What are the essential Features of the Direct Method of teaching English?

Direct method occupies an important place amongst the various methods of teaching English, which came as a reaction against the traditional translation method. The direct method was also called the natural method or reformed method.

The term ‘Direct method’ apparently was originated in France in a circular of the French minister of Public Instruction in 1901. The method received official sanction in 1908, but was revised in 1909 and again in 1925-26. The principles of the method came from Germany and were popularized by the International Phonetic Association, an association of French teachers formed in 1986.

Meaning of Direct Method:

According to Champion, “The direct method is a method of teaching English directly. To teach English directly is to establish a direct or immediate association between experience and expression, between the English word, phrase, or idiom and as meaning in other words of establishing in connection with English the same habit of direct experience as exists is the use of mother-tongue.”

Aims of Direct Method:

Champion has pointed out the following four aims of the direct method:

(1) To make the pupil think in English

(2) To enable the pupil express his thoughts and feelings directly by means of English with the intervention of his mother tongue.

(3) To enable the pupil that instinctive unerring language sense which we all possess in varying degrees in the mother tongue.

Essential Features or Principles of Direct Method:

(1) By this method it is possible to establish a direct association between the experience and expression, which should be one of the features of direct method.

(2) There should be no use of mother tongue. It should be reduced to a minimum or almost the hearing and speaking of English.

(3) The third quality of this method is that every sentence, which is complete, is a unit only; it is a means of expressing ideas.

(4) The direct method emphasizes the oral aspects of teaching. Spoken words should be made the basis and as far as possible the medium of instruction.

(5) In the direct method grammar is taught inductively rather than deductively.

(6) There is systematic use of vocabulary in the direct method. The direct method lays on the need of limited vocabulary and phraseology taught in definite stages. New words associated with concrete objects are introduced at regular intervals. They are systematically and judiciously selected for framing sentences.

Therefore, the above are the features of a direct method of teaching English in Indian schools.