Classical Approaches to Teaching English as a Second Language Essay

Classical Approaches to Teaching English as a Second Language Essay

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During the last hundred years, English has become the most important language in the world. In the contemporary age, learning any foreign tongue has become both fashionable and necessary. But is there a perfect method which can be applied to achieve the appropriate level of English?
I have been learning English for more than 10 years, but have never realized that there are so many different techniques and approaches to teach English as a second language. While studying, I have noticed that I had experienced some of them at the primary and secondary school. In this essay I would like to present my personal opinions and reflections about the approaches I encountered, the ways they were presented and exploited by my English teachers.
First, I want to concentrate on the Grammar-Translation Method. Personally I think that many teachers use this technique while teaching a foreign language, but they do not even realize it. We may contend that it is the most common method, due to the fact that it is considered to be quite easy. I contend there is nothing more complicated than to give students a passage to translate from one language to another. Is it interesting or challenging for the students? I do not think so. I remember I did a lot of translation at school and that was not my favorite activity. Besides, it was hard for us to find any purpose in them. Apart from that, most of my classmates were simply bored. Sometimes it was too difficult and we had to spend many hours to find the meaning of a particular word in a dictionary. Without a doubt, that was not the way I wanted to learn English. Furthermore, translating a literary text was something entirely useless for me. And although we were rarely exposed to such a translation...

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... teacher and gave the commands to the class. Our favorite game was “Simon says”. It was considered to be quite easy because students did not have to repeat the commands but respond physically. Even when somebody made a mistake and showed something in a wrong way, he or she was not discouraged, because for us it was like playing not learning.
In the final analysis, I must admit that I did not come across the perfect method to teach English. Every technique has its advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on the teacher; how and what he/she is going to adopt from a particular approach to his/her lesson. One thing I know for sure: we should not force students to learn a language in a way that is the best for us. To sum up I would like to quote a sentence which I found very interesting: “If the students don’t learn the way you teach, teach them the way they learn”.

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