Over the last couple days, the BLC was asked to write up a proposal as to why future Bible translators should learn biblical languages using Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methodologies, rather than the traditional Grammar-Translation (GT) approach.  Below is the list of 10 reasons as to why we believe CLT is so much better than GT.

  1. Increased efficiency: it is estimated that students learning new languages in courses that apply CLT as the BLC does with its “Living Biblical Languages” are able to double their rate of learning.
  2. CLT accomodates all learning styles, and does not restrict the effective learning of a language to the analytical learner only as is typically the case with GT.  It allows for all students to climb to their maximum levels in the language, so that all students end up performing better than they would with GT.
  3. CLT is a much more natural way for multi-linguals to learn new languages.  We recall an incident in Africa where a Hebrew instructor from the United States, near the end of his term teaching first year biblical Hebrew in Kenya, was asked by one of his students when they would begin to learn Hebrew!  These multi-linguals recognized the difference between learning about a language and learning the language.
  4. By using CLT, the discourse functions of the various structures of biblical Hebrew will be internalized and discussed already in this “introductory” course, rather than waiting until intermediate/advanced levels, so that students can start to ask about why one structure is chosen over another.
  5. Many of the central and common verbs, which tend to be irregular, will be deeply learned right from the beginning.  This is in contrast to delaying them as GT typically does when it teaches regular verb paradigms first, resulting in poor control of these basic verb forms.
  6. Learning this way allows students to correctly perceive words for what they are in live contexts and helps them avoid false etymological assumptions.
  7. CLT stimulates the students into asking natural questions about language usage: asking practical questions about “how did one say that?” rather than artificially forcing the language into a system of extrapolated or assumed grammar rules that result in “un-natural” creation or readings of the language.
  8. A key component of CLT is that it facilitates internalization of the language, rather than just studying about a language and only analyzing it.
  9. CLT is proven to result in much longer retention of the language.
  10. And finally, learning a language using CLT allows students to continue growing their language skills well after the course is over, and to do so much more efficiently than when taught with GT.

Can anyone think of other reasons?