The following methods are useful for teaching English in schools.

1. Grammar-Translation Method

2. Direct Method

3. Structural Approach


Grammar-translation method

The Grammar-Translation Method was, and still remains, one of the popular methods of teaching English. In spite of a number of improvements in the methodology of teaching a foreign language, the teachers do not seem to have given up the method of translation.

(a) Principles of Grammar-Translation Method:

Advocates of Grammar-Translation Method believe that:


(i) Translation into pupils’ mother-tongue in an easy way to learn English words and phrases and sentences.

(ii) By comparing and contrasting the English structure with that of the mother- tongue, the child can best understand the former.

(iii) The translation method will also help the students in attempting simple exercises in composition.

(b) Procedure of the Method


To know the language one must know its grammar and be able to recite its rules:

1. The method begins with the English reader.

2. The teacher reads the paragraphs, sentence by sentence, and translates the words, phrases, and sentences into the child’s mother-tongue.

3. The meanings of a few important English words in the mother-tongue are written on the black-board. The students copy these words in their exercise-books.


4. The students are asked to learn the meanings of a few selected words. They are also asked to translate a few sentences into their mother-tongue.

5. The pupils are required to recite the rules of English grammar.

By the above process, the pupils are expected to grasp (i) English words, phrases, and sentences; (ii) English grammar ; (iii) English structure patterns.

(c) Advantages claimed by the Grammar-Translation Method


1. It is an easy method. It is based on an important maxim of teaching: Proceed from the known to the unknown.

2. This method saves the teacher’s time as well as the pupils’. The child easily learns foreign words and structures.

3. The teacher’s work is made easy and light. His only work is to give word for word meaning of English into the child’s mother- tongue.

4. It is a practical method for teaching high classes and in minimum time.


5. It does not require the use of many teaching aids.

6. English grammar can be compared with the grammar of the mother-tongue. Thus it becomes easy to understand English grammar.

7. Whatever language material the pupils memorise, can be easily applied by them.

8. The teacher can test the pupil’s grasp of English quickly and easily.

9. Abstract words and phrases can be explained in simple mother-tongue.

(d) Limitations of the Grammar-Translation Method

1. This method ignores the natural way of learning a language i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing.

2. It aims at passive mastery of the language. The student cannot read extra material in English with grasp.

3. English is learnt through the medium of the mother-tongue. The children lose free expression in English.

4. It encourages word for word translation. The pupils may say; ‘The rain is falling’ for ‘It is raining’.

5. There is no scope for original writing in English. The pupils become dependent on their mother-tongue.

6. It binds the language within the rules of grammar.

7. There is no scope for learning spoken English.

8. It makes the students passive learners.

9. It makes the whole of teaching work dull and dry. The pupils develop distaste for the language.

In short, the pupils get to know about the language but they are unable to use it.