Lili Jenks

My teaching approach

TEFL Student:

Lili Jenks

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 teaching English.

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 dictionary.

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 connected texts.

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 understood.

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 own errors.

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.

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