bi-lingual dictionaries a la mode
To each his own. I would welcome any dictionary to the class. I don't agree that not allowing any translation is a good method. The key is not allowing too much. Knowing how much to use is important, because too much is not helpful to the students either.
I learned Spanish through the translation method. While I eventually had to switch to Spanish only, for the first while, the bi-lingual approach greatly improved my learning experience. If you have ever studied using the Pimsleur system, you will know what I am talking about. I had tried learning using the traditional methods, using a university text and monoligual tapes. My progess was very slow and painful to say the least. Once I switched to using the bi-lingual tapes, I suddenly noticed rapid improvement in both comrehension and retension of new words. The problem with a monoligual approach is that the learner's mind will simply turn off because they can't comprehend anything. Having a few words of their own language helps to jolt their mind back to attention. I know there are many who will disagree, but to each his/her own. Especially when teaching kids in a foreign setting, if you don't give them something they can understand, they will simply tune you out and start doing something else.
Sure, for advanced levels a monolingual approach can work, as it should. After all, what does advanced mean if a student can't use the target language to explain words?
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