Communicative Language Teaching and Audio-Lingual Method

Language acquisition, Syllabus, Communicative language teaching

by Abdul Bari
Communicative Language Teaching and Audio-Lingual Method: Definition Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is an approach to the teaching of second and foreign languages that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of learning a language. It is also referred to as “communicative approach to the teaching of foreign languages” or simply the “Communicative Approach.” The Audio-Lingual Method, or the Army Method, is a style of teaching used in teaching foreign languages. It is based on behaviorist theory, which professes that certain traits of living things, and in this case humans, could be trained through a system of reinforcement—correct use of a trait would receive positive feedback while incorrect use of that trait would receive negative feedback. Historically, CLT has been seen as a response to the Audio-Lingual Method (ALM). Relation between Communicative Language Teaching and Audio-Lingual Method The Audio-Lingual Method (ALM) arose as a direct result of the need for foreign language proficiency in listening and speaking skills during and after World War II. It is closely tied to behaviorism, and thus made drilling, repetition, and habit-formation central elements of instruction. Proponents of ALM felt that this emphasis on repetition needed a corollary emphasis on accuracy, claiming that continual repetition of errors would lead to the fixed acquisition of incorrect structures and non-standard pronunciation. In the classroom, lessons were often organized by grammatical structure and presented through short dialogs. Often, learners listened repeatedly to recordings of conversations (for example, in the language lab ) and focused on accurately mimicking the pronunciation and grammatical structures in these dialogs. Critics of ALM asserted that this over-emphasis on repetition and accuracy ultimately did not help learners achieve communicative competence in the target language. Noam Chomsky argued “Language is not a habit...
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