The Direct Method

The Direct Method is also known as Reform Method / Natural Method / Phonetical Method / Anti-grammatical Method

All reformers were vehemently opposed to teaching of formal grammar and aware that language learning was more than the learning of rules and the acquisition of imperfect translation skills.

Vietor ('Die Sprachunterricht muss umkehren' 1882) "This study of grammar is a useless torture. It is certainly not understood; therefore it can have no effect as far as the moulding of the intellect is concerned and no-one could seriously believe that children could learn their living German tongue from it."

Instead grammar should be acquired inductively by inducing the rules of how the language behaves from the actual language itself. "Never tell the children anything they can find out for themselves." (Jesperin 1904)

Direct Method based on belief that:

1 Knowing a language was being able to speak it! Primacy of spoken word. New method laid great stress on correct pronunciation and target language from outset. Advocated teaching of oral skills at expense of every traditional aim of language teaching.

2 Second language learning must be an imitation of first language learning, as this is the natural way humans learn any language, and so MT has no place in FL lesson. (Baby never relies on another language to learn its first language).

3 Printed word must be kept away from second language learner for as long as possible (same as first language learner, who doesn't use printed word until he has good grasp of speech).

4 The written word / writing should be delayed until after the printed word has been introduced.

5 The learning of grammar/ translating skills should be avoided because they involve the application of the MT.

6 All above items must be avoided because they hinder the acquisition of a good oral proficiency.
So basically, the mother tongue is NEVER, NEVER used. There is no translation. The preferred type of exercise is a series of questions in the target language based on the dialogue or an anecdotal narrative. Questions are answered in the target language. Grammar is taught inductively--rules are generalized from the practice and experience with the target language. Verbs are used first and systematically conjugated only much later after some oral mastery of the target language. Advanced students read literature for comprehension and pleasure. Literary texts are not analyzed grammatically. The culture associated with the target language is also taught inductively. Culture is considered an important aspect of learning the language.