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The Audio - Lingual Method Introduction The Audio-Lingual Method, like the Direct Method we examined, has

a goal very different from that of the Grammar-Translation Method1. The AudioLingual Method was developed in the United States during World War II. At that time there was a need for people to learn foreign languages rapidly for military purposes. As we have seen, 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 were at the time exciting new ideas about language and learning emanating(produce or show) from the disciplines of descriptive 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, having been based upon conceptions of language and learning from these two disciplines. Theory of language2 The theory of language underlying Audiolingualism was derived from a view proposed by American linguists in the 1950s - a view that came to be known as structural linguistics. Linguistics had emerged as a flourishing academic discipline in the 1950s, and the structural theory of language constituted its backbone. Structural linguistics had developed in part as a reaction to traditional grammar. Many nineteenth-century language scholars had viewed modern European languages as corruptions of classical grammar, and languages from other parts of the world were viewed as primitive and underdeveloped. By the 1930s, the scientific approach to the study of language was thought to consist of collecting examples of what speakers said and analyzing them according to different levels of structural organization rather than according to categories of Latin grammar. In 1961 the American linguist William Moulton, in a report prepared for the 9th International Congress of Linguists, proclaimed the linguistic principles on which
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Dianne Larsen -Freeman, Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching, Oxford University Press, 1986, p. 31-51 J. C. Richard and Theodore S. Rodgers, Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching Cambridge University Press, 1997, p.48-61. 1

not about the language. (The language teacher uses only the target language in the classroom.language teaching methodology should be based: • • • • Language is speech. or realia are used to give meaning otherwise). Principles of the Audio-Lingual Method  The native language and the target language have separate linguistic systems. pictures. It also ought to say. Teach the language. Actions. she corrects mispronunciation by modeling the proper sounds in the target language). The purpose of language learning each student greets another). at other times. But a method cannot be based simply on a theory of language.. 2  . she introduces the drills by modeling the correct answers. not writing. The more often something is repeated. By listening to how it is supposed to sound. In order to create new sentences.. One of the language teacher's major roles is that of a model of the target language. • needs to refer to the psychology of learning and to learning theory. students should be able to mimic the model(The language teacher introduces the dialogue by modeling it two times. . Teachers should provide students with a native-speaker-like model.. It is to this aspect of Audiolingualism that we now turn. is to learn how to use the    language to communicate (The teacher initiates a chain drill in which Particular parts of speech occupy particular "slots" in sentences. Language is what its native speakers say. Language learning is a process of habit formation. students must learn which part of speech occupies which slot(The teacher uses single-slot and multiple-slot substitution drills). the stronger the habit and the greater the learning (The students repeat each line of the new dialogue several times). not what someone thinks they Languages are different (quoted in Rivers 1964: 5). They should be kept apart so that the students' native language interferes as little as possible with the students' attempts to acquire the target language. Language is a set of habits.

Each language has a finite number of patterns. teacher conducts transformation and question-and-    Students should "over learn. Errors lead to the formation of bad habits. We do not need to memorize rules in order to use our native language. Positive reinforcement helps the students to develop correct habits(The teacher says. the teacher poses the questions to them rapidly). "Very good.  The major objective of language teaching should be for students to acquire the structural patterns. they should be immediately corrected by the teacher (The students stumble over one of the lines of the dialog. vocabulary is limited). she holds up pictures one after another). The major objective of language students should learn to respond to both verbal and nonverbal stimuli (The teacher uses spoken cues and picture cues). 3 .  The major challenge of foreign language teaching is getting students to overcome the habits of their native language.e.. When errors do occur. The teacher uses a backward build-up drill with this line). Pattern practice helps students to form habits which enable the students to use the patterns (The answer drills). learn to answer automatically without stopping to think (When the students can do it." when the students answer correctly). The learning of a foreign languages should be the same as the acquisition  of the native language. guiding. she calls on individuals.  It is important to prevent learners from making errors.  the students' behavior in the target language (The teacher provides the students with cues. The teacher should be like an orchestra and controlling leader-conducting. grammatical points are taught through examples and drills)." i. A comparison between the native and target language will tell the teacher in what areas her students will probably experience difficulty(The teacher does a contrastive analysis of the target language and the students' native language in order to locate the places where she anticipates her students will have trouble). students will learn vocabulary afterward(New vocabulary is introduced through lines of the dialogue. she smiles encouragement. The rules necessary to use the target language will be figured out or induced from examples (Students are given no grammar rules.

