HISTORY OF CLT

In the twentieth century, there are two types of language teaching approaches: getting learners to use language (to speak and understand it) versus getting learners to analyze a language (to learn its grammatical rules). Greek and Latin as the classical language were used as lingua franca. They were used widely in philosophy, religion, politics, and business.

During the Renaissance, the Greek and Latin’s grammar were popular through the mass production of book which was made by the invention of the printing press.  The classical Latin which described in Renaissance grammar became the formal object of instruction in school, and the Latin being used for everyday purposes.

During the seventieth century, the focus in language study was utility rather than analysis. The methodologist, Johann Amos Comenius made explicit an indicative approach to learning foreign language; the goal was to teach use rather than analysis of the language being taught.

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the systematic study if the grammar of classical Latin and of classical texts had taken over in schools and universities throughout Europe. Then, the analytical Grammar-Translation Approach entrenched as a method for teaching not only Latin, but modern language as well.

By the end of the nineteenth century, the Direct Method, which once more stressed the ability to use rather than to analyze a language as the goal of language instruction. The Direct Method became very popular in France and Germany, and has many followers among language teachers even today.

In 1886, the International Phonetic Association held by scholars developed the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and became part of the Reform Movement in language teaching in the 1890s. The work of phoneticians focused on teaching of pronunciation and oral skills, which they felt had been ignored in Grammar Translation. The influence of the Direct Method grew up. In the early nineteenth century, it was used in the Atlantic.

Modern Language Association of America, based on the Coleman Report (Coleman 1929) endorsed the Reading Approach to language teaching, since given the skills and limitations of most language teacher.

The Reading Approach held sway in the United State until the late 1930s and early 1940s. US government hired linguists to help teach languages and develop materials: the Audiolingual Approach (Fries 1945), which drew heavily on structural linguists (Bloomfield 1933) and behavioral psychology (Skinner 1957), was born. Some historians of language teaching believe that the earlier Reform Movement played a role in the development of both Audiolingualism in the United States and the Oral-Situational Approach in Britain.

Source: Celce-Murcia, M. Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

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