Direct Method, Basic Principles - Advantages, Disadvantages

Good method makes teaching good. So a teacher has to be very choosy as far as methods are concerned. There is a bunch of methods. Some of them areĀ  Grammar Translation Method, Bilingual , Eclectic , Direct Method etc. In this blog post, we shall talk about Direct Method, basic principles, advantages and disadvantages.

Direct method of teaching English means teaching English directly using target language. Here the target language is English. A teacher doesn't use the mother tongue in the class. Nor are the students allowed to use it. This method is totally in contrast of Translation Method.

A huge no of teachers are in favour of this method in teaching English. Webster in New International Dictionary has written -

Direct method is a method of teaching a foreign language, especially a modern language through conversation, discussion and reading, in the language itself, without the use of pupil's language, without translation.....

The teachers teach words by pointing to object or picture or by performing actions. But some experts don't consider it a method at all. According to them, it s a principle, system that operates through many methods.

Basic Principles of Direct Method -

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1. Direct relation between thought and words - Using this method, a learner things and speaks using the same medium.

2. Oral ( Speaking ) Practice - This method emphasizes on oral practice for everyone.

3. Functional Grammar - This method doesn't put emphasis on theoretical grammar. The main stress is on functional grammar.

4. No use of Mother Tongue - There is the complete prohibition on the use of mother tongue. Therefore, learners' main focus is on learning the Foreign language.

5. Limited Vocabulary - This method advocates the use of limited vocabulary, daily-use words. The words must be from requirement or needs of the learners.

6. Sentence as the unit of speech - Here, the unit of speech is a sentence. There is the emphasis on speaking the complete sentences.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Method -

Advantages -

1. The focus is on Oral Practice. Therefore, the pronunciation improves.

2. In teaching vocabulary such as words, idioms, this method is good.

3. As there is direct relation between thought and expression, it helps the learners in having good fluency. Using direct method, a teacher helps students having good command over English.

4. In this method, the teacher proceeds from particular to general and from concrete to abstract.

5. It makes the teaching English easier and more pleasant. A teacher uses various images/ pictures to illustrates his/her point.

6. This method creates the suitable environment for learning English Language.

7. As the unit of speech in Direct Method is a sentence, students learn to speak complete sentences without any hesitation. So they get confidence with command over good English.

Disadvantages -

1. Owing to over-emphasis on oral practice, the other skills namely reading and writing are ignored to a great extent.

2. Average and below average students, especially from rural background, find difficulty to grasp the things taught via this method.

3. This is an expensive method as the teacher is to use some aids for teaching.

4. For this method, competent teachers must be there. But there is the dearth of good English teachers in the country. Incompetent teachers can't use this method successfully.

5. In the early stage of learning, this method is completely unsuccessful.

6. The background at home must also be foreign language friendly for this method. The students whose parents can speak English well get more benefit from this method.

Despite its shortcomings, this method is good. But the teacher must be able to modify it for the benefit of the whole class.

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