Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Bilingual Method

The Bilingual Method

Objectives of the method are as follows:
1. to make the learners of a second/foreign language fluent and accurate in the spoken word.
2. to make the learners accurate in the written word.
3. to prepare the learners in such a manner that he may be able to achieve through bilingualism.

When a child learns the mother tongue, he forms the concept and grasps the situation and learns the meaning of words simultaneously. The advocates of the Bilingual Method believe that it is a waste of time to recreate the situation while teaching a foreign language. Their argument is that teaching-learning process is facilitated if only the mother tongue equivalents are given to the learner without duplicating the situation. The Bilingual Method, therefore, makes use of the mother tongue in this restricted manner. It differs from the Grammar Translation Method in two ways:

1. In the Bilingual Method it is the teacher who always makes use of the mother tongue to explain meanings and not the students.
2. The learner is sufficiently subjected to sentence pattern drills, which are not provided in the Grammar Translation Method. Moreover, in the Bilingual Method reading and writing are introduced early in the course of language teaching and there is an integration of the speaking and writing skills.

Advantages of the Bilingual Method:
Some of the advantages claimed for the Bilingual Method are the following:
1. The teacher is saved the botheration of maneuvering situations in order to convey the meanings in English only instead he gives the meaning in the mother tongue of the student.
2. The time thus saved is utilized in giving pattern practice to the learner.
3. Even an average teacher of English can teach through this method without any elaborate preparation.
4. The Bilingual Method promotes both fluency and accuracy. It promotes theory as it lays emphasis on speech and pattern practice. It promotes accuracy as the meanings of new words are given in the mother tongue of the learner.
5. It does not require any teaching aids and is suited to all kinds of school-rural and urban.
6. Unlike the Direct Method, which ignores the linguistic habits already acquired by the learner in the process of learning the first language, the Bilingual Method makes use of them.

1. A possible disadvantage of the method is that if the teacher is not imaginative enough, this method may degenerate into the Grammar Translation Method with all the attendant drawbacks.
2. Secondly, whereas, the Bilingual Method is useful at the secondary stage, the Direct Method is more useful than the Bilingual Method at the primary stage.




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