The Audiolingual Method ALM. Definition. [Lat. audire ‘to hear ,’ lingua‘tongue ’] ( also audio- lingualism ).
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[Lat. audire ‘to hear,’ lingua‘tongue’] (also audio-lingualism)
The Audiolingual Method is a method of foreign language teaching which emphasizes the teaching of listening and speaking before reading and writing. It uses dialogues as the main form of language presentation and drills as the main training techniques. Mother tongue is discouraged in the classroom.
The Audiolingual Method was founded during World War II (1939-1945 ) for military purposes in the USA: The U.S. military required people to speak and understand foreign languages.
At that time, the U.S. government found it a great necessity to set up special language-training programs for military personnel .
The method was popular in the 1950s and 1960s especially in the US but also widely used in many other parts of the world. The method died out in the 70s.
Charles Fries(1945) ledtheway in applyingprinciplesfromstructurallinguistics in developingthisapproach.
In 1957 principlesfrombehavioralpsychology (Skinner) wereincorporated.
The purpose of language learning is to attain conversational proficiency in the foreign language andto use it communicatively.
Teacher’s goal: Focus on students’ pronunciation, and train their ability of listening and speaking through dialogues and drills and enabling them to acquire new habits.
Spoken language comes before written language
= orallanguageisprioritised over writing. Writingshouldbepostponed.
Skills are sequenced:
Attention to the differentlevels of a language (phonetics, phonology,morphology, and syntax)
Developed in this order
1 Language learning (as a process of habit-formation) is learned through forming habits, through conditioning & reinforcement.
2 Positive Reinforcement (of correct responses) makesbehaviouroccuragain and become a habit. Three crucial elements for anykind of learning:
3 Forming new target language habits means overcoming native language habits. The major challenge of foreign language teaching is getting students to overcome the habits of their native language: their influence
The more often something is repeated, the stronger the habit and the greater the learning, hence, the importance of repetition and drills.
Positive reinforcement helps the students to develop correct habits. Thus, the method fosters dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases and over-learning: learningismechanic.
I am a student.
He is a prince.
He isn’t a cowboy.
She……… a caveman.
I …………….. a spy.
They are students.
You are students.
They are football players
They aren’t football players.
They ……… students.
The teacher insures that all of the utterances which students make are actually within the practiced pattern. In the previous example, only ONE grammatical structure is being taught: BE in simple present. Similarly, the use of the AUX verb have should not suddenly switch to have as a main verb
Typical Procedure / strategies/ activities in an ALM Course
Drills and pattern practice are essential in the Audiolingualmethod. (Richards, J.C. et-al. 1986).
Objective: listen carefully and attempt to mimic (imitate) the teacher's model as accurately as possible.
Repetitive drills can also be used to teach structural patterns.Studentrepeat an utterance as soon as theyhearsit (individually or in chorus). In a repetitive drill , a model is given and then students are asked to practice the model focussing on on accuratepronunciation & grammar.
(1) Listen to the dialog,
(3) Memorize dialogue (DialogMemorization),
(4) Act / perform the Dialog (Role playing)
Students use mimicry and appliedroleplaying to present the dialog and experimentwithlanguage and non-verbal elements (eg. Gesture)..
BackwardBuildUp, alsocalledExpansion drill:
The purpose of this drill is to break down a long and/or difficult sentence into smaller parts starting with the end of the sentence and having the class repeat just the last two words. Since students can do this, the teacher adds a few more words, and the class repeats this expanded phrase building the phrases little by little until the entire sentence is being repeated.
Target Pattern: Those boys will be eating in the cafeteria tomorrow.
TEACHER Repeat after me:
in the cafeteria tomorrow
will be eating in the cafeteria tomorrow
Those boys will be eating in the cafeteria tomorrow.
Exercises in Backward Building)
Target Pattern: I'm going to the post office. TEACHER Repeat after me: post office.
CLAS S Post office.
TEACHER To the post office.
CLASS To the post office.
TEACHER Going to the post office .
CLASS Going to the post office.
TEACHER I'm going to the post office.
CLASS I'm going to the post office.
A chain drill gives students an opportunity to practice (the lines in a dialog) individually
A chain of conversation formsaround the classroomas the teachergreets or questions a student and the latter respondsand thenturns to the nextstudentandgreets or askshim a question and the chain continues.
Teacher: 'Good morning, Jose’.
Student: 'Good morning, teacher.‘
Teacher: ‘greet your neighbor.‘
The student then turn to the one sitting beside him and greet her
Very similar to a شتي الديب game in Moroccan culture
Teacher : He boughtthe car for half-price.
Teacher: the book
Student: He boughtthe book for half-price.
Alternatively the pattern couldbe:
Teacher: He boughtthe car for half-price. He boughtitfor halfprice.
