Dr. West’s New Method
Dr. West had done research on teaching English as a foreign language in India and developed this method as a response to the Direct Method. This method focuses on the English language needs of Indians. He states that learners in India need to read English, write it, speak it and comprehend it when spoken.
According to Dr. West, teachers should teach silent reading skills first to improve reading comprehension skills. So, teachers lay more emphasis on the habit of silent reading. In order to develop silent reading as a habit in learners, he proposed a reading book, which has interesting reading text and selected vocabulary.
Dr. West recommended an essential vocabulary-list of 2,280 words, which have been classified as:
- General Words :- excellent, beautiful, polite, etc.
- Essentials words :- that, in, the, will, etc.
- Common environmental words :- pencil, table, pen, plate, etc.
- Specific environmental words :- plant, park, stream, hill, etc.
New words are spread evenly across the lesson. Mother tongue is used based on necessity. Supplementary materials are used to arouse interest in learners for silent reading. Learners’ reading comprehension is evaluated using tests.
According to this method, English is a skill subject and that reading English is the easiest way to speaking and writing. The method also stresses the need to relate the written work with oral work. In this method, grammar is considered not as a diet, but as a drug.
The West’s method lays emphasis on three important elements: a. reading, b. readers with selected and graded vocabulary, and c. well-judged use of the L1.
Principles of Dr. West’s New Method
The following are the principles of the method :-
- Memorization and mimicking are common in language learning.
- New structures are explained in L1.
- Grammar is taught inductively using model sentences.
- Initially, conversation practice is given in a controlled environment.
- Lectures, discussions and dramatization are used in the intermediate and advanced levels.
Merits of Dr. West’s New Method :-
- Learners improve their silent and extensive reading comprehension skills phenomenally by using different types of questioning – local, global and inferential.
- Any teacher can teach this skill, especially silent reading.
Demerits of Dr. West’s New Method :-
- Too much of attention is given to silent reading and it is difficult to evaluate; 2. Reading in the initial stage is dull and uninteresting.
- Reading has been given an exaggerated status.
- The order of acquiring basic skill has been challenged.
- It does not help Indian learners to achieve the four-fold objectives of language learning.