The students do some limited written work with the dialogue). but also the everyday behavior of the people who use the target language. 4 . and writing (The teacher writes the dialogue on the blackboard toward the end of the week.of skill acquisition is: listening. One of the teacher's responsibilities is to present information about that culture.  Language cannot be separated from culture. reading. Speech is more basic to language than the written form. speaking. The "natural order".the order children follow when learning their native language . Culture is not only literature and the arts.

Students' successful responses are positively reinforced. Students are imitators of the teacher's model or the tapes she supplies of model speakers. but this interaction is teacher-directed. 3. They follow the teacher's directions and respond as accurately and as rapidly as possible. 5 .Reviewing the Principles 1. chain. and question-and-answer) are conducted based upon the patterns present in the dialog. What is the role of the teacher? What is the role of the students? The teacher is like an orchestra leader. to learn to use it automatically without stopping to think. Every language is seen as having its own unique system. What are the goals of teachers who use the Audio-Lingual Method? Teachers want their students to be able to use the target language communicatively. Drills (such as repetition. What is the nature of student-teacher interaction? What is the nature of student-student interaction? There is student-to-student interaction in chain drills or when students take different roles in dialogs. they believe students need to overlearn the target language. The dialogs are learned through imitation and repetition. 6. How is language viewed? How is culture viewed? The view of language in the Audio-Lingual Method has been influenced by descriptive linguists. Students' reading and written work is based upon the oral work they did earlier. What are some characteristics of the teaching/learning process? New vocabulary and structures are presented through dialogs. explicit grammar rules are not provided. Grammar is induced from the examples given. Each level has its own distinctive patterns. The system is comprised of several different levels: phonological. Cultural information is contextualized in the dialogs or presented by the teacher. 2. directing and controlling the language behavior of her students. In order to do this. morphological. and syntactic. backward build-up. She also is responsible for providing her students with a good model for imitation. 5. How are the feelings of the students dealt with? There are no principles of the method that relate to this area. transformation. 4. Their students achieve this by forming new habits in the target language and overcoming the old habits of their native language. substitution. Most of the interaction is between teacher and students and is initiated by the teacher.

How does the teacher respond to student errors? Student errors are to be avoided if at all possible through the teacher's awareness of where the students will have difficulty and restriction of what they are taught to say. It is. The oral/aural skills receive most of the attention. speaking. not the students' native language. P. or to supply an appropriate verb form in a sentence. 10. Culture consists of the everyday behavior and lifestyle of the target language speakers. 8. with the structures for any particular unit included in the new dialog. Skinner had elaborated a theory of learning applicable to language learning in . and writing. 9. reading. "The level of complexity of the speech is graded. so that beginning students are presented with only simple forms. The prominent Harvard behaviorist B. in which he stated.s. the target language is used in the classroom. that verbal behavior differs in any fundamental respect from 6 . limited since the emphasis is placed on the acquisition of the patterns of the language. What areas of language are emphasized? What language skills are emphasized? The structures of the language are emphasized over all the other areas. Pronunciation is taught from the beginning. The natural order of skills presentation is adhered to (to stick to): listening.. The syllabus is typically a structural one. Vocabulary is also contextualized within the dialogue..Everyday speech is emphasized in the Audio-Lingual Method. Therefore. often by students working in language laboratories on discriminating between members of minimal pairs.-In advocating these principles. for example. Students might be asked to distinguish between words in a minimal pair. however. however. What is the role of the students' native language? The habits of the students' native language are thought to interfere with the students' attempts to master the target language. "We have no reason to assume. F.lingualism were drawing on the theory of a well-developed school of American psychologybehaviorism. 7. his influential book Verbal Behavior. proponents of Audio. How is evaluation accomplished? Each question on the test would focus on only one point of the language at a time. A contrastive analysis between the students' native language and the target language will reveal where a teacher should expect the most interference.

