar rules, declensions and conjugations, translation, and writing sample sentences. In addition, parallel bilingual texts and dialogues are utilized in teaching. For modern languages, the mode of instruction remained the same in most aspects. Students are provided textbooks on abstract grammar rules, vocabulary lists, and sentences for translation. However, this approach was grounded on the grammatical system of the language, limiting its ability to facilitate genuine communication. This traditional approach to foreign language instruction was referred to as the grammar-translation method (Richards and Rodgers, 2001). In the United States, the grammar-translation method was known as the Prussian method, due to its German scholarly origins. This method has seven characteristics: (1) the goal of foreign language study is grounded on mental discipline and intellectual development; (2) reading and writing is prioritized over speaking or listening; (3) vocabulary instruction is confined to reading bilingual word lists, dictionary study, and memorization; (4) the sentence is the basic unit of teaching and practice; (5) accuracy is prioritized; (6) grammar instruction is deductive in nature; and (7) the speakers native language is utilized as the medium of instruction (Richards and Rodgers, 2001). The grammar-translation method was widely used for European and foreign language instruction until the 1940s. However, it has been subject to much criticism, mainly on the grounds that its approach to teaching foreign languages mostly involved pointless memorization of vague grammar rules and vocabulary, and translation of stilted or literary prose, much to the frustration of countless students. Mounting opposition to this approach led to the development of new methods of ...Show more

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Presentation, Practice and Production Approach to Language Teaching Between the Critiques and the Proposed Alternative Methods 1.0.   Introduction It is a generally accepted phenomenon that learning English as a foreign language is not an easy task for students…
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