The direct method of teaching, sometimes called the natural method. Not limited to but often used in teaching foreign languages, the method refrains from using the learners' native language and uses only the target language. It was established in Germany and France around 1900. Characteristic features of the direct method are: • teaching concepts and vocabulary through pantomiming, real-life objects and other visual materials • teaching grammar by using an inductive approach (i.e. having learners find out rules through the presentation of adequate linguistic forms in the target language) • centrality of spoken language (including a native-like pronunciation) • focus on question-answer patterns
1. Classroom instructions are conducted exclusively in the target language. 2. Only everyday vocabulary and sentences are taught during the initial phase; grammar, reading and writing are introduced in intermediate phase. 3. Oral communication skills are built up in a carefully graded progression organized around question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes. 4. Grammar is taught inductively.
5. New teaching points are introduced orally.
6. Concrete vocabulary is taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract vocabulary is taught by association of ideas. 7. Both speech and listening comprehensions are taught.
8. Correct pronunciation and grammar are emphasized.
9. Student should be speaking approximately 80% of the time during the lesson. 10. Students are taught from inception to ask questions as well as answer them.
The key Aspects of this method are:
I. Introduction of new word, number, alphabet character, sentence or concept (referred to as an Element) :
• SHOW...Point to Visual Aid or Gestures (for verbs), to ensure student clearly understands what is being taught. • SAY...Teacher verbally introduces Element, with care and enunciation. • TRY...Student makes various attempts to pronounce new Element. • MOLD...Teacher corrects student if necessary, pointing to mouth to show proper shaping of lips, tongue and relationship to teeth. • REPEAT...Student repeats each Element 5-20 times. NOTE: Teacher should be aware of "high frequency words and verbs" and prioritize teaching for this. (i.e. Teach key verbs such as "To Go" and "To Be" before unusual verbs like "To Trim" or "To Sail"; likewise, teach Apple and Orange before Prune and Cranberry.)
II. Syntax, the correct location of new Element in sentence:
• SAY & REPEAT...Teacher states a phrase or sentence to student; Student repeats such 5-20 times. • ASK & REPLY IN NEGATIVE...Teacher uses Element in negative situations (e.g. "Are you the President of the United States?" or "Are you the teacher?"); Students says "No". If more advanced, may use the negative with "Not". • INTERROGATIVES Teacher provides intuitive examples using 5 "w"s (Who, What, Where, Why, When) or How". Use random variations to practice. • PRONOUNS WITH VERBS Using visuals (such as photos or illustrations) or gestures, Teacher covers all pronouns. Use many random variations such as "Is Ana a woman?" or "Are they from France?" to practice. • USE AND QUESTIONS...Student must choose and utilize the correct Element, as well as posing appropriate questions as Teacher did. III. Progress, from new Element to new Element (within same lesson):
A. Random Sequencing:
1. After new Element (X) is taught and learned, go to next Element (Y). 2. After next Element (Y) is taught and learned, return to practice with Element (X). 3. After these two are alternated (X-Y; Y-X; Y-Y, etc), go to 3rd Element (Z). 4. Go back to 1 and 2, mix in 3, practice (X-Y-Z; Z-Y-X; Y-Y-Z, etc.) and continue building up to appropriate number of Elements (may be as many as...
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