and the teacher the other. The teacher begins with the part at the end of the sentence (and works backward from there) to keep the intonation of the line as natural as possible. That student responds. ask and answer questions of each other. R etition D ep rill Students are asked to repeat the teacher's model as accurately and as quickly as possible. they switch roles and memorize the other person's part. Another way of practicing the two roles is for half of the class to take one role and the other half to take the other. usually the last phrase of the line. The students repeat a part of the sentence. where new information typically occurs. students usually take the role of one person in the dialogue. Chain Drill A chain drill gets its name from the chain of conversation that forms around the room as students. or asking him a question. Reviewing the Techniques D ialog ue M orization em Dialogues or short conversations between two people are often used to begin a new lesson. the students expand what they are repeating part by part until they are able to repeat the entire line. In the Audio-Lingual Method. The teacher breaks down the line into several parts. Then. pairs of individual students might perform the dialog for the rest of the class. These patterns and points are later practiced in drills based on the lines of the dialogue. This also directs more student attention to the end of the sentence. The teacher begins the chain by greeting a particular student. Students memorize the dialogue through mimicry. This drill is often used to teach the lines of the dialogue.non-verbal behavior. Backward Build-up (Expansion) Drill This drill is used when a long line of a dialogue is giving students trouble. After the dialogue has been memorized. following the teacher's cue. certain sentence patterns and grammar points are included within the dialogue. After the students have learned the one person's lines. or that any new principles must be invoked to account for it". then turns to the student sitting next to him. The first student greets or asks a question of the second student and 7 . one-by-one.

for example. This gives students practice with the question pattern.the chain continues. Next. substituting the cue into the line in its proper place. an active sentence into a passive one. "ship/sheep. The students repeat the line the teacher has given them. that fit into different slots in the dialog line. Transform ation Drill The teacher gives students a certain kind of sentence. a comparison between the students' native language and the language they are 8 . usually from the dialogue. even though it is limited. Students are asked to transform this sentence into a negative sentence. Question-and-answer Drill This drill gives students practice with answering questions. Other examples of transformations are also used (in changing a statement into a question. an affirmative sentence for example. The students must recognize what part of speech each cue is. The students should answer the teacher's questions very quickly. or direct speech into reported speech). where it fits into the sentence. and make any other changes. A chain drill allows some controlled communication. It is also possible for the teacher to cue the students to ask questions as well. The difference is that the teacher gives cue phrases." Students are first asked to perceive the difference between the two words and later to be able to say the two words. The teacher selects the sounds to work on after she has done a contrastive analysis. one at a time. Use of M inim Pairs al The teacher works with pairs of words which differ in only one sound. A chain drill also gives the teacher an opportunity to check each student's speech. the teacher says a word or a phrase-called the cue. Single-slot Substitution Drill The teacher says a line. such as subject-verb agreement. The major purpose of this drill is to give the students practice in finding and filling in the slots of a sentence. Multiple-slot Substitution Drill This drill is similar to the single-slot substitution drill.

Brooks (1964: 156— 61) includes the following: Repetition.I used to know him years ago when we were in school. Dialogues are used for repetition and memorization. Gram ar m Gam e Games like the supermarket alphabet game described in this chapter are often used in the Audio-Lingual Method. Students complete the dialogue by filling in the blanks with the missing words. Students are able to express themselves. The games are designed to get students to practice a grammar point within a context. Com plete the Dialog ue Selected words are erased from a dialogue students have learned. After a dialogue has been presented and memorized. then repeat that whole utterance and add more words. stress.-I used to know him. and intonation are emphasized. After a student has repeated an utterance. Example. . Various kinds of drills are used. -This is the seventh month. The use of drills and pattern practice is a distinctive feature of the Audiolingual Method. he may repeat it again and add a few words. 9 . I used to know him years ago. He does this without looking at a printed text. Notice there is also a lot of repetition in the game too. Sound is as important as form and order. rhythm. Types of Learning and Teaching activities Dialogues and drills form the basis of audiolingual classroom practices. Dialogues provide the means of contextualizing key structures and illustrate situations in which structures might be used as well as some cultural aspects of the target language. Correct pronunciation. Example. The utterance must be brief enough to be retained by the ear. I used to know him. specific grammatical patterns in the dialogue are selected and become the focus of various kinds of drill and pattern-practice exercises.studying. This is the seventh month. The student repeats an utterance aloud as soon as he has heard it.

