What is Direct Method?
Direct method is one of the popular method like Grammar translation method or Bilingual method. Direct method is a method of teaching English which aims at introducing English language directly to the students. In the same way as the child learns mother tongue. There is no use of translation. Students try to imitate or learn English naturally.
Direct method of teaching English came from France in 1901. It originated as a reaction to the grammar translation method. As it is an oldest method of teaching which mainly focus on grammatical explaination and translation of a language pattern without purpose for which the language pattern is to be taught to the students. And the direct method focused on giving practical knowledge of English language to the students.
Direct method, also known natural method because the students learn English in a natural way. Students learn association of words and sentences with their meaning through demonstration, dramatization, role play and some other activities without using mother tongue. So there is no interference of other language in the form of translation.
Champion explains the meaning of direct method, –
“It is a method of teaching English directly. To teach English directly is to establish a direct association between experience and expression, between the English words, phrases, and its meaning.
Thus, the direct method of teaching English originated as a reaction to the grammar translation method. In this method English is taught to the students, directly without interference of any other language. The central idea of this method is the association of words and sentences with their meanings through dramatization, demonstration, pointing etc. Here students learn English naturally. Therefore, this method called as a natural method of teaching.
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Merits of direct method
1 Natural method: It is a natural method of teaching because in this method students learn English in the same way as they learn mother tongue. The language is taught through various activities, demonstration conversation in the context.
2 It facilitates understanding of English: In this method the learner acquires the ability to understand directly; what he hears or reads in English. There is a direct association between objects or English words and its meaning which facilitate better understanding of English.
3 Fluency of speech: This method emphasis on aural-oral words. There is not intervention of mother tongue, so students think in English. Therefore, he finds himself self-confident and easy to express his thought in speech and writing. Students learning English through this method converse in English with great fluency.
4 No gap between active and passive vocabularies: If English es learn through the mother tongue, there is a gap between active and passive vocabularies. But in direct method there is no use of mother tongue, students acquires great vocabulary because his attention is concentrate only on understanding in English.
5 Commands over language: direct method enables students to acquire a command over English language. As the learners speaks English all the time whether right or wrong; their primary error disappear and in few years they acquire the full command over it like a native speakers.
Demerits of direct method:
The followings are the limitation of direct method.
1 Incomplete method: direct method emphasis only on the oral appeal. It does not suit an average child. This method has one sided approach. Hence, only those students who have sensitive ear and facile tongue will benefit by it. It does not good for those children who learn more with their eyes. Because their visual appeal is stronger than the aural-oral appeal. So this method is incomplete.
Breton says about this method, “only the clever child can be profited by this method”.
2 Greater weaknesses in practice: This method focus mainly on the drill work. The weakness of this method becomes clear more in practice than in theory. It gives insufficient attention to reading and written work.
3 Misuse of mother tongue: in direct method, mother tongue is not use that is why it makes difficult to explain the meaning of each and every word by English. Students may give some other meaning which is different from the desired one.
4 Lack of environment:
Lack of another environment is another limitation of direct method. Especially in our country. A foreign language cannot be taught unless there is a suitable learning environment. English is taught as a second language and even as a first language in English medium school, but we can not stop the use of mother tongue.
5 Suitable teachers are not available: one of the important points is here; this method can be a useful tool in the hands of an efficient and resourceful teacher, who has a remarkable command over spoken English. The incompetent teachers with inherent deficiencies in their English would do little justice to the language with its verities of tenses, sentences, structures, voices etc. and it is difficult to find a suitable teacher for this method of teaching.
The direct method of teaching English originated as a reaction to the grammar translation method. In this method English is taught to the students, directly without interference of any other language. The central idea of this method is the association of words and sentences with their meanings through dramatization, demonstration, pointing, etc
Direct method has many advantages as well as disadvantages which discussed above. To know more you can visit Wikipedia