The Audiolingual Method

    The Audio lingual 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 Audio lingual Method was developed in the U.S. during the Second World War. At that time, the U.S. government found it a great necessity to set up a special language-training program to supply the war with language personnel. Therefore, the government commissioned American universities to develop foreign language program for military personnel. Thus the Army Specialized Training Programme (ASTP) was established in 1942.The objectives of the army programme were for students to attain conversational proficiency in a variety of foreign languages. The method used was known as the “informant method ”, since it used a native speakers of the language, the informant , and a linguist. The informant served as a source of language for imitation, and the linguist supervised the learning experience. The intensive system adopted by the army achieved excellent results.
     Linguists and applied linguists during this period were becoming increasingly involved in the teaching of English as a foreign language. In 1941 the first English Language institute in the U.S. was established to in the University of Michigan. The director of the institute was Charles Fries, who applied the principles of structural linguists to language teaching. The result is an approach which advocated aural training first, then pronunciation training, followed by speaking, reading and writing.
     The emergence of the Audiolingual Method resulted from the increased attention to foreign language teaching in the U.S. towards the end of the 1950s.The need for a radical change and rethinking of foreign language teaching methodology made language teaching specialists set about developing a method that was applicable to conditions in U.S. college and university classrooms. They drew on the earlier experience of the army programmes and the Aural-Oral or structural Approach developed by Fries and his colleagues, adding insights taken from behaviorist psychology. This combination of structural linguistic theory, aural-oral procedures, and behaviourist psychology led to the Audiolingual Method, which was widely adopted for teaching foreign languages in North American colleges and universities.
Theoretical Basis
1) theory of language
The theory of language underlying Audiolingualism was derived from a view proposed by American linguists in the 1930s and 1940s. The view then came to be known as structural linguistics with Bloomfield and Fries as its representatives. Structural linguistics views language as a system of structurally related elements for the expression of meaning. These elements are phonemes, morphemes, words, structures, and sentence types. The grammatical system consists of a list of grammatical elements and rules for their linear combination into words, phrases, phrases and sentences.
 According to a structural view, language has the following characteristics:
(1) Elements in a language are produced in a rule-governed (structural) way.
(2)                     Language samples could be exhaustively described at any structural level of description.
(3)                     Language is structural like a pyramid, that is, linguistic level is system within system.
(4) Language is speech, not writing.
(5) Languages are different.
The views of language above offered the foundation for the Audio lingual Method.
    2) Theory of learning
1Behaviourist psychology
The learning theory of Audiolingualism is behavioral psychology which is an empirically based approach to the study of human behaviour. Behaviourism tries to explain how an external event(a stimulus) caused a change in the behaviour of an individual(a response) without using concepts like“mind”or “ideas” or any kind of mental behaviour. Behaviourist psychology states that people are conditioned to learn many forms of behaviour, including language, through the process of training or conditioning.
(2) The three crucial elements in learning: a stimulus, a response and reinforcement.
The occurrence of these behaviours is dependent upon three crucial elements in learning: a stimulus, which serves to elicit behaviour; a response triggered by a stimulus; and reinforcement, which serves to mark the response as being appropriate (or inappropriate) and encourage the repetition (or suppression) of the response in the future. Learning is thus described as the formation of association between stimuli and responses.
(3) The application of this theory to language learning
             To apply this theory to language learning is to identify the organism as the foreign language learner, the behaviour as verbal behaviour, the stimulus as what is taught (language input), the response as the learner’s reaction to the stimulus, and the reinforcement as the approval or praise (or discouragement) of the teacher or fellow students.
 (4) Language learning: a mechanical process of habit formation
    According to this behaviourist psychology, learning a language is a process of acquiring a set of appropriate language stimulus-response chains, a mechanical process of habit formation.
 By drawing on the structural linguistics and behaviourist psychology, the Audio lingual Method formed its own distinctive characteristics.
  The characteristics of the Audiolingual Method may be summed up in the following list (Prator and Celce-Murcia ):

1.      New material is presented in dialogue form.

2.      There is dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases, and over-learning.

3. Structures are sequenced by means of contrastive analysis and taught one at a time.


          4. Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills.

5. There is little or no grammatical explanation. Grammar is taught by inductive analogy rather than deductive explanation.

6. Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context.

7. There is much use of tapes, language labs, and visual aids.

8.  Great importance is attached to pronunciation.

9. Very little use of the mother tongue by teachers is permitted.

10. Successful responses are immediately reinforced.

11. There is a great effort to get students to produce effort-free utterances.

12. In the Audio lingual Method, there is a tendency to manipulate language and disregard content.
   13. Separation of language skills into listening, speaking, reading and writing, with                                      emphasis on the teaching of listening and speaking before reading and writing.
 14. Use of dialogues as the chief means of presenting the language.
 15.  Emphasis on certain practice techniques: mimicry, memorization and pattern drills.
 16. Discouraging the use of the mother tongue in the classroom.
 17. Use of language lab.