then repeats the utterance in completed form. He bought die candy.John. (so). They gave their boss a watch.How old are you? Ask John when he began.Inflection. He bought this house cheap. . Completion The student hears an utterance that is complete except for one word... I'm hungry. (hardly). Expansion When a word is added it takes a certain place in the sequence.She bought the candy. . . .I'll go my way and you go yours. I called die young man. Helen left early. -They gave him a watch. I bought the ticket... when did you begin?. I'll never do it again. The student rephrases an utterance and addresses it to someone else.So am I. Example. . (well). Example I know him. . according to instructions. Example.. We all have . own troubles.he bought it cheap. One word in an utterance is replaced by another. Restatement. Tell him to wait for you. Example.. Ask her how old she is. I know him.We all have our own troubles. Transposition A change in word order is necessary when a word is added. Example.I hardly know him.I know him well… 10 . One word in an utterance appears in another form when repeated. . I'll go my way and you go… .Wait for me. Example. . (neither).I bought the tickets.Neither will I. – She left early.I called the young men Replacement.

Contraction A single word stands for a phrase or clause. Question what is said. Fail to understand. voice. Answer the questions. Examples.It is important that they be h o n e s t . H e d o e s n 't k n o w m y a d d r e s s . Agree.My name is Smith. Agree emphatically.. Put your hand on the table.Certainly. or modality. D o e s h e k n o w m y a d d re s s ? He used to know m y address... mood.You're welcome. aspect. Example. . . Rejoinder The student makes an appropriate rejoinder to a given utterance. What is your name? . Be polite.. They believe that the earth is flat. He know s m y address. Disagree emphatically. Example They must be honest. Integration Two separate utterances are integrated into one.In the middle of the street. Express surprise. Example. Transformation A sentence is transformed by being made negative or interrogative or through changes in tense. Examples Thank you. Express regret. Where did it happen? . 11 . May I take one? . Be polite. He is told in advance to respond in one of the following ways..They believe it. If he had known my address. This is important..Put your hand there. Answer the question.

boys/build/house/street . the teacher's role is central and active. past.Restoration The student is given a sequence of words that have been cut from a sentence but still bear its basic meaning. Teach the use of structure through pattern practice. 1964. it is a teacher-dominated method. Teach a short story and other literary forms.The students are waiting for the bus. He uses these words with a minimum of changes and additions to restore the sentence to its original form. Reward trials by the student in such a way that learning is reinforced. 111 12 . controls the direction and pace of learning. p. Guide the student in choosing and learning vocabulary. or future. Show how words relate to meaning in the target language. Model the various types of language behavior that the student is to learn: • • • Teach spoken language in dialogue form. Direct choral response by all or parts of the class. Establish and maintain a cultural island. The teacher models the target language. Get the individual student to talk. and monitors and corrects the learners' performance. Teacher's Role In Audiolingualism..3 . Language learning is seen to result from active verbal interaction between the teacher and the learners. The Role of Instructional Materials • • • • • • • • 3 Brooks N.The boys built a house in a street. Holt. Formalize on the first day the rules according to which the language class is to be conducted.. New York.. He may be told whether the time is present. as in Situational Language Teaching. The teacher must keep the learners attentive by varying drills and tasks and choosing relevant situations to practice structures. Example students/waiting/bus . and enforce them.. 2nd ed. Language and Language Learning: Theory and Practice.

