The Audio-Lingual Method is also known as the Army Method. The New Key is a language teaching approach that emerged in the 1950s and gained popularity in the 1960s. This method is based on behaviorist theory and is heavily influenced by structural linguistics. Here are the key features and principles of the Audio-Lingual Method:
Focus on Oral Skills:
- Emphasis is placed on developing oral skills, including listening and speaking.
- The goal is to enable students to use the target language communicatively.
Repetition and Drill:
- Repetition and drilling are central to this method. Students are exposed to patterns of language through repetition until they can produce the language automatically.
- Drills involve the teacher providing a model, and students repeating the model, often in a controlled and structured manner.
- Language is taught in discrete structural patterns. These patterns are often grammatical structures and sentence patterns.
- Mastery of one pattern is typically required before moving on to the next.
- Vocabulary is learned inductively through context and association rather than through explicit explanations.
- Vocabulary is often presented in thematic groups or situations to enhance memorization.
- Errors are actively corrected by the teacher to prevent the reinforcement of mistakes.
- Positive reinforcement is used to encourage correct responses.
Use of Dialogues:
- Dialogues are a common teaching tool. Students are expected to memorize and reproduce these dialogues.
- Dialogues are used to illustrate language patterns and structures.
No Use of Native Language:
- The use of the student’s native language is minimized or avoided altogether during instruction.
- The goal is to create an immersive environment for language learning.
Imitation and Mimicry:
- Students are encouraged to imitate the pronunciation. Intonation, and rhythm of the target language.
- Mimicry is seen as a way to internalize the language patterns.
Role of the Teacher:
- The teacher is seen as a model and director. The teacher provides examples, corrects errors, and guides students through structured drills.
- Cultural explanations are often avoided, and the focus is primarily on linguistic forms and patterns.
While the Audio-Lingual Method was widely used for a period. It faced criticism for its lack of attention to meaning, creativity, and real communication. Over time, language teaching methodologies have evolved, and contemporary approaches often incorporate a more communicative and task-based focus.