Audio Lingual Method

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GGGV 2044 METHODS IN TEACHING ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE Semester 2 2009/2010

AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD: A DISCUSSION (INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENT)

LECTURER: DR. HAMIDAH BT. YAMAT @ AHMAD

LISA KWAN SU LI A123040 TESL/2

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1.1

INTRODUCTION

The Audio-lingual Method (ALM), by its very name – “audio” and “lingual” – refers to a language teaching approach that focuses on two aspects of language, namely listening and speaking. Unlike its predecessor, the Grammar Translation Method, which focuses on reading and writing skills, this approach chooses to emphasize on the first two stages in the natural order of language learning (listening, speaking, reading followed by writing) with the belief that learners who are better speakers and listeners consequently make better readers and writers.

The ALM has a firm foundation in the theories of both structural linguistics and behavioural psychology, and thus incorporates techniques and strategies that advocate the concepts and assumptions of language learning from both schools of thought.

The structural linguistics view of language learning says that language is learned through awareness and specific attention to the patterns and structure of the language. One of the ALM’s main characteristics is its use of repetition and drills that draw learners’ attention to the patterns of the target language which are subsequently memorized and repeated to automaticity.

Language learning from the view of behavioural psychology on the other hand, occurs by conditioning and habit formation of accurate responses to stimuli. The right response for a stimulus is modelled by the teacher beforehand and then drilled into the

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learners repeatedly until such responses become a “habit” that enables learners to successfully produce accurate responses without clues or prompting by the teacher.

This discussion aims to further understand the Audio-lingual Method and explore the advantages and disadvantages of employing it in the second language classroom. The author also puts out her recommendations for the use of the ALM in the second language classroom.

2.1

HISTORY

By the first half of the twentieth century, the Direct Method had lost its popularity in the U.S. However, it is believed that the decline of the Direct Method brought about the emergence of the ALM. As Brown (2001) puts it: “...by the middle of the twentieth century, the Direct Method was revived and redirected into what was probably the most visible of all language teaching “revolutions” in the modern era, the Audio-lingual Method.”

The U.S. educational institutions at the time still believed that a reading approach like the Grammar Translation Method was more practical than an oral one. Therefore the 1930s and 1940s saw the Grammar Translation Method going strong in all schools across the U.S.

However, after World War II, the U.S. saw an urgent need for her to be orally proficient in the language of her allies as well as foes. This led to a drastic change in

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the current view of language teaching from a mere reading approach to one with a heavier emphasis on aural and oral skills.

Special intensive language programs were developed by the U.S. army which came to be known as the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), or more simply, the Army Method. In the 1950s, the Army Method was renamed the Audiolingual Method.

3.1

PRINCIPLES OF ALM

Some of the main principles of language learning in the ALM are stated by Alkhuli 2005 (as cited by Abdel-Rahman Abu-Melhim in the International Forum of Teaching and Studies). One of these principles is that the second language learning process should be similar to that of first language acquisition.

This complies with the natural order of language learning which is listening, speaking, reading and finally, writing. It is believed that the learner first learns to speak what he has listened to, then read what he has spoken, and write what he...
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