Nowadays there are many options to learn a language; some schools have the best methods for reaching that goal but only some of them truly apply them. The possibility to learn a language involves some factors that are pointed directly to teachers. For this reason, different methods have been appearing through time. As it is mentioned in previous essays, the methods have changed for different reasons; one of them is because of the need to improve the complete skills of the student. This essay is focused on one of these methods that is called “The Direct Method” and discover the history, what are the main characteristics of this method, what are the advantages and disadvantages, what is the role of the student and the teacher and at the end is going to be presented some activities that teachers could apply when they use this method. This method was developed because of the bad comments that people had at that time of the “Grammar – Translation Method”. It was developed in France and Germany around 1900 making a radical change of the method that existed at that time. Freeman (1966) mentioned that the principals of the “Direct Method” have been applied by language teachers for many years and that it was revived as a method when the goal of instruction became learning how to use a foreign language to communicate. This method became popular because this it is focused on preparing students to use the target language in order to achieve communication. This resulted a complete change in those times because the “Grammar-Translation Method” was the only that existed because of the disadvantages that this represented. Fortunately, “The Direct Method” appeared to counter all this problematic and have a complete develop of the students communicative skills. This method had different names at the beginning of its creation. Before the real name, some people proposed to call it: “reform method”, “natural method” “psychological method”, “phonetic method”, etc. But the most persistent term to describe the various features of new approaches in languages teaching was “Direct Method” There are some characteristics of this method and The British Council explained that one of them is that all teaching is done in the target language, grammar is taught inductively: that is the students are presented with examples and they figure out the rule or generalization from the examples. Moreover, there is a focus on speaking and listening, and only useful “everyday” language is taught. The pronunciation had a fundamental participation because teachers started to recognize the problems that students had when trying to speak the language. Also, the fact that students speak in the target language a great deal and communicate as if they were in real situations. The vocabulary is teaching through pantomiming, real-life objects and other visual materials. As we realize, this method is about being in contact with the target language. Some advantages of it are that learners can easily follow the pace and content for the lesson. Lesson objectives for each stage are clear and simple. So, this means that students are not worried for other things, only for learning. Lessons are prepared to feature a specific grammar or structure point, specific key lexis or vocabulary, develop reading, listening comprehension and vocabulary skills. For this reason it doesn’t imply a difficulty for teachers, because they can teach every topic step by step. As well, this method makes the students to get involve totally with the language. In the other method, communication was null, no sense of speaking was required, so students were not prepared at the time to speak with other people in the target language. However, this method makes a total emphasis on language communication. Students are more prepared when they want to communicate with foreign people and don’t have problems to complete the circle of communication.
On the other hand, “The Direct Method” has disadvantages too. Addysg (2001) mentioned some of them. For instance, the major fallacy of Direct Method was belief that second language should be learned in way which first language was acquired – by total immersion technique. But obviously much less time is took and opportunity in schools increases, compared with small children learning his mother tongue. Also, teachers need to have competence with the language, energy, imagination for a material production. If this is not possible with the teacher, the class is going to have a wrong effect on the students and they will probably feel disappointed about the teacher and with the method he uses. For this reason, teachers have to be really prepared for this because their goal is that students learn how to communicate in the target language. In order to do this successfully, students should learn to think in the target language. Likewise, the role of the teacher in this method is to direct the class activities in less passive way. Teachers and students are more like partners in the teaching / learning process. The objective of this method as Freeman (1986) concluded is that students will learn to communicate in the target language, partly by learning how to think in that language and by not involving L1 in the language learning process. Some activities during the class that teachers can apply are those that involve reading aloud, question and answers exercise, conversation practice, fill-in-the- blank exercise, dictation and map drawing. This activities are going to put the students’ attention in the develop of the learning. In conclusion, we already know what the main characteristics of this method are, its advantages and disadvantages. Likewise, some history is mentioned about how and why was created this method and which is the role of the teacher and student during the class. As a personal opinion of this method, I think is a great option because emphasizes the four areas of the language. Vocabulary is emphasized over grammar. Although work on all four skills (reading, writing, speaking, and listening) occurs from the start, oral communication a basic. The Direct Method is a highly effective method in terms of creating language, in addition to the competent use of the target language successfully. Bibliography
1.- Adran, A (2001) “Direct Method” Retrieved from: http://www.aber.ac.uk/~mflwww/seclangacq/langteach5.html 2.- Freeman, D. L ( 1986) “ Tecniques and principles in language teaching” New York: Oxford. 3.- Stern, H. H. (1983)." Fundamental Concepts of Language Teaching". China: Oxford University Press. 4.- The British Council “ The Direct Method” Retrieved from: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/think/knowledge-wiki/direct-method