Compare and Contrast the Communicative Approach with the Audio-Lingual Method from the Point of View of Teacher, the Learner, the Activities and Types of Materials Used, and Any Underlying Theory of Language or Learning.

Topics: Language acquisition, Language education, Linguistics Pages: 10 (3357 words) Published: February 11, 2013
Compare and contrast the Communicative Approach with the Audio-lingual Method from the point of view of teacher, the learner, the activities and types of materials used, and any underlying theory of language or learning. Discuss to what extent the Communicative Approach was an improvement over the Audio-lingual Method.


The essay is about the communicative approach and the audio-lingual method which are both ways of teaching a foreign language. The communicative language teaching makes use of real life situations by using communication and interaction. The teacher sets up a situation that the students are likely to face in real life. Unlike the audio-lingual method of language teaching, which relies on repetitions and drills, the communicative approach can leave students in suspense as to the outcome of the exercise, which will vary according to their reactions and answers. The real life simulations change from day to day. Students’ motivation to learn comes from their desire to communicate in meaningful ways about meaningful topics. While the communicative approach offers all these things the audio lingual method is exactly the opposite, as it will be explained in the essay below.

The origins of the communicative approach are many. It is said by linguists that one teaching methodology tends to influence the next. In this case the communicative approach could be said to be the product of educators and linguists who became dissatisfied with the audio-lingual and grammar-translation methods of foreign language instruction. Many linguists at that period felt that students were not learning enough realistic. They did not know how to communicate using appropriate language, gestures or expressions. In other words they were not able to communicate and to use properly the language they have studied. Communicative language teaching is an approach to the teaching of second and foreign language that emphasises on interaction as one o the main goals when someone is learning a new language. Moreover the communicative approach has been common in language teaching environment since the mid 1970s, and its aim is to facilitate language acquisition by giving learners positive feeling towards the instructional process and lowering the affective filter in the classroom. (Richards and Rogers, 2002). Furthermore this approach includes a meaning focused input containing target forms and vocabulary rather than formal grammar introduced in the classroom; the learners acquire the forms and vocabulary naturally, which is similar to the way a child learns its first language. (Hinkel and Fotos, 2002).

On the other hand the audio-lingual method was widely used during and after the Second World War, because people then had the need to of foreign language proficiency. Moreover the audio-lingual method can be connected to the structural linguists where language is seen as a structured system of different units and the job of the teacher is to introduce the patterns of speaking and listening of the foreign language to the learners. (Richard and Rogers, 2002) There are textbooks for this method usually written by structural linguists. They divided the language into subsystems such as phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics and tried to describe the structures within each system. Initially in the audio-lingual method, the structures are presented and the students drill those structures until they master them orally. The drills however are many and different, some of them are repetition, replacement, question-and- answer and pronunciation drills (Richards and Rogers, 2002). Later in the assignment will be explained in more details. This method is close to the theory of behaviourism and that is why drilling and repetitions are the key factors in audio-lingual classroom. In order for the students to memorize the target language, they used to...
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