Evaluate the role of the reform movement in the history of English Language Teaching focusing on the principles of the Reform Movement. [NU. 2013]
Ans. The Reform movement took place in the 19th century following innovation in language teaching. Because of this movement, language education experienced a dramatic change. The principles of the reform movement are:
i) Spoken language should be emphasized over written language.
ii) Student should hear the language first before they read it.
iii) Use of dialogues are given importance in the classroom to enhance communication skills in the target language.
- iv) Grammar-translation is avoided, and grammar is taught inductively in contexts.
v) Medium of instruction is the target language, and mother tongue should be avoided in the classroom as much as possible.
vi) Phonetics should be a part of teaching, and teachers need training on that.
Following this reform in language education, many new methods such as the Direct method, the Audio-lingual method, the silent way and so on emerged. These gave opportunities to teachers and students to look for meaningful ways to learn a language. Following are themajor contribution of the reform movement to language teaching:
i) The International Phonetics Alphabet was introduced, which made it easier to teach the sounds of the target language.
ii) Communication in the target language was emphasized, which switched the focus to conversation practice and drills in the classroom.
iii) The rote memorization of grammar rules was eliminated, and translation was avoided in the classroom, which made learning more interesting.
iv) A scientific analysis of languages began, and the study of psychology was connected to language teaching.
- v) Grammar and sentence structures began to be practiced in their contexts.
The reform movement, thus, changed the whole language teaching-learning scenario. People started viewing the importance of communication. Thus, language teaching became more practical and worth-while.
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