My teaching approach
The Direct Method vs The Grammar Translation Method
The English language
teaching tradition has been subjected to many changes, especially throughout
the twentieth century. In this short paper we will briefly touch upon the
direct method and the grammar translation method, two different approaches to
The direct method was an answer to the dissatisfaction with the older
grammar translation method, which teaches students grammar and vocabulary
through direct translations and thus focuses on the written language.
At the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries, Sauveur and
Franke proposed that language teaching should be undertaken within the
target-language system, which was the first step to the rise of the direct
method. The learner learns the target language through discussion,
conversation, and reading in the second language. It does not take recourse to
translation and foreign grammar. The first steps to learning English are taught
while pointing to objects or pictures or by mimicing actions.
According to H.G
Palmer, The Direct Methos has the following:
1. Translation in every shape or form is not allowed in
the classroom, including the use of the mother tongue or a bilingual
2. Grammar, when it is taught, is taught inductively.
3. Oral teaching is used much more than any form of
reading and writing.
4. The use of disconnected sentences is replaced by
5. Pronunciation is taught systematically in accordance
with the principles of phonetics and phonology of the target language.
6. The meanings of words are taught in natural context.
7. The vocabulary and structure of the language are
inculcated by the teacher and answered by the students.
The Direct Method aims at establishing a direct relationship
between thought and expressions and between experience and language. it is
based on the idea that learners should experience the new language in the same
way they experienced their mother tongue. In the Grammar Translation Method,
the foreign concept or idea is first translatd into the mother tongue and then
In the Direct Method the intervention of the mother tongue
is done away with, the learner understands what he reads or hears in the second
foreign language without thinking of the mother tongue equivalence. He also
speaks or writes the foreign language without the need of translating his
thought from the mother tongue into the forein language. He acquires what
Champion calls "the instinctive, unerring language sense whiwh we all possess
in variant degree in the mother tongue".
Principles of The Direct Method
1. Oral training
The Direct MEthod emphasizes the value of oral training in
learning a foreign language.
2. Sentence is the unit of speech
The teaching of English starts with the teaching of
sentence patterns rather than individual words.
3. inductive Teaching of Grammar
Grammar of the target language is not taught for its own
sake. It is a means to an end. Its aim is to allow the learner to correct his
The 2 methods differ radically. The direct method avoids
association between the foreign language and the mother tongue while the
Grammar Translation Method maintains close association between the foreign
language and the mother tongue.
Even if they both
put emphasis on speech, one teaches the language by "use" and not by
"rule" and the other by "rule" and not by use. In my
opinion, The Direct Method seems more organic and its aim is to develop
communication skills. However, even if at first glance it seems more modern and
appropriate to teach with the Direct Method, one can wonder if students get
adequate command over written language.