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Historical Overview of Language Teaching Approaches
Grammar Translation (1880)
Purpose (Why / Who)
To teach aristocracy, often rich
young men, how to read Latin
and Greek
to teach culture and morality
language for its
New an intellectual exercise
Deductive Grammar Speaking
Content (What)
Classical books, such as Homer
and the Bible
Long passages of text
Different genres: poetry, short
Practice (How)
Translation and ‘back’
Deductive grammar instruction
reading comprehension
fill in the blanks
memorization of vocabulary
positions (writing essays)
Direct Approach (1910)
To teach students who want to
study or visit other countries
To travel
To experience culture: not just
classic literature, but geography,
history, and people
Dialogues and conversations
Passages about how other
cultures live (geography,
politics, culture)
maps, visual aids (objects and
Inductive grammar instruction
Reading a loud
Conversation practice
Map drawing and information
Question and answer
self-correction, when possible
Reading Approach (1930)
 To teach students who
will most likely never
leave the country
 To teach a practical skill
students might actually
 To teach by using
teachers who are not
native language speakers
 Readings that are leveled
to the learners’ knowledge
 Vocabulary words from
those readings
 Grammatical items from
those readings
 Deductive grammar
 Memorization of
 translation
 oral proficiency not
 evaluative performance
 through testing is
Audio-lingual Approach (1940)
To teach soldiers how to speak
so they can communicate with
enemies and partners
to teach anyone who needs to
connect orally/aurally
Visual supports (objects and
language mimicry
Habit formation drills: chain,
single and multi-slot
substitution, transformation
Dialog memorization
use of minimal pairs
grammar games
Cognitive Approach (1960)
to comprehend how languages
to inquiry and publish
to recognize the unique
properties of the human mind
not truly a classroom approach.
A way of understanding a
Instead of techniques, experts
focused on characteristics of
the students' brains and
strategies they can use to
improve their learning.
Affective Humanistic (1970)
to respect student feelings as
they learn a language
to increase the speed of learning
bright pictures, posters
music and fine art
Positive supporting
Choosing a new identity
Multiple certs: reading a
dialogue with music in the
background and playing it
multiple times
spontaneous, creative thought
through dramatic
interpretations, games, singing
and dancing
Comprehension Approach
To help make meaning clear (to
make input comprehensible)
To help learners benefit
confidence so that they are
willing to produce language.
classroom objects: a door, a
table, a chair.
Visible actions: jump, sit, walk
Use of aids
Role reversal
Action chain
Communicative Approach
To connect people together in
order to create opportunity and
To like other cultures and places
To utilise a language
Carefully leveled books with
Use of authentic materials
high interest themes
Pictures trips
Books often contain four skills:
Information gap exercises
reading, writing, listening and
Language games
Group and pair work
Books also contain exception
pronunciation, grammar culture,
learner strategies, speech acts,
and vocabulary