The direct method of teaching was developed as a response to the Grammar-Translation method. It sought to immerse the learner in the same way as when a first language is learnt. All teaching is done in the target language, grammar is taught inductively, there is a focus on speaking and listening, and only useful ‘everyday' language is taught. The weakness in the Direct Method isits assumption that a second language can be learnt in exactly the same way as a first, when in fact the conditions under which a second language is learnt are very different.
The teacher explains new vocabulary using realia, visual aids or demonstrations.
In the classroom
Aspects of the Direct Method are still evident in many ELT classrooms, such as the emphasis on listening andspeaking, the use of the target language for all class instructions, and the use of visuals and realia to illustrate meaning.
The Direct Method
The Direct Method was the outcome of a reaction against the Grammar Translation Method. It was based on the assumption that the learner of a foreign language should think directlyin the target language. According to this method, English is taught through English. The learner learns the target language through discussion, conversation and reading in the second language. It does not take recourse to translation and foreign grammar. The first verses are taught while pointing to objects or pictures or by performing actions. According to H.G. Palmer, The Direct Method has thefollowing:
1. Translation in every shape or form is banished from the classroom including the use of the mother tongue and that of the bilingual dictionary.
2. Grammar, when it is taught, is taught inductively.
3. Oral teaching precedes any form of reading and writing.
4. The use of disconnected sentences is replaced by the use of connected texts.
5. Pronunciation is taught systematically inaccordance with the principles of phonetics and phonology of the target language.
6. The meanings of words and forms are taught by means of object or natural context.
7. The vocabulary and structure of the language are inculcated to a large extent by the teacher and answered by students.
The Direct Method aims at establishing the direct bond between thought and expressions and betweenexperience and language. It is based on the assumption that the learner should experience the new language in the same way as he experienced his mother tongue. In the Grammar Translation Method, the foreign concept or idea is first translated into the mother tongue and then understood. But in the Direct Method the intervention of the mother tongue is done away with the learner understands what hereads or hears in the second or foreign language without thinking of the mother tongue equivalence. Likewise, he speaks or writes the foreign language without the need of translating his thought or idea from the mother tongue into the second/foreign language. He acquires, what Champion calls that instinctive, unerring language sense which we all possess in variant degree in the mother tongue, andwhich superseding all rules, grammar and dictionaries, resting at bottom on the direct association between experience and expression, is the only sure guide in the use of language.
1. Oral Training
The direct Method emphasizes the value of oral training in learning a foreign language. The pupil is given sufficient practice in listening to the language and then speaking it. It alsolays emphasis on the knowledge of phonetics so that the learner may be able to acquire intelligible pronunciation. Oral training helps in establishing direct association between the words of the foreign language and the ideas for which they stand.
2. Inhibition of the Mother Tongue
Another way of securing bond between experience and expression is to inhibit the use of the mother tongue....