Direct Method – English Methodology

September 5th, 20117:32 am


Direct Method – English Methodology

Direct Method


The Direct Method (DM) appeared as a reaction to GTM and the failure to produce learners who could use the foreign language they had been studying.

The Direct Method was based on the belief that students could learn a language through listening to it and that they learn to speak by speaking it – associating speech with appropriate action, like the way the children learn their native tongue. The Direct Method received its name from the fact that meaning is to be related to the target language directly, without going through the process of translating into the student’s native language.

The various “oral” and “natural” methods that developed at the turn of the century may be grouped under DM. The students learn new words and phrases from objects, actions and mime. When the meaning of words could not be made clear, the teacher would resort to semantization but never to native language translations. From the beginning, students are accustomed to hearing complete meaningful sentences in the target language. Grammar is taught at a later stage inductively, i.e. numerous examples of a certain principle are presented and the rule is then inferred from these examples. An explicit grammar rule may never be given.

Students 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 memorising long lists of words. Vocabulary is emphasised over grammar. Although work on all four skills occurs from the start, oral communication is seen as basic. Thus, the reading and writing exercises are based upon what the students have orally practised first. Pronunciation also receives due attention from the beginning of the course. Besides studying everyday speech, the learners also do history, geography, and culture of the country or countries where the language is spoken.

The teacher who employs DM asks the students to self-correct their answers by asking them to make a choice between what they said and alternate answer he supplies. There are, of course, other ways of getting students to self-correct. For example, a teacher might simply repeat what a student has just said using a questioning voice to signal to the student that something was wrong with it. Another possibility is for the teacher to repeat what the student said, stopping just before the error. The student then knows that the next word was wrong. There are also other options of remedial work.

The main principles of DM can be summarised under the following headings:


1. FL used throughout.

2. Audio-visual approach.

3. Speech before reading.

4. No translation – meaning conveyed through visuals / mime.


1. Fluency in speech

2. Capacity to think in target language

3. Meaningful everyday language

4. Grammar to be induced from practice

5.   Explanations in foreign language


1. Lively procedures in classroom

2. Correct pronunciation

3. Absence of rule-giving

4. Learning through doing


1. Plunges learners too soon into unstructured situations

2. Foreign-Language learner not like infant native-language learner

3. Neglect of systematic structural practice

4. Dangers of inducing wrong rule

5. Tremendous energy needed by teacher

Близнюк М.І. Курс лекцій з методики викладання англійської мови. – Чернівці: ЧДУ, 1999 – с.