The Direct Method of English Teaching

·         Since the earliest times, there have been many changes in the ways of learning and teaching of English language.
·         Let us have a look at the direct methods of learning /teaching the English language.
·         Since the grammar-translation method wasn’t very effective in preparing students to use the target language communicatively, the direct method became popular.

What is meant by direct method of teaching English?

·         The method Direct is named “direct” because meaning should be connected directly with the target language without translation in to the native language.
·         Procedure
·         Only English used
·         A lot of teacher-students dialogues, later systematic  teaching of grammar and vocabulary
·         Mainly speaking, both communication and stressed a grammatical syllabus
·         The Direct teaching method is a method of foreign and second language teaching which consist that only the target language should be used in class and meaning should be communicated “directly” by associating speech forms with action, objects, mime, gesture and situations.
·         The direct method has one very basic rule: no translation is allowed. In fact, the direct method receives its name from the fact that meaning is to be connected directly with the English language, without going through the process of translating in to the students’ native language.

Characteristics of direct method of teaching English:-

·         The direct method of teaching English is one the most widely known methods. It enjoyed immense popularity because it overcame the two major defects of the Grammar-Translation method. It substituted “Language contact” for “Grammar recitation” and “Language use” for translation.
·         The salient feature of the direct method of English teaching as follows:
A.      Emphasis on oral language
B.      Intensive speech practice, usually with training in phonetics.
C.      The exclusive use new language.
D.      The approach initially inacceptable any choice to the mother tongue either for exercise on translation or for clarification of vocabulary and grammar.
E.       It was hopefulness expected that by banishing the language from the classroom the students would be compelled to do their thinking in the new medium.
F.       The learner experiences the new language in the same way in which he has experienced his mother tongue.

Aims of direct method of teaching English:-

·         The direct method aims at establishing a direct bond between experience and expression. According to the direct method, the students should think directly in English.
·         There should be no intervention of the mother tongue in the translation method the student comes across a sentence in the English language (say E).  He immediately thinks of its native language equivalent (say N), and then he thinks of the idea or the concept underlying that sentence. So in the translation method the link is like this:
E———-> N————-> C
·         Where’ E ‘stands for the English language, N for the native language and c for the concept.
·         In the direct method there is no intervention of the native language. So the link is like this:
E————-> C
·         The direct method aims at developing an instinctive unerring language sense in the people.
The principles of the Direct Method in teaching English:-
1.       Reading in the target language should be taught from the beginning of the language instruction; however, the reading skill will be developed through practice with speaking. Language is primarily speech. Culture consists of more than the fine arts (e.g. in this lesson we observed the students studying geography and cultural values.
2.       Objects (e.g., realia or pictures) present in the immediate classroom environment should be used to help students understand the meaning.
3.       The native language shouldn’t be used in the classroom.
4.       The teacher should demonstrate, not explain or translate. It is desirable that students make a direct association between the target language and meaning.
5.       Students should learn to think in the target language as soon as possible. Vocabulary is acquired more naturally if students use it in full sentences, rather than memorizing.
6.       The purpose of language learning is communication (therefore, students need to learn how to ask questions as well as answer them).
7.       Pronunciation should be worked on right from the beginning of language instruction.
8.       Self-correction facilitates language learning.
9.       Lesson should contain some conversational activity—some opportunity for students to use language in real contexts. Students should be encouraged to speak as much as possible.
10.   Grammar should be taught inductively. There may never be an explicit grammar rule given.
11.   Writing is an important skill, to be developed from the beginning of language instruction.
12.   The syllabus is based on situations or topics, not usually on linguistic structures.
13.   Learning another language also involves learning how speakers of that language live.
Advantages of Direct Method in Teaching English:-
·         The following are the advantages of the Direct Method in teaching English:-
·         Direct method helps learner to acquire correct pronunciation.
·         It provides better understanding
·         Time saving
·         Helped in teaching idioms
·         It provides better fluency of language
·         Based on psychological principle
·         No gap between active and passive vocabularies.
1.     It is natural method:
·         In the direct method the order of teaching is observing, listening, speaking, reading and writing. This is the natural order of learning a language. The method makes use of demonstration and conversation.
2.     It gives fluency of speech:
·         As a lot of attention is paid to oral training in this method, the students acquire fluency of speech. This is the reason why students who are taught by the direct are fluent speakers as compared to those who are taught by the translation method.
3.     It improves pronunciation:
·         As the students are made to speak a lot and they are also taught phonetics, their pronunciation improves.
4.     It aids written work:
·         Fluency of speech leads to case in writing.  To express themselves in writing, the students have only to learn spellings, if a students can express as himself clearly in speaking, he can express himself in writing as well.
5.     It facilities the study of literature:
·         It is believed that since the student acquires an ear for the language in direct method, it facilities the study of literature.
6.     It makes use of audio-visual aids:
·         Audio-visual aids are used in the direct method. This makes the lesson interesting.

Disadvantages of Direct Method Teaching of English language:-

·         Direct method is difficult as there no use of mother language.
·         It isn’t economical as it is requires various teaching aids.
·         Mayn’t be suitable for average or weaker students.
·         It requires competent teachers.
·         It gives overemphasis on listening and speaking skills.
·         It isn’t effective in early stages of learning.
1.     It is an incomplete method:
·         Direct method lays too much emphasis on speaking. It neglects reading and writing. The tendency is to give insufficient attention to reading and not to teach written work systematically.
2.     It requires efficient teachers:
·         Every teacher can’t make a success of the direct method. Only that teacher can work out this method successfully, who is good at English? Especially conversational English.
3.     It requires linguistic minded students:
·         Direct method can succeed only with those students who are linguistically minded, that is, students who have got a fine ear for the language. Only the clever child can profit by this method.
4.     Material facilities aren’t available:
·         Direct method requires the use of audio-visual aids, but these aren’t available in a majority of our schools.
5.     The classes are over-crowded:
·         Small classes are needed for the direct method so that the teacher can pay individual attention. But in a majority of schools the classes are very large.
6.     It is difficult for explanation:
·         The meaning of new words in the direct method is explained by material association, explanation in the target language and use in suitable context. The mother tongue is not used although in certain cases its use more economical and effective in telling meaning.



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