This research paper is made to find out how many different methods are being used in different schools in Latvia and to draw a conclusion what should be the most effective way how a new language should be taught based on the gathered theoretical material.
To understand better what is a learning process and how it works a survey was created. The research methods that were used in this paper consist of the analysis of the theory, types and methods of teaching and how those methods are used in schools.
Consequently, 12 teachers were surveyed. The most used teaching approach was reading, the second most used – audiolingual approach. However, the use of grammar-translation approach was not as frequent. The silent approach was not used at all. It was concluded that reading method was used the most, for the reason that all of the teachers said that it is the most effective method to start teaching and learning process.
Before the late nineteenth century, second-language instruction mirrored the so-called Classical Method of teaching Latin and Greek; lessons were based on mental-aerobics exercises—repetition drills and out-of-context vocabulary drills as well as lots of reading and translations of ancient texts. (15). Nowadays, teachers use a different kind of approaches in teaching their students.
The main goal of this research paper is to examine the use of teaching methods in schools.
The research questions have been formulated in the following way:
What is the language learning process and what factors affect it?
How can many language teaching methods be used in a language teaching process and how they have changed historically?
How many different methods are being used in reality?
The enabling objectives of this research are:
1.To gather and study theoretical material on the language teaching methods and learning processes, their historical development, and factors that affect it.
2. To create a survey for different foreign language teachers in four different high schools in Latvia, to get the information about which is the most used teaching method and what teachers think about teaching process of a new language.
3. To analyze gathered answers
4. To draw conclusions
The research methods used in this paper comprise the analysis of theoretical material on research, its types and methods and analysis of how those methods are used in lessons. The theoretical framework is based on works of the following authors: Rosamond Mitchell &Florence Myles (2004), Richards, Jack C. (2001), Nathaniel Gage (1997), David Nunan (1997), Ralph Berry (2004), (Sardiko, 2004).
The paper includes two chapters. The first chapter provides a definition, division, and important aspects of research itself as well as discusses five teaching methods. The second chapter is devoted to the analysis of methods that are used in chosen schools by particular teachers, it brings out results and the main conclusion.
1. The Notion and Methods of Research
In this chapter, the notion and division of research is presented as well as aspects that need to be considered. In the theoretical framework was found a description of research methods and it will be explained and described.
1.1 Defining the Notion of Research
According to a definition by David Nunan, a research ‘is a systematic process of inquiry consisting of three elements or components: (1) a question, problem or hypothesis, (2) data, (3) analysis and interpretation of data’ (Nunan, 1997: 3).
However, Ralph Berry (2004) in his theory provides a definition that presents research as a demonstration of mastery in scholarly disciplines, since this demonstration might be presented in various ways and characterized with different titles, objectives and lengths.
While, by Sardiko, research is a ‘form of investigation in which data are collected and analysed’ (Sardiko, 2004: 17).
From which it can be concluded that this is a form of investigation, which might appear in different forms and should consist of interpretation of gathered data, proving the accuracy of a before-stated hypothesis. Overall research must present the usage of mastered scholarly disciplines.
Research can be divided into many different categories, based on certain research aspect. The two types that are often drawn out are inductive and deductive research. Deductive research at first poses a theory or a hypothesis an only afterwards ‘searches for evidence either to support or refute that hypothesis or theory’ (Nunan, 1997: 13). Meanwhile, inductive research from single instances tries to form them under one theory.
Furthermore, to prevent inaccuracy when conducting a research, avoiding plagiarism is of most importance. Summering definitions, provided by Berry (2004) and Paul Oliver (2003), plagiarism is a failure to indicate the exact source when the idea borrowed from another author. Berry states, it is as bad as writing ‘another author’s exact words’ (Berry, 2004: 55), which is also classified as plagiarism.
To summarize, the analysis of several theories on research has revealed that it is a complex process of interpreting and collecting certain data, which has many types and categories.
1.2. Defining the Methods for Research
Throughout the theoretical framework for this study five methods have been mentioned: action research, experimental method, ethnography, introspective, interaction and case study.
Firstly, the action research. According to Berry’s theory, it is situational and targets the identification and ‘solution of problems in a specific context’ (Berry, 2004: 18).
Secondly, experimental method, which includes an ‘investigation conducted under controlled circumstances’ (Sardiko, 2004: 16).
Lastly, a case study is a combination of methods that study one certain subject in detail (Sardiko, 2004: 16). This method is discussed in both Nunan’s and Sardiko’s books, dividing case study into four subtypes (see Appendix 2).
