According to Richards and Rodgers (2001), the key features of the Direct Method are the following:
(1) Medium of instruction: Classroom instruction is conducted exclusively in the target language.
(2) Vocabulary and sentences are selected and taught on the basis of their usefulness in everyday situations.
(3) For the sake of developing oral communication skills, question-and-answer exchanges are frequently arranged between teachers and students in small, intensive classes.
(4) Grammar is taught inductively. That is, ‘rules’ are not given by the teacher; students are made to discover the ‘rules’. (5) New teaching points are introduced orally first. That is,students listen and speak before they read or write.
(6) Translation is not allowed in teaching vocabulary; so concrete vocabulary is taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract vocabulary is taught by association of ideas.
(7) Unlike in GTM, both speech and listening comprehension are taught.
(8) Native-like pronunciation and correct grammar are emphasized.
Larsen-Freeman (2000) discusses the following techniques of the Direct Method:
1) Reading Aloud: Students read sections of passages, plays or dialogues aloud.
2) Question and Answer Exercise: The teacher asks questions in the target language and students answer in full sentences.
3) Student Self-Correction: The teacher creates opportunities for students to self-correct using follow-up questions, tone, etc.
4) Conversation Practice: The teacher asks students and students ask students questions using the target language.
5) Fill-in-the-blank Exercise: Students are supposed to fill in the blanks using knowledge of grammar that they acquired inductively.
6) Dictation: The teacher reads the passage aloud a number of times at various speed and tempo while students write down what they hear.
7) Using maps: In order to develop learners’ listening comprehension skills, the teacher may give students an unlabeled map and give directions; students listen and label the map.
8) Paragraph Writing: Students write paragraphs in their own words using the target language and various models.
i) It focuses on real life communication
ii) It gives a lot of emphasis on oral communication and interaction
iii) It helps students feel competent
iv) It helps get rid of fear of using the target language
v) It helps create a participatory international language learning environment
i) It does not give any value to the L1 in learning L2
ii) It aims at creating an environment where children learn their L1, which seems to be too ambitious
iii) It does not emphasize writing and reading skills which are
iv) It does not teach grammar rules which might be necessary.
In my opinion, DM will work the best when a group of learners aim at developing only communicative competence. For example, a group of workers want to go to Saudi Arabia. They will not be reading or writing academic texts in the Arabic language. Rather, they will be communicating with their employers and members of the families. DM will work very well for them in interacting with the family members.