When textbooks and printed materials are introduced to the student. A line may be broken down into several phrases if necessary. It provides the opportunity for further drill work and to receive controlled error-free practice of basic structures. individually and in chorus. At this stage in learning. T a p e recorders and audiovisual equipment often have central roles in an audiolingual course. 3. because it distracts attention from the aural input. line by line. It also adds variety by providing an alternative to classroom practice. If the teacher is not a native speaker of the target language. they provide the texts of dialogues and cues needed for drills and exercises. exposure to the printed word may not be considered desirable. The dialogue is read aloud in chorus. through Certain key structures from the dialogue are selected and used as the 13 2. drills.Instructional materials in the Audiolingual Method assist the teacher to develop language mastery in the learner. repeating. The students do not consult their book throughout this phase. one half saying one speaker's part and the other half responding. The dialogue is memorized gradually. . The teacher pays attention to pronunciation. The teacher. This is acted out by the students. They repeat each line of the dialogue. A student textbook is often not used in the elementary phases of a course where students are primarily listening. Correction of mistakes of pronunciation or grammar is direct and immediate. The dialogue is adapted to the students' interest or situation.s In a typical audiolingual lesson the following procedures would be observed: 1. and responding. P.words or phrases. intonation. will have access to a teacher's book that contains the structured sequence of lessons to be followed and the dialogues. and fluency. and provide follow-up fluency drills on grammar or pronunciation. changing certain key . however. the tape recorder provides accurate models for dialogues and drills. allow for the student to repeat the sentences in the dialogue line by line. A language laboratory may also be considered essential. They are primarily teacher oriented. and other practice activities. A taped lesson may first present a dialogue for listening practice. Students first hear a model dialogue (either read by the teacher or on the tape) containing the key structures that are the focus of the lesson.

5. or vocabulary activities based on the dialogue may be introduced. students may write out variations of structural items they have practiced or write short compositions on given topics with the help of framing questions. formation of new sentences and patterns in accordance with rules of great abstractness and intricacy" (Chomsky 1966: 153). where further dialogue and drill work is carried out. As proficiency increases. practitioners foundthat the practical results fell short of expectations. which will guide their use of the language. These are first practiced in chorus and then individually. Students were often found to be unable to transfer skills acquired through Audiolingualism to real communication outside the classroom. Follow-up activities may take place in the language laboratory. Ordinary linguistic behavior characteristically involves innovation. writing. Chomsky rejected the structuralist approach to language description as well as the behaviorist theory of language learning. On the one hand. Chomsky's theory of transformational grammar proposed that.basis for pattern drills of different kinds. Some grammatical explanation may be offered at this point. but this is kept to an absolute minimum. The Decline of Audiolingualism Audiolingualism reached its period of most widespread use in the 1960s and was applied both to the teaching of foreign languages in the United States and to the teaching of English as a second or foreign language. and many found the. "Language is not a habit structure. the theoretical foundations of Audiolingualism were attacked as eing unsound both in terms of language theory and learning theory. writing is purely imitative and consists of little more than copying out sentences that have been practiced. the fundamental properties of language derive from innate aspects of the mind and from how humans process experience through language. His theories were to revolutionize American linguistics and focus the attention of linguists and 14 . 4. The students may refer to their textbook. On the other. The MIT linguist N. The theoretical attack on audiolingual beliefs resulted from changes in American linguistic theory in the sixties. experience of studying through audiolingual procedures to be boring and unsatisfying. and follow-up reading. At the beginning level.

Chomsky also proposed an alternative theory of language learning to that of the behaviorists. On the one hand there are few methods that have been developed independently of current linguistic and second language acquisition theory (e.. Communicative Language Teaching). nor did any particular method incorporating this view of learning. 15 .psychologists on the mental properties people bring to bear on language use and language learning. on the other there are competing approaches that are derived from contemporary theories of language and second language acquisition (e. Behaviorism regarded language learning as similar in principle to any other kind of learning. For a time in the early seventies there was a considerable interest in the implication of the cognitive-code theory for language caching (e. innovation. see Jakobovits 1970.. Counseling-Learning).g. The lack of an alternative to Audiolingualism in language teaching in the United States has led to a period of adaptation. since much of human language use is not imitated behavior but is created anew from underlying knowledge of abstract rules. experimentation. and some confusion.g. The term cognitive code is still sometimes invoked to refer to any conscious attempt to organize materials around a grammatical syllabus while allowing for meaningful practice and use of language. Total Physical Response." Practice activities should involve meaningful learning and language use. reinforcement and association. But no clear-cut methodological guidelines emerged.g.. Sentences are not learned by imitation and repetition but "generated" from the learner's underlying "competence. The Natural Approach. Lugton 1971). Chomsky argued that such a learning theory could not possibly serve as a model of how humans learn language. Learners should be encouraged to use their innate and creative abilities to make explicit underlying the grammatical rules of the language. It was subject to the same laws of stimulus and response. Silent Way. These developments will be considered in the remaining chapters of my lectures.