Applied Linguistics

THE AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD

THE AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD

THE AUDIO-LINGUAL METHOD

The audio-lingual method consists of teaching a new language through reading a dialogue or text and carrying out drills associated with it. According to this method learning a language consists of getting to know its grammar and practicing its rules through different types of drills until habits in the new language are formed and speech becomes spontaneous. Through listening, imitating and performing controlled tasks, students acquire a new form of verbal behavior.

The essentials are: a) language learning is a process of habit formation, and good habits are formed by giving correct responses b) since language is basically oral, spoken form is presented before written form c) translation or use of the native tongue is discouraged d) students infer the rules of the language through practice, so the approach to the teaching of grammar is essentially inductive (as in the direct method).

OBJECTIVES

  1. The error has to be avoided.
  2. The students had to work individually with a time of 15 to 20 hours per week.
  3. Acquire syntactic structures and habits.
  4. The methods used are imitation and repetition, where vocabulary is included.
  5. Use of structural exercises.
  6. The structures must be contextualized in a dialogue or text, which includes the linguistic structures that constitute the language of study.
  7. It is not so important to study grammatical theories.
  8. Only the language being studied is used in class and translation is not allowed.

MODEL CLASS

Linguistic interaction: The interaction must be oral, the objective is not the transmission of a message, but the acquisition of structures and vocabulary considered fundamental in the language learned.

Active and participatory learning: Students are active recipients, all are required to participate in the planned tasks and in the exercises developed.

The motivation is contingent on the incessant and varied activity:  The teacher is advised that if the interest of the students decreases, the way of provoking it is by frequently changing activity or moving from one mode of exercise to another.

Repeated and group activities: The mechanical nature of the activities proposed by this method allows the simultaneous practice of many students at the same time.

The content is set in advance:  The materials have been previously designed by specialists who decide on what and how. Students become repeaters of sentences and structures provided in the given models.

The teacher is the protagonist-intermediary: The teacher is the protagonist of the class but in a limited way because he is only a mediator. Its role is to energize the class and make the students perform the prescribed practices.

The manuals offer a closed set of materials for practice: Textbooks or any other material used are a must-have guide with few options open to change.
Selection of the content according to criteria of structural frequency: The teaching materials have been selected and elaborated taking into account what are the usual structures of the language taught and what words are included in the list of basic vocabulary of the same language.
The content and objectives are grouped around a communicative situation: the communicative situation is the axis around which the preparation of the initial dialogue or text revolves. But this positive fact from the point of view of communication is distorted by another fact: that the language used in these situations is pedagogically controlled by programmed structures and lexicons.

Role of the teacher:

He is the protagonist of the class. He leads the class and makes the students participate. The teacher models the target language, controls the direction and pace of learning, checks and corrects the students’ performance. The teacher must keep the attention of the students varying the exercises and tasks, must also choose the most appropriate situations to practice the structures. To execute the linguists’ plans, you must use the materials and resources specified in the class plans and you must also receive training that will enable you to perform your function satisfactorily. (Richards and Rodgers, 1988, p. 61).

Role of the student:

 A subject is required to participate actively during the learning process. With this it is expected that the person will be able to communicate in everyday contexts, mainly orally. A high level of listening and articulation of the sounds of the target language is expected; also, sufficient knowledge of the most recurrent lexicon in specific contexts.

Presence of grammar:

Learning is inductive and dependent on input, continuous practice is encouraged. Among its activities are the repetition of structures, memorization and simulation of dialogues (to internalize linguistic patterns), question and answer as in the Direct but in this case about equivalent models and transferable to variations in the structure. In the development of this method, the materials play a leading role: they are what allow the curricular design to be specified.

Criticism

Audio-lingualism is based on behaviorism, a theory that sees learners as passive receivers of information whose behavior is shaped through positive or negative reinforcement. A critic made to behaviorism came on the part of linguist Chomsky (1957), who claimed “How can children make mistakes if they simply repeat what they hear?” In Chomsky’s view learners are credited with using their cognitive abilities in a creative way to work out hypothesis about the structure of the L2. His theory gave rise to cognitivism.

For behaviorists, learners were passive receivers of information whereas for cognitivists they are active processors. While the aim of behaviorism was to repeat until the habits were formed, cognitivists believed in problem-solving activities or tasks, which gave rise to communicative methods. Under a communicative approach learners need activities for meaningful learning so that they can use their innate and creative abilities to learn the rules of the language.

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