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Home » » Compare and contrast the GTM and Situational Language Teaching

GTM and SLT share some similarities and differences. GTM emerged earlier than SLT. Educators and researchers were disappointed with GTM in language teaching, which led them to come up with some major innovations in language teaching SLT was one of the methods that emerged out of the innovation around the 1990s. 

The goal of language teaching is very different in GTM and SLT. While GTM aims at developing knowledge in the target language so that learners can read the classical texts in the language, SLT clearly aims at developing oral proficiency in the language. Because of this difference in the objectives, GTM and SLT differ in their principles, techniques, and teachers' and students’ roles in the Classroom. 

GTM does not follow any language learning theories. This was the earliest teaching method. Therefore, the principles of GTM are that learners will develop their knowledge through reading and translation of literary texts in the target language. However, SLT is based on a specific learning theory, which is called behaviorism. Learning is considered a process of habit formation. So, the principles of SLT are based on this theory. It emphasizes forming learners’ habits through practicing the target language, and developing oral proficiency while avoiding mistakes. 

Following the above objectives and principles, GTM and SLT adopt some specific classroom techniques. GTM stresses literacy, so learners are expected to translate literary passages from and into the target language, memorize vocabulary and sentence structures and produce error-free sentences. SLT, on the other hand, makes learners practice language structures and vocabulary through drills. Learners are given sentences in situations, such as pictures to practice the target language orally. Here, GTM and SLT seem to be similar as they both emphasize accuracy in producing language structures. Memorization is a common technique in both methods so that learners can avoid mistakes. Yet, the major differences in the activities are that GTM focuses on literacy and uses the mother tongue as the medium of instruction, but SLT focuses on oral fluency and uses the target language as the medium of instruction. 

The role of the teacher in GTM and SLT is similar in the sense that both give authority to the teacher in designing and implementing the lessons in the classroom. The teacher is considered to be the model, and students are supposed to follow them. However, SLT expects more from the teacher than GTM. For example, in SLT teachers have to present structures to the students while setting up Situations and model the structures in front of them. GTM expects teachers only to present specific texts so that learners can translate and memorize them. Learners are more passive in GTM than in SLT because they only memorize and translate in GTM, while they actively take part in drills in SLT. 

Therefore, GTM and SLT are different methods of language teaching. In spite of some similarities, they are very different in terms of their objectives, techniques, and learning outcomes in the classroom. This is why the methods have to be applied based on Situations and learners’ needs in the classroom.


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