Methods to enhance language skills

Language training methods may be taught as general school subjects, through specialized training schools, or even through rich proprietary methods online.

Many different methods are used to teach languages. Some have fallen into relative obscurity while others are widely used; yet even those that have a small following offer useful insights. However, three of these methods enjoy significant use and dominate the language market.

Each method has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Although many language-training sources may speak about exclusive or unique approaches; they are usually using one of the following three methods with rare exceptions.

The Direct Method, the Grammar-Translation Method, and the Audio-Lingual Method

The Direct Method is also known as the Oral or Natural Method. It is based on the active involvement of the learner in both speaking and listening to the new language in realistic everyday situations. The process consists of a gradual acquisition of grammatical structure and vocabulary. The learner will be encouraged to think in the target language. He or she hears and uses the language before seeing it written. The writing is done with homework that reinforces what has been taught during the lesson.

On the other hand, the Grammar-Translation Methodology is based on analysis of the written language using translation exercises; reading comprehension, and written imitation of texts. Language learning mainly involves the mastery of grammatical rules and memorization of vocabulary lists. This method grew from the traditional method of teaching Latin and Greek.

The third most recognized language training method is the Audio-Lingual Method, also known as the Aural-Oral Method. It is a self-teaching method. Learning is based on repetition of dialogues about everyday situations that are imitated and drilled to make the response automatic. Reading and writing are both reinforcements of what the student practices.

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Other language training methods

Besides these three famous methods, there are other language learning methods that are well known, such as The Structural Approach Method. This method treats language as a system with elements that have a coded meaning. Language is set as a complex system of grammatical rules which need to be learned one at a time. For example, the verb “to be” is introduced and practiced before the present continuous tense which uses “to be” as an auxiliary.

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), also known as the Communicative Approach, focuses on interaction as the ultimate goal of learning a new language. The focus of this method is to enable the learner to communicate effectively and appropriately in the various situations he or she would be likely to find themselves in. The content of CLT courses are functions such as inviting, suggesting, complaining, and notions such as the expression of time, quantity, and location. This method has been criticized throughout several years but it continues to be popular, particularly in Europe.

The Suggestopedia Method is an additional language learning method which is based on pseudoscience. The theory describes several methods that the student can choose; so that the mental blocks of learning the language are eliminated.

This method had very strong critics and was slowly removed from language learning popular methods.

The Immersion Method is another form of learning a new language. This one is particularly popular in the United States and is also called Foreign Language Immersion, Dual Immersion, or Indigenous Immersion.

Students are engaged in the language for the whole school day; and are expected to learn different subjects in the desired language.

The Natural Approach

An additional technique of learning a new language is the Natural Approach; which combines the similarities between learning the first and second languages. This theory believes that there are no mistakes and it is imperative that the student be exposed to the language in order to become comprehensive.

Lastly, the Lexical Syllabus is based on computer analysis; which identifies the most common words in the desired language and their variety of uses. This approach teaches these words in frequency order. There are several approaches for learning a language; and it is important to research and decide which could properly suit you in your goal of learning a new language.

In closing, there are many different styles of learning a new language available today. Some, such as The Direct Method, The Grammar-Translation Method, and The Audio-Lingual Method are widely used and accredited throughout the world.

Others like The Structural Approach, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), The Suggestopedia Method, The Immersion Method, The Natural Approach, and The Lexical Syllabus are less common; but some students find that they suit their needs.

Before entering into the exciting time of learning a new language, talk with Global Arena and discover all your training options.

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