Teaching Methods


Grammar Translation

Approx. 1900 - Approx. 1960

This method focuses on gammatical rules. These were learnt by the students and then they applied them in translation. Communication wasn't very important nor was pronunciation, but it did allow students to translate literature written in the target language.

Direct Method

Approx. 1910 - Approx. 1930

This method stated that we should learn our second language in a similar way to our first language. We managed this through immitation, association and induction.


Approx. 1950 - Approx. 1970

It was developed during the Second World War for military personnel. It was composed by listening and speaking drills and patterns in English. This method focused on syntax instead of morphology and vocabulary, but it lacked creativity as it made learners memorize what they sometimes didn't understand.

Total Physical Response

Approx. 1970 - Present

TPR consists of having the teacher give a command and the student following it. This puts the teacher in the role of a parent and the student in the role of a child. Through TPR a student can repeat vocabulary, remember it and then use it outside of the classroom. This may be a very fun activity but some students might find it quite childish or shy kids might not want to take part in the lesson. An example of this method is the game "Simon Says".

Community Language Learning

Approx. 1970 - Approx. 1980

CLL makes the learner the client and the teacher the counselor. In this method the students decide what they want to talk about, creating their own conversations and nudging them toward producing speech. This means the teacher must intervene as little as possible and only to answer students' questions. The group's conversation is recorded so they can then analyze what they've said. The problem may be that not everyone likes talking from the get go and they may have trouble beginning a conversation.

The Silent Way

Approx. 1970 - Approx. 1980

This theory states that the teacher should stay silent as much as possible to try to encourage his/her students to speak as well as get them to notice things on their own. The teacher uses gestures or graphic resources instead of speaking. This method requires very autonomous and responsible students as they will be doing most of the work. The teacher, on the other hand, must be able to observe his/her students as well as have creativity in order to avoid speaking.

Natural Approach

Approx. 1977 - Approx. 1985

This method states that students may only become fluent in a second language through acquisition, this is through meaningful contact with the language. The main focus relies on vocabulary and communication, this means the teacher should provide information that the students will easily understand. There are three hypotheses that go along with this method: Natural order, Input and Monitor. These three basically say that we must recieve input just a bit above our current level, that learning only works as a monitor to polish up what we have already acquired and that we have emotional filters that affect our language acquisition.


Approx. 1978 - Present

This method uses Classical or Baroque music along with very long dialogues to stimulate the learners memory. Students are asked to sit in comfortable seats and the dialogues are read while the music is playing in the background. The teacher then asks what the students remember and explains the use of parts of the dialogue in an everyday conversation. This way students remember those chunks due to the relaxed state they were in when they heard them. The problem may be that not everyone can focus with the music playing and some learners may find it childish.