Monday, March 18, 2013

What Is The Direct Method For Teaching English?

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by William A Lake

Over time, the way that we teach second languages has developed and changed drastically along the way.

One of the earliest methods of teaching languages was called the grammar-translation method.

This method had many shortfalls and the direct method of teaching was developed around the beginning of the 20th century as an alternative.

The aim of the direct method of teaching languages was to teach students the target language in a way that is similar to their first language. For this reason, this method was sometimes known as the natural method.

This method immerses students in English. Teachers would use a range of things including flash cards, realia and more to teach vocabulary and teachers use a range of repetitive patterns to drill the students.

Moreover, teachers also don't teach grammar directly, it's taught indirectly. The teacher attempts to get their students to change parts of a sentence and learn grammar indirectly. An example of this is the sentence, 'I try hard'. It could be changed to 'I study hard', or something else.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using the method. Firstly, the direct method teaches students how to use the language instead of teaching them about the language.

This method is also popular with students that have the need to learn conversational English because the emphasis is placed on speaking and listening.

There are also some disadvantages to using this method. One of the biggest is that this method assumes that a second language is both taught and learned exactly the same way as a first language is acquired. However, it has been observed that this isn't the case.

Moreover, public schools didn't adopt this method because it's relatively expensive, there is a lot of teaching aids required to teach this method. It's also quite a difficult method for native speakers to apply.

Finally, this method has been superseded by the audio-lingual method. Both the direct and the audio-lingual method are no longer widely used in the world of teaching English.

Nowadays, communicative methods are the preferred style of teaching. These methods try to imitate everyday situations and allow the students to practice the language that they might be using in a normal everyday situation.

This method was used for a number of years during the first part of the 20th century and although it often applied today traces of the method are still used. One of the biggest examples of this being the use of realia.

William Lake is an English Teacher and also blogs about everything to do with English as a Second Language on a blog called Blog About ESL. For more information about this method, including the full methodology that it uses, take a look at this blog post called, Direct Method of Teaching English.

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