Applied linguistics is a branch of linguistics where the primary concern is the application of linguistic theories, methods and findings to the elucidation of language problems which have arisen in other areas of experience. The most well-developed branch of applied linguistics is the teaching and learning of foreign languages. Applied Linguistics can help researchers, clinicians and scholars improve their English communication skills strategically for success in their workplace, since English is an acceptable language of science and research. English is one a compulsory subject in almost every schools starting from kindergarteen until college. I would say that half Indonesians have, theoretically, been exposed to formal English education at certain point in their lives. However, in learning languages, a teacher needs methods to achieve learning goals, as well as in learning English, how and who should teach, the choice of activities, assignments, and the teacher’s learning experience. This is what is called the Language Teaching Methodology.
In my early school, I was focused on dictionary method considering that at the beginning of school, my teacher encouraged me to memorize as many vocabulary and verbs as possible in the printed dictionary. When I was in primary school, I took English course that using the same method. My teacher made it mandatory to memorize 100 verbs and vocabulary every week. My teacher emphasized those as the most important component for language learners because of the four language skills; reading, listening, speaking and writing require adequate these knowledge. Therefore, learning through the dictionary at that time was considered to be the learning style and the most appropriate method to improve my abilities as a young learner.
In junior high school, my English learning is more towards the Grammar translation method. I studied grammar rules and then implemented those rules by translating sentences between Indonesian and English. Then, my teacher required me to translate several sentences as part of the task of this method. Moreover, this method allows me to read and translate many words written in English, and to improve general intellectual development as well. Likewise, this method encouraged me to learn more vocabulary and improve reading and writing skills. This also activates my memory to remember more various parts of speech. However, this method also has weaknesses for me, including poor listening and speaking skills. It also makes pronunciation unnatural and inaccurate because the grammar translation method is not interactive.
Then, in senior high school, my English learning improved using the direct method. In the direct method, classroom teaching is done entirely in English. In this method, grammar is taught inductively. Moreover, correct pronunciation and grammar is emphasized, then both speaking and listening comprehension are also taught by my teacher. After going to college and joining the English department, I found various methods of learning starting from the reading method which encouraged me to read a lot of literature and linguistics subjects. My lecturers also use the audiolingual method, which impractically teach oral skills and reading should become the focus of learning. In this method, there is little or no grammatical explanation, great importance to pronunciation, very little use of the mother tongue by lecturers is permitted, and also vocabulary is strictly limited in context. In this method, I learn more about the meaning and use of language in context, and the relationships between words that build the meaning of a sentence. This method encourages me to learn automatically without stopping. Furthermore, this emphasized me to produce more sentences through essay assignments, papers, analysis, and so on.
Indeed, learning a language is not enough to use only one method to achieve the learning goal of being fluent. Therefore teachers and students need appropriate methods in applying theories to solve language problems, achieve learning goals, and enhance experiences in teaching and learning. In my opinion, apart from applying various language teaching methods, to be fluent in learning a second language such as English, we have to practice a lot. Especially now, we can use various kinds of technology that have made learning a lot easier.
A. Dictionary Method
One of the popular media used in vocabulary learning is the dictionary method. The dictionary is also an important resource for vocabulary teaching because dictionaries have several characteristics and functions with their list text and visual content, a dictionary provides a great opportunity for efficient and permanent vocabulary teaching. To form motivation and influence language learning it is necessary to have a special set of tools for language learning or, namely, a bilingual dictionary for students. With the help of this tool a student can complete difficult tasks. The learning process and word transmission from passive vocabulary to active vocabulary are facilitated by a dictionary. Tasks based on the use of the dictionary can be performed not only individually, but also in pairs, or in groups, thereby reinforcing new material (Meara 1983, 1987).