     The general objective of the Audio lingual Method is to enable the target language communicatively, Short-range objectives include training in listening comprehension, accurate pronunciation, reading comprehension and production of the Audio lingual Method are the development of mastery in all four language skills, beginning with listening and speaking, and using these as a basis for the teaching of reading and writing. Long-range objective, or the ultimate goal, is to develop in the students the same types of abilities that native speaking have, to use it automatically without stopping to think.
Principles of Audio lingual Method
The Audio lingual Method is based on the following principles:
  • Speaking and listening competence preceded reading and writing competence.
  • Use of German is highly discouraged in the classroom.
  • The development of language skills is a matter of habit formulation.
  • Students practice particular patterns of language through structured dialogue and drill until response is automatic.
  • Structured patterns in language are taught using repetitive drills.
  • The emphasis is on having students produce error free utterances.
  • This method of language learning supports kinesthetic learning styles.
  • Only everyday vocabulary and sentences are taught. Concrete vocabulary is taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures. Abstract vocabulary is taught through association of ideas.
  • The printed word must be kept away from the second language learner as long as possible
  • The native language and the target language have separate linguistic systems. 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. (The language teacher uses only the target language in the classroom. Actions, pictures, or realia are used to give meaning otherwise).
  • One of the language teacher's major roles is that of a model of the target language. Teachers should provide students with a native-speaker-like model. By listening to how it is supposed to sound, students should be able to mimic the model(The  language  teacher  in­troduces the dialogue by modeling it two times; she introduces the drills by modeling the correct answers; at other times, she cor­rects mispronunciation by model­ing the proper sounds in the target language).
  • Language learning is a process of habit formation. The more often something is repeated, the stronger the habit and the greater the learning (The students repeat each line of the new dialogue several times).

Goals of teachers in Audio-Lingual Method
Teachers want their students to be able to use the target language communicatively. In order to do this, 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.

Dialogues and pattern practice form the basis of audio lingual classroom practice. The use of them is a distinctive feature of the Audio lingual Method. The techniques used by the Audio lingual Method are:
(1)                   Repetition drill:
This drill is often used to teach the lines of the dialogue. Students are asked to repeat the teacher’s model as accurately and as quickly as possible. e.g.:
                   T              S
This is a bookThis is a book.
Students do this without looking at their book. They have to produce the appropriate sounds first.
(2)                   Substitution drill
The students repeat the line from the dialogue which the teacher has given them, substituting the cue into the line in its proper place. e.g.:
                   T           C         S
They drink wine. beerThey drink beer.
                coffeeThey drink coffee.
                teaThey drink tea.
The major purpose of this drill is to give the students practice in finding and filling in the slots of a sentence.
(3)                   Question-and-answer drill
The drill gives students practice with answering questions. The students should answer the teacher’s question very quickly. It is also possible for the teacher to cue the students to ask questions as well. This gives students practice with the question pattern. e.g.
  1. T: Are there any questions?       Ss: No, there aren’t any.
T: Is there any milk?             Ss: No, there isn’t any.
T: Are there any sandwiches?      Ss: No, there aren’t any.
T: Is there any wine?             Ss: No, there isn’t any.
  2. T: he read The Times             Ss: What did he read?
    T: He said “Good morning.”       Ss: What did he say?
    T: He saw “The Sound of Music. ”  Ss: What did he see?
(4)                   Expansion drill
This drill helps students to produce longer sentence bit by bit, gradually achieving fluency.  The main structure is repeated first, then students have to put cue phrase in its proper place. e.g.
T: They go to the cinema.
Ss: They go to the cinema.
T: On Sundays
Ss: They go to the cinema on Sundays.
T: Always.
Ss: They always go to the cinema on Sundays.
T: Nearly.
Ss: They nearly always go to the cinema on Sundays.
(5)                   Clause combination drill
Students learn to combine two simple sentences into a complex one. e.g.
T: It may rain. He’ll stay at home.
Ss: If it may rain, he’ll stay at home.
T: It may be sunny. We’ll go to the beach.
Ss: If it may be sunny, we’ll go to the beach.
T: It may snow. They’ll go skating.
Ss: If it may snow, they’ll go skating.
(6) Background build-up drill( or back chaining):
This drill is used when a long line of dialogue is giving students trouble. The teacher breaks down the line into several parts. The students repeat a part of the sentence, usually the last phrase of the line. Then, following the teacher’s cue, the students expand what they are repeating part by part until they are able to repeat the entire line. 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. This also directs more student attention to the end of the sentence, where new information typically occurs.
(7)Chain drill
A chain drill gets its name from the chain of conversation that forms around the classroom as students, one-by-one, ask and answer questions of each other. The teacher begins the chain by greeting a particular student, or asking him a question. That student responds, and then turns to the student sitting next to him. e.g.
T: Hello, what’s your name?
S1: My name is John Smith. (He turns to the student next to her.) Hello, what’s your name?
S2: My name is Mary Clinton. (She turns to the student next to her.) Hello, what’s your name?
S3: My name is Peter.
Students hear an utterance that is complete except for one word, and then repeat the utterance in completed form. e.g.
T: I’ll go my way and you go_____
Ss: I’ll go my way and you go yours.
T: We all have____own troubles.
Ss: We all have our own troubles.
(9) Use of minimal pairs
The teacher works with pair of words which differ in only one sound; students are first asked to find the difference between the two word and later to say the two words. e.g.
shipsheep  liveleave  leaplip  bitbeat
(10)Transformation Drill
Teacher provides a sentence that must be turned into something else, for example a question to be turned into a statement, an active sentence to be turned into a negative statement, etc.
Other examples of transformations are also used (in changing a statement into a question, an active sentence into a passive one, or direct speech into reported speech).

