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At one time it was called classical method since it was first used in the teaching of the classical languages, Latin and Greek. Through the study of the grammar of the target language, students would become more familiar with the grammar of their native language and this familiarity would help them speak and write their native language better. Finally , it was thought that foreign language learning would  help students grow intellectually; it was recognized that students would probably never use the target language, the mental exercise of  learning it would be beneficial anyway.
It has one very basic rule: No translation is allowed. In fact ,the Direct Method receives its name from the fact that meaning is to be connected directly  with the target  language, without going through the process of translating into the students’ native language.
It was developed in the United States during World War II. At that time there was a need for people to learn foreign languages for military purposes. The Grammar-Translation Method did not prepare people  to use the target language. While communication in the target language was the goal of the Direct Method, there was at the time exciting new ideas about language and learning spreading from the disciplines of  linguistics and behavioral psychology. These ideas led to the development of the Audio-Lingual Method. Some of the principles are similar to those of the Direct Method, but many are different . 
One of the basic principles of Caleb Gattegno’s Silent Way is that “teaching should be subordinated to learning.” Cognitive psychologists argued that language learning does not take place through mimicry; since people can create  utterances they have never heard before, they therefore cannot learn a language simply by repeating what they hear spoken around them. Thus, language must not be considered  a product of habit formation, but rather of rule formation. Accordingly, language acquisition must be a procedure to discover the rules of the language people are acquiring. The emphasis on human cognition led to the name “cognitive code’’. Student progress is accomplished little by little, with a lot of imperfection expected in the beginning. All four skills are worked on from beginning, and meaning is thought to be important as form.      

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