The direct method of teaching was developed as a response to the Grammar-Translation method. It sought to immerse the learner in the same way as when a first language is learnt. All teaching is done in the target language, grammar is taught inductively, there is a focus on speaking and listening, and only useful ‘everyday' language is taught. The weakness in the Direct Method is its assumption that a second language can be learnt in exactly the same way as a first, when in fact the conditions under which a second language is learnt are very different.
The teacher explains new vocabulary using realia, visual aids or demonstrations.
In the classroom
Aspects of the Direct Method are still evident in many ELT classrooms, such as the emphasis on listening and speaking, the use of the target language for all class instructions, and the use of visuals and realia to illustrate meaning.