These are the two oldest methods for teaching foreign languages. Grammar Translation Method first appeared in the 18th century and was originally used for teaching old languages like Greek, Latin then failed in teaching communication skills. After that, the Direct Method was built with the attempts to overcome the weakness of the Grammar Translation Method. As a result of that, there are many differences between the principles of these two methods which will be summarized into three following main ones.
The first and foremost difference between the Direct Method and The Grammar Translation method is the goals of the teachers using them. In Grammar Translation Method, the teachers’ fundamental purpose is to help the students read and appreciate literature written in the target language. To be able to do this,students have to learn a lot about the grammar rules and vocabularies.
On the contrary, the teachers who use the Direct Method intend that the students learn how to communicate in the target language.
It is very important that the students are believed to think in the target language. In addition, due to the different teaching goals, there is a great disparity in teaching and learning process of the Grammar Translation Method and the Direct Method. In a typical Grammar Translation Method class, students are taught to translate from one language to another. They are also asked to memorize the native language equivalents for the target language vocabulary words.
In contrast, the native language should not be used in the classroom.