The Audio-Lingual Method is an oral-based approach ( like the Direct approach ), but it drills students in the use of grammatical sentence pattern. Unlike The Direct Method, it has a strong theoretical base in linguistics and psychology. 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 speakers.
REVIEWING THE PRINCIPLES
The goals of teachers who use The Audio-Lingual Method are they want their students to be able to use the target language communicatively. They believe students need to over learn the target language, to learn to use it automatically without stopping to think. Their students achieve this by forming new habits in the target language and overcoming the old habits of their native language.
The role of teacher in class is like an orchestra leader, directing and controlling the language behavior of her/his students. He/She is also responsible for providing her/his students with a good model for imitation. The role of the students is they are imitators of the teacher’s model of the tapes he/she supplies of model speakers. They follow the teacher’s directions and respond as accurately and as rapidly as possible.
REVIEWING THE TECHNIQUES
New vocabulary and structural patters presented through the dialog are some characteristics in the learning/teaching process . The dialogs are learned through imitation and repetition. Drills ( Such as repetition, back-ward built up, chain, substitution, transformation, and question-and-answer ) are conducted based upon the patterns present in the dialog. Students’ successful responses are positively reinforced. Grammar is included from the examples given; explicit grammar rules are not provided. Cultural information is contextualized in the dialogs or presented by the teacher. Students’ reading and written work is based upon the oral work they did earlier.
There is student-to-student interaction in chain drills or when students take different roles in dialog, but this interaction is teacher-directed. Most of the interaction is between the teacher and students and is initiated by the teacher.
The view of language in THE Audio-Lingual Method has been influenced by descriptive linguist. Everyday speech is emphasized. Culture consists of everyday behavior and lifestyle of the target language speakers.
Vocabulary is kept to a minimum while students are mastering the sound system and grammatical patterns. The natural order of skills presentation is adhered to: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing. The oral skills receive most of the attention. Pronunciation is taught from the beginning, often by students working in language laboratories or discriminating in between members of minimal pairs.
The habits of the students’ native language are thought to interfere with students’ attempts to master the target language. A contrastive analysis between the students’ native language and the target language will reveal where a teacher should expect the most interference.
In the evaluation, students might be asked to distinguish between minimal pair, for example, r to supply an appropriate verb from a sentence.
Students errors are to be avoided if all possible through the teacher’s awareness of where the students will have difficulty and restriction of what they are taught to say.