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

By Alvior, Mary G.

Dr. Mary Gillesania Alvior has PhD. in Curriculum Development from West Visayas State University. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching English Language at De La Salle University, Manila as CHED scholar. She worked at the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu in Saudi Arabia as an English instructor and curriculum developer. Her committee was responsible for the development of an english curriculum based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) and used the English Language Proficiency Exams as assessment tools. In 2016, she moved to Thailand and taught at the St. Theresa International College. She was able to teach English and Education courses to college and MA students. In the Diploma in Teaching course, she was able to observe different classes in Thailand. From pre-school to high school classes, from private to government schools, from small private schools to the most elite schools, and from local schools to international schools. Her students came from 14 countries and some of them are retired from famous organizations and graduates of Oxford University, McGill University, National University of Singapore, MIT, British Columbia, among others. Her experiences in a multi-cultural environment made her exposed to different curricula and programs abroad. Curricular programs that are industry-related, innovative, and follow global standards. The kind of programs that are much needed by developing countries.

8 replies on “How to Use the Grammar Translation Method”

Hi, Jihad. I’m so sorry but I haven’t developed any video lessons yet for online purposes. Please pray that I can do that someday.

What great ideas . I benefited from them very much.I wish i could have some examples of the assigned article ,situations and translation passages.

Hello mr
the teacher asked me to apply memorization on a passage
memotization is one of GTM
please how can I apply it on a passage?

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