Bilingual Method

C.J. Dodson (1967) was the proponent of the bilingual method.

It is used for teaching a foreign language and it is complementary to the audiovisual method. From the beginning, the sandwich technique is used to convey the meaning bilingually.

The mother tongue is used for bilingual pattern drills. The bilingual method follows three stages (presentation, practice and production) while teaching English but ELT practitioners and scholars have neglected it.

Butzkamm & Caldwell (2009) have taken forward Dodson’s ideas and Hall & Cook (2012: 299) supported it.

Principles of Bilingual Method :-

  1. Meaning of new words, phrases, idioms, sentences and grammatical rules is conveyed through L1 in the initial stage of the lesson;
  2. Pattern practice is given only in English;
  3. L1 is used only by the teacher to explain vocabulary and phrases.

Merits of Bilingual Method :-

  1. Learners’ L1 scaffolds L2 learning
  2. Learners become functional bilinguals
  3. Avoids meaningless and tedious parroting of the learning input
  4. Learner comprehends grammar and vocabulary easily with L1. Time is saved
  5. Importance is given to L1 and its culture.

Demerits of Bilingual Method :-

  1. If the teacher fails to understand this method, there is a danger of making this method into translation method;
  2. There is every chance to get confused while differentiating the features of the L1 and foreign language;
  3. The teacher must be fluent in L1 and L2 also; and 4. Learners may rely more on their L1.