Language Learning: Advantages and Disadvantages of the Traditional Methodology

Traditional teaching methods are sometimes described as „chalk and talk,” when the teacher uses the chalkboard to explain concepts for the majority of the lesson and the students occasionally ask or respond to questions. Throughout the lecture, the teacher is the one who decides what the learners should and shouldn’t be doing. The learner’s primary responsibilities are to listen, focus, and take notes. The benefits of using traditional methods for teaching English include structured learning, a foundation in grammar, teacher control, familiarity, and preparation for standardised tests.

For teaching grammatical conventions, vocabulary, and sentence structure, traditional techniques frequently offer a precise and organised framework. This can help students in picking up the language’s fundamentals. Grammar principles are the main emphasis of traditional methodology, which may provide students with a solid foundation for comprehending sentence structure and producing cohesive sentences.

Because traditional methods may be more in line with students’ prior educational experiences, they may find it simpler to understand the teaching style. Nevertheless, traditional methods might be helpful for preparing students for standardised language competence examinations, which frequently place a strong emphasis on vocabulary and grammatical skills.

The benefits of the traditional methods include rapid feedback (the teacher has the opportunity to assess knowledge; students may also ask for clarification), which gives learners a sense of community. The traditional education has the benefit of never allowing certain routines to be violated, which is something that should be addressed and appreciated by authors. The teacher should begin the class by reviewing the material from the prior lesson, according to all methodological manuals. For instance, the teacher may assess each student individually by asking them to come to the chalkboard and complete an exercise or react to a question, or the entire class may take a written test. The teacher may give a brand-new topic and have students practise it with activities as the following phase. The teacher summarises the subject and assigns homework for the following lesson at the conclusion of class. The subject of the prior lesson is first revised, either by the class as a whole or by a single student. The second element is the new material, which includes activities once the teacher has explained it.

Lack of communication skills, limited practical application, boredom and disengagement, lack of critical thinking, unauthentic contexts, fear of making mistakes, uneven skill development, limited cultural understanding, low motivation, and non-interactive classrooms are all drawbacks of traditional methods of teaching English.

Students’ ability to speak successfully in real-life settings may be hampered by a curriculum that only emphasises grammar and rote memorization. Because speaking and listening skills may not have been prioritised in traditional teaching techniques, students may find it difficult to apply what they have learned in interpersonal interactions. Repetitive exercises and teacher-centered education can make students bored and disengaged, which lowers their drive to learn. Traditional methods may not promote these essential skills for effective language communication, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and the use of creative language. Traditional teaching techniques frequently include contrived phrases and exercises that don’t reflect real-world language usage, making it more difficult for students to apply what they have learned. Overemphasising grammatical accuracy might make students afraid to make mistakes, which limits their motivation to try new things and practise their language skills. Using traditional techniques might cause students to acquire their skills unevenly, with some students performing well in grammar but having difficulty in speaking and listening. It is possible that traditional techniques fall short in addressing cultural subtleties and the pragmatic use of language in various circumstances. Students may find traditional methods boring and fail to recognise the content’s applicability to real-world situations, which lowers their willingness to study.

The teacher-centered strategy may inhibit student collaboration and interaction, both of which are important especially for language learning.

Time and space restrictions, rigid schedules, and the loss of individualization in a big class of pupils are also drawbacks of the traditional methodology. There is no flexibility to develop a personalised study plan that is tailored to each learner’s needs. Moreover, the teacher-centered approach is undoubtedly one of the most crucial components.

The function of translation in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) in the classroom, which has long been a contentious topic, should not be disregarded while discussing traditional methods. Although the bilingual strategy advises against using L1 in the L2 classroom can aid students in learning L2 more successfully, according to those who favour the monolingual approach holds that only L2 classrooms should utilise the target language encourages learners’ critical thinking and helps them acquire the target language as good as L2 proficiency. The translation of sentences from or into the mother tongue and communicating in the learners’ first language reveals whether the students have correctly understood the main point, the concept of a new word, or the grammatical relationship between the words. It is possible that using the students’ mother tongue is a good way to save valuable time. The teacher should make clear the conceptual distinctions between the two languages early on and assist students in developing accurate conceptions in English. If a mistake still occurs, the instructor needs to fix it as quickly as feasible.

The conclusion drawn from the aforementioned notions is that traditional language education is based on a old-fashioned approach to the target language and sees the language as a vast collection of words that are joined in accordance with the rules rather than as a living, breathing system of grammar. The traditional approach concentrates on solitary vocabulary words and grammatical structures. It is anticipated that students would be able to utilise the language after learning the rules and lexical elements.

It is important to carefully use the conventional methods and take into account its drawbacks. Traditional methods have several drawbacks, and integrating communicative activities, genuine resources, real-world situations, and interactive learning experiences can help solve these drawbacks and provide a more all-encompassing environment for language acquisition. Students can ultimately receive a thorough and successful English language education by using a balanced strategy that blends the advantages of conventional and current approaches.


Scrivener, James, Learning Teaching, Macmillan Publisher, 2011

Scrivener, Jim, Learning Teaching, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2005

Walberg, H., Productive teaching, In H. C. Waxman & H. J. Walberg (Eds.), New directions for teaching practice and research, Berkeley, CA: McCutchen Publishing, 1999


prof. Carmen-Lidia Nistor

Școala Gimnazială Mihai Eminescu, Brăila (Brăila) , România
Profil iTeach:

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