As with the Grammar-Translation Method, The Direct Method is not new. Its principles have been applied by language teachers for many years. Since The Grammar-Translation Method was not very effectife in preparing students to use the target language communicatively, the Direct Method became popular.
The Direct Method has one very basic rule : Not translation is allowed. In fact, the Direct Method receives its name from the fact thet meaning is to be conveyed directly in the target language through the use of demonstration and visual aids, with no recourse to the students’ native language (Diller 1978).
The goals of teachers who use the Direct Method
The teachers intend that students learn how to communicate in the target language and the students should learn to think in the target language.
What is the role of the teacher ? What is the role of the students ?
The teacher is more active than the studens. They are more like partners in the learning process.
What are some characteristics of the teaching/learning process ?
The teacher believe students need associate meaning and the target language directly. In order to do this, when the techer introduces a new target language word or phrase, he demonstrates its meaning through the use of, pictures, realia, or pantomime. Students speak in target language a great deal and communicate as if they were in real situations. Grammar is taught inductively; that is, the students are presented with examples and they figure out of the rue or generalization from the example.
What is the nature of student-teacher interaction ? What is the nature of student-student interaction ?
The initation of the interaction goes both ways, from techer to students or vice-versa.
How are the feelings of the students dealt with ?
There are no principle of the method which relate to this area.
How is language viewed ? How is culture viewed ?
Language is primarily spoken, not written. They also study culture consisting of the history of the people who speak the target language, the geography of the country or countries where the language is spoken.
What areas of language are emphasized ? What language skills are emphasized ?
Vocabulary is emphasized over grammar. Althogh work on all four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) occurs from the start, oral communication is seen as basic.
What is the role of the students’ native language ?
The students’ native language should not be used in the classroom.
How is evaluation accomplished ?
The students asked to do so using both oral and written skills. For example, the students might be interviewed orally by teacher o might be asked to write a paragraph about something they have studied.
How does the teacher respond to students errors ?
The teacher, employing various techniques, tries to get students to self-correct whenever possible.
Strategy of Direct Method
Grade Level: Upper Elementary to Adult
This method often develops around a set of pictures that portrays life in the country of the target language. From the beginning, students are taught, and must respond, in the target language. Besides pictures, realia and simple actions are used to get across meaning. Lessons often focus around question-and-answer dialogues. Correct pronunciation is also emphasized, but correct structure is not.
Students may also read passages for information about the target culture. Teachers may ask questions about the reading to check comprehension, but it is never translated.
- The teacher shows a set of pictures that often portray life in the country of the target language.
- The teacher describes the picture in the target language.
- The teacher asks questions in the target language about the picture.
- Students answer the questions as best they can using the target language. Pronunciation is corrected, but grammatical structure is not.
- Students may also read a passage in the target language.
- The teacher asks questions in the target language about the reading.
- Students answer questions as best they can using the target language.
Applications and Examples of Direct Method
- The teachers shows a picture of a beach in Florida. (Tourist posters work well for this.)
- The teacher describes the picture: “There is a beautiful beach in Miami. It is near the ocean. There are some people on the beach. They are wearing bathing suits. The woman is wearing a hat. The man is swimming. The children are building a sandcastle. There is a man selling icecream. The children want to buy some ice cream. Their father will buy them some ice cream. The teacher may also use realia and other material to help students understand the vocabulary.
- Students are asked questions such as:
Where is the beach?
What are the people wearing?
What is the woman wearing?
What is the man doing?
What are the children doing?
What is the man selling?
What do the children want?
Who will buy them ice cream?
- Students give the answers. The teacher corrects pronunciation but is not overly concerned about grammatical correctness. The main goal is that students are communicative.
- Students are then given a short reading about tourist attractions in Miami.
- Students are then asked questions about the reading.
Strengths of Direct Method
- This is a quick way for students to learn basic conversation skills.
- This teaching method is helpful to teachers who do not know their students’ first language (L1).
Weaknesses of Direct Method
- Some students may be overwhelmed without access to their first language.
- Higher-order discourse is not likely to be learned through this method.
- Not appropriate for learning academic literacy skills.