Teacher : television
Objective: practice creating new sentences and learn which parts of speech occupy which positions (slot).
Substitution / Replacement drills:
one key wordor phrase in a sentence or pattern (froma dialogue) isselected andreplaced by another
Simple Substitution Exercises (Single-slot substitution)
Multiple Substitution Exercises (Multiple-slot substitution)
Transformation / Restatement Drill:
Studentschange one type of sentence into another – an affirmative sentence into a negative or an active sentence into a passive, for example.
From statements to questions:
The teacherprovides a statement : "She is going to the post office."Thentransformsitinto a question. "Is she going to the post office?”
Teacher: “They are going to the theatre” Students:
From questions to statements:
An extension of thisactivityisturning a statementinto an order:
Teacher : He makes a lot of noise. Student : Don'tmake a lot of noise!
Fill in the blanks,
Studentsfill in the blanks in the sentences provided by inserting the proper English words. This activityismuchlike a close activity.
They are students.
They aren’t football players
They are football players
They ……… students
He is a prince.
He isn’t a cowboy.
I am a student.
I …………….. a spy
An alternative exercise could be to have students write complete sentences following specific patterns on sequences of words such as I, go , supermarket and he, need, butter.
Complete the Dialog:
Usinganypiece of literatureat the students' readinglevel, the teacherreadsthe piecealoudseveral times. The studentsthenwritedown whattheyhear. The ideais to writewhatthey have heard as literally as possible.
Listenpurposefully to determine main ideas and important details.
A flashcard or flash card is a piece of paper that is used as a learning aid.
The Alphabet Game:
The teacherpicks a semanticfield, such as the supermarket. And says: "I amgoing to the supermarket. I need a few apples." (The teachernamessomethingbeginningwithA.) The first studentsays, "I amgoing to the supermarket. I need a few apples and I need a few bananas." The game continues in thismannerwitheachconsecutivestudentadding an item beginningwith the nextletterafterrepeating the items namedbeforetheirown.
Participate in sharedlisteningexperiences. Shareideas and experiences in large and small groups.
Minimal pairs are words that are similar in pronunciation except for one sound
The followingexampleillustrates how more than one sort of drill canbeincorporatedinto one practice session :“Teacher: There's a cup on the table ... repeatStudents: There's a cup on the tableTeacher: spoonStudents: There's a spoon on the tableTeacher: BookStudents: There's a book on the tableTeacher: On the chairStudents: There's a book on the chair
The audiolingual approach to language teaching has a lot of similarities with the direct method.
Both were considered as a reaction against the shortcomings of the Grammar Translation method,
both reject the use of the mother tongue and advocate teaching language directly without using L1,
both are oral-based approaches that stress that speaking and listening competences precede reading and writing competences.
It also, unlike the Direct Method, has a strong theoretical base in linguistics and psychology. Principles from behavioral psychology (Skinner, 1957) were incorporated into the theory.
It was thought that the way to acquire the sentence patterns of the target language was through conditioning - helping learners to respond correctly to stimuli through shaping and reinforcement.
Learners could overcome the habits of their native language and form the new habits required to be target language speakers.
Students might be asked to distinguish between words in a minimal pair, for example, or to supply an appropriate verb form in a sentence.
Advantages Vs. Drawbacks Of theAudiolingualMethod
1) Students are taught a foreignlanguagedirectly, withoutusing the students’ native language in the classaroom.Theytry to explain new words or grammar in the targetlanguagedirectly.
2) Students become good at pattern since theyget a chance to practice and master a number of audiolingual techniques such as repetition, inflection, replacement and restatement.
4. It aimsatdevelopinglistening and speakingskillsthroughrepetititionwhichis a stepawayfrom the Grammar Translation method..
5. It gives the learner the ability to communicatequicklybecause of the emphasis on speaking and listening
6. There is an abundant use of languagelaboratories, tapes and visualaids.
Audiolingualism stresses the mechanistic aspects of language learning and language use. It turn Students into parrots whoproducemanythings but nevercreateanything new or spontaneous : Dialogues recited and Memorized
Boring and mindless - Mimic native speakers
dependence on mimicry and memorization
Emphasize the “Form”, not the “Meaning”.
Emphasis laid on correction and not on understanding the message.
It was also known as the Mim-Mem method because students would mime and memorize dialogues before going on with drills.
book --> this is a book.
pen --> this is a pen.
What techniques is this one? Substitution, replacement
What technique is represented by this drill? Multiple choice selection
A communicative drillis one where more than one answer is possible but the choices open to students are rather limited and understanding is essential.
What type of technique is represented by this drill? Sentence completion
Audiolingualism reached its period of most widespread use in the 1960s and was applied both to the teaching of foreign language in the United States and to the teaching of English as a second or foreign language.