To conclude, a research, according to the theory, is a systemized investigation that shows off researcher’s scholarly disciplines, research must consist follow certain steps, and the aspects to be considered, when conducting the research, are validity, reliability, and plagiarism. In the theory six methods of research have been mentioned: action research, experimental method, ethnography, introspective, interaction and case study, the last can be divided into four subcategories. With this knowledge, the practical part of this research paper was carried out.
2. The analysis of different language teaching methods
To analyze these methods survey was conducted. Purpose of the survey was to determine usefulness and effectiveness of different language teaching methods. Also to find out how many different methods are being used in different schools in Latvia and to draw a conclusion what should be the most effective way how a new language should be taught based on our gathered theoretical material. The survey was given to 12 teachers from schools that the authors were studying. Teachers were introduced to five approaches: The grammar- translation, the direct approach, the reading approach, the audio-lingual approach and the silent way.
The direct method of teaching, which is sometimes called the natural method, and is often (but not exclusively) used in teaching foreign languages, refrains from using the learners’ native language and uses only the target language. It was established in Germany and France around 1900. In this method, the teaching is done entirely in the target language. The learner is not allowed to use his or her mother tongue. Grammar rules are avoided and there is an emphasis on good pronunciation.
The grammar-translation method is a method of teaching foreign languages derived from the classical (sometimes called traditional) method of teaching Greek and Latin. In grammar-translation classes, students learn grammatical rules and then apply those rules by translating sentences between the target language and the native language. Advanced students may be required to translate whole texts word-for-word. The method has two main goals: to enable students to read and translate literature written in the source language and to further students’ general intellectual development. It originated from the practice of teaching Latin; in the early 1500s, students learned Latin for communication, but after the language died out it was studied purely as an academic discipline. When teachers started teaching other foreign languages in the 19th century, they used the same translation-based approach as had been used for teaching Latin. Learning is largely by translation to and from the target language. Grammar rules are to be memorized and long lists of vocabulary learned by heart. There is little or no emphasis placed on developing the oral ability.
The audio-lingual approach, Army Method, or New Key, is a style of teaching used in teaching foreign languages. It is based on behaviourist theory which postulates that certain traits of living things, and in this case humans, could be trained through a system of reinforcement. The correct use of a trait would receive positive feedback while incorrect use of that trait would receive negative feedback. The theory behind this method is that learning a language means acquiring habits. There is much practice of dialogues in every situation. A new language is first heard and extensively drilled before being seen in its written form.
The Silent Way is so called because the aim of the teacher is to say as little as possible in order that the learner can be in control of what he wants to say. No use is made of the mother tongue.
The Reading Approach- The priority is studying the target language first, reading ability and second, current and/or historical knowledge of the country where the target language is spoken.
Results from the survey showed that the most effective approach among our teachers is reading approach. Teachers admitted that firstly they use this approach and only then they add others if needed. A second most effective method is the audiolingual approach. Pluses of this approach are that students firstly are trained to speak correctly using dialogues and other exercises. Teachers said that students like this method because they can use language as a tool to express their thoughts. And the third most effective method is direct approach. Teachers try to speak with students only in a language that they need to learn, students can practise the language more. But it is important to know the grammar too, so teachers like to combine a different kind of styles. Teachers told that it depends on students and their skills and knowledge when they choose what kind of approaches they use in class. Sometimes one approach works better than other it depends, it is work in process. Because it is important to achieve the best possible result while teaching a language.
To sum up the results, teachers tend to use methods they see works the best for their students. It is not always one approach, sometimes they mix the approaches to get better results.
This research focused on analyzing different teaching approaches.
The purpose of this paper was to examine what teaching methods are being used in different schools in Latvia and to draw a conclusion what should be the most effective way how a new language should be taught based on our gathered theoretical material.
In order to accomplish this goal, research questions such as what is the language learning process and what factors affect it, how many language teaching methods can be used in a language teaching process and how they have changed historically, how many different methods are being used in reality? To answer those questions, the theoretical material was studied and the survey was gathered, conclusions were drawn. The research was conducted according to the theory provided by Rosamond Mitchell Myles (2004), Richards, Jack C. (2001), Nathaniel Gage (1997), David Nunan (1997), Ralph Berry (2004), (Sardiko, 2004).
Consequently, 12 teachers were questioned and their answers analysed. Teachers mostly use three methods in their daily teaching routine. Teachers tend to use methods they see works the best for their students. It is not always one approach, sometimes they mix the approaches to get better results.
To further develop this research paper, an additional study could be done upon what students think is the best teaching approach. Furthermore, results could be analysed, whether there are certain approaches that both students and teachers think are the most effective.
The present research paper can be used for conducting a research for such scholarly article or as an example for another research on language teaching approaches.