The use of a dictionary in learning English is a simple way and does not require difficult methods and techniques, a dictionary with a learning style in the form of reading, memorizing and remembering. However, this will make learning tedious, less creative in its application and monotonous. Therefore, in the application of this method, a more creative and fun innovation must be made. For example, the use of online dictionaries and game-based vocabulary memorization applications. Moreover, in online learning like nowadays, a variety of learning is needed so that students’ desire to learn continues to increase. Online dictionary learning and app-based vocabulary memorization is deemed sufficient to help students remember a lot of vocabulary especially with various visual, audio and features. Although this is an old method, with innovations in dictionary and smartphone-based applications, it will become more efficient.
B. Grammar Translation Method
The Grammar-Translation method is an important type of teaching methodology that teachers have to adapt to teach English as a second language. There are many reasons behind this, first, because it is an applicable and easy to do method. Second, the first intellectual action that can be used by the learner when they feel that the target language is interpreted by the native language cannot be expressed and that is the essence of this method. Third, the great benefit of combining knowledge of both languages frees the learner from ambiguity of the target language. Apart from the four skills in any language, grammar is a basic mainstay. Hedge (2000) states that teaching English grammar provides an explicit framework to ensure correct structure and accelerate the learning process. So the teaching of grammar must have a great deal of attention regarding the process of teaching a second language.
Grammar Translation Method is an old language teaching methodology. Although it is an old method, there are some English teachers nowadays who still implement Grammar Translation Method in order to help students learn English better. In this online learning situation, this method must also adapt to digital-based learning. In my perspective, the Grammar Translation method also requires innovation in learning, for example using learning applications to encourage learning at home, because of course learning will be more monotonous because there is no direct interaction. To make this method more efficient and attract students’ interest, a teacher should make it more creative, for example using the best game-based learning applications so that learning doesn’t get boring. Examples of applications that can be used in this method are Kahoot, Quizizz, and others. The teacher can give questions and determine the correct answer, this application is also fun because it requires students to make decisions, remember, and of course learning grammar translation is more enjoyable.
C. The Direct Method
The Direct Method is a method of teaching foreign languages for the ultimate goal of communication, where the teacher avoids using the students’ mother tongue (first language), and only uses the target language (English). There are several reasons why this method appropriate for me or even other student. First, As there is direct relation between thought and expression, it helps the learners in having good fluency. Using direct method, a teacher helps students having good command over English. Second, It makes the teaching English easier and more pleasant. A teacher uses various images/ pictures to illustrates his/her point. And the third, As the unit of speech in Direct Method is a sentence, students learn to speak complete sentences without any hesitation. So they get confidence with command over good English.
The application of direct methods in real life in situations of online digital learning learners requires better ideas so that the learning situation becomes interactive. In order to create interaction in this method, a learning platform is needed to overcome learning situations that cannot be face-to-face like today which also ensures students learn more efficiently. For example, teachers can use the zoom platform, google meeting and Whatsapp Group to interact directly without having to meet in person. This method is also safer, saves time, and can be done anywhere, even in the homes of individual students. To make it more interesting, the teacher can also divide students into several groups and ask them to have conversational or interactions online, for example making talk shows, panel discussions, and debates based on zoom or google meet. Likewise, teacher can ask student to make mind map, chart, and ilustration to make learning style more various. Also, make sure they use English completely, remembering the direct method is learning that presents English without using the mother tongue.
Completely, applied linguistics has helped us in our primary concern in language problems and the application of learning, especially in Language Teaching Methodology. There are three methods that I write in this paper, Dictionary method, Grammar Translation method, and Direct method. In the analysis and application, I describe a more creative application in learning styles to increase proficiency, especially in the current online digital learning situation. In my opinion, this method must be adjusted to the students’ abilities, consider the network conditions of each individual, and of course make an agreement on the right learning method to be used between teachers and students.
Hedge, T., 2000. Teaching and learning in the language classroom. Oxford: Oxford University Press
Meara, P. Vocabulary in a second language. Vol. 1. London: CILT, 1983.
Meara, P. Vocabulary in a second language. Vol. 2. London: CELT, 1987.