How to Use the Grammar Translation Method

This article briefly explains the goals and characteristics of Grammar Translation Method (Villamin et al., 1994). It also includes some ideas in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

Goals of Grammar Translation Method

  1. To read literature in a target language.
  2. To memorize grammar rules and vocabulary of the target language.

Characteristics of Grammar Translation Method

  1. The major focus is on reading and writing with little or no systematic attention to listening and speaking.
  2. Vocabulary words are chosen from the reading text used. Teachers teach vocabulary words through memorization, bilingual word list, and dictionary.
  3. The basic unit of teaching and language practice is the sentence. Most of the lesson is in sentence translation from and into the target language.
  4. Deductive method is used in grammar. Rules are presented and studied. Then, students will practice through translation exercises.
  5. New grammatical or vocabulary items in the target language are explained in students’ native language in order to have a comparison between the target language and the students’ native language.
  6. Students are expected to attain high standards in translation. They must be accurate in translating the sentences into their target language and vice-versa.

Some Ideas in Teaching

With the goals and characteristics of this method, the following activities can be done in the classroom:

  1. Ask the students to take 5 vocabulary words from their favorite song and then translate it in English.
  2. In teaching a particular lesson in grammar, ask the students to memorize the rules, and they should give their own sentences as samples.
  3. Ask the students to take down the conversations of their friends in their native language, and then translate it in English.
  4. Ask students to write 10 verbs from the article assigned to them, and then they should give the synonyms and antonyms.
  5. Ask students to memorize at least 5 words per day in English and give their native language equivalent.

Some school administrators or teachers may disagree with the idea of using the native language in explaining vocabulary words or grammar rules because they want the students to be exposed only with the target language in order to effectively acquire and master it.

However, there is no hard and fast rule of what is the best method or strategy. It would be best if the teacher will use different ways and find out what is suited to his/her students by conducting an action research.

So, for those who would like to work on this as an action research, what are you waiting for?


Villamin, A.M., Salazar, E.L., Bala, E.C., & N.R. Sunga (1994). Innovative strategies in communication arts. Quezon City: Phoenix Publishing House, Inc.

© 2015 January 10 M. G. Alvior


  1. jihad December 11, 2015
    • Alvior, Mary G. March 30, 2017
  2. Datucan Rachman October 2, 2016
    • Alvior, Mary G. March 30, 2017
  3. wafaa June 22, 2019
    • Alvior, Mary G. August 3, 2019
  4. Wipa November 17, 2019
  5. Mamad Mohsin January 22, 2020

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