Toward a New Eclecticism in Modern-Language Teaching


  • 1

    RICHARD E. BOSWELL (Ph.D., Yale Univ.) is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at the State Univ. of New York, Binghamton.


ABSTRACT  There are three approaches current in American modern-language teaching: rule-implementation, direct, and behaviorist, and they are manifested primarily in the grammar-translation, direct, and audiolingual methods. Direct method stresses association of words and their concepts; audiolingual method stresses mastery of the surface structure; and grammar-translation stresses the rational analysis of language. The main psycholinguistic issues are semantic, whether to stress meaning or grammar, and cognitive, whether to stress conscious or unconscious learning. Our profession is moving, as, indeed it should, in the direction of an electic method which eschews parochial adherence to a single principle of learning and which takes cognizance of all factors and combines the three methods in a well-integrated manner.