(11)Multiple-slot Substitution Drill
Same as the Single Slot drill, except that there are multiple cues to be substituted into the line.
(12)Single Slot Substitution Drill
Teacher states a line from the dialog, then uses a word or a phrase as a "cue" that students, when repeating the line, must substitute into the sentence in the correct place
            The major purpose of this drill is to give the students practice in finding and filling in the slots of a sentence.

(13)Grammar Games
Games like the supermarket alphabet game described in this chapter are often used in the Audio-Lingual Method. Various games designed to practice a grammar point in context, using lots of repetition. Students are able to express themselves.
     Notice there is also a lot of repetition in the game too
(14)Complete the Dialog
Selected words are erased from a line in the dialog - students must find and insert.

(15)Dialogue Memorization
            Dialogues or short conversations between two people are often used to begin a new lesson. Students memorize the dialogue through mimicry; students usually take the role of one person in the dialogue, and the teacher the other. After the students have learned the one person's lines, 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. After the dialogue has been memorized, pairs of individual students might perform the dialog for the rest of the class.
In the Audio-Lingual Method, certain sentence patterns and grammar points are included within the dialogue. These patterns and points are later practiced in drills based on the lines of the dialogue.
Types of Learning and Teaching activities in Audio lingual methods
           Dialogues and drills form the basis of audio lingual 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.             Dialogues are used for repetition and memorization. Correct pronunciation, stress, rhythm, and intona­tion are emphasized. After a dialogue has been presented and memorized, specific grammatical patterns in the dialogue are selected and become the focus of various kinds of drill and pattern-practice exercises.
         The use of drills and pattern practice is a distinctive feature of the Audio lingual Method. Various kinds of drills are used. Brooks (1964: 156—61) includes the following:
1. Repetition.
    The student repeats an utterance aloud as soon as he has heard it. He does this without looking at a printed text. The utterance must be brief enough to be retained by the ear. Sound is as important as form and order.
This is the seventh month. -This is the seventh month.
After a student has repeated an utterance, he may repeat it again and add a few words, then repeat that whole utterance and add more words.
I used to know him.-I used to know him.
I used to know him years ago. - I used to know him years ago when we were in school.
 One word in an utterance appears in another form when repeated.
I bought the ticket.- I bought the tickets.
He bought die candy.- She bought the candy.
I called die young man.- I called the young men    
3. Replacement.
One word in an utterance is replaced by another.           
He bought this house cheap. He bought it cheap. 
Helen left early. – She left early.                             
They gave their boss a watch. -They gave him a watch.
4. Restatement.
            The student rephrases an utterance and addresses it to someone else, according to instructions.
Tell him to wait for you. - Wait for me.
Ask her how old she is. - How old are you?
Ask John when he began. - John, when did you begin?.
          The student hears an utterance that is complete except for one word, then repeats the utterance in completed form.
I'll go my way and you go… - I'll go my way and you go yours.
We all have ... own troubles. - We all have our own troubles.      

6. Transposition
 A change in word order is necessary when a word is added.
I'm hungry, (so). - So am I.
I'll never do it again, (neither). - Neither will I.          
7. Expansion
 When a word is added it takes a certain place in the sequence.   
I know him. (hardly). I hardly know him.   
I know him. (well). - I know him well…
8 .Contraction
A single word stands for a phrase or clause.
Put your hand on the table. - Put your hand there. They believe that the earth is flat. They believe it....
9. Transformation
 A sentence is transformed by being made negative or in­terrogative or through changes in tense, mood, voice, aspect, or modality.                           
He knows my address.
He doesn't know my address.
   Does he know my address?
He used to know my address.
If he had known my address.          
10. Integration
      Two separate utterances are integrated into one.
They must be honest. This is important.. - It is important that they be honest.
11. Rejoinder
 The student makes an appropriate rejoinder to a given utterance. He is told in advance to respond in one of the following ways;
Be polite.
Answer the question.                  
Agree emphatically.                                    
Express surprise.                                            
Express regret.
Disagree emphatically. Question what is said.  Fail to understand.
12. Restoration
 The student is given a sequence of words that have been
cut from a sentence but still bear its basic meaning. He uses these
words with a minimum of changes and additions to restore the sentence
to its original form. He may be told whether the time is present, past, or
students/waiting/bus - The students are waiting for the bus.
boys/build/house/street - The boys built a house in a street.

In a typical audio lingual lesson the following procedures will be observed:
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 and try to understand the meaning of the dialogue with the help of the teacher’s gestures, mime, and context or situation established in advance.
(2)Imitation and repetition
The students repeat each line of the dialogue, individually and in chorus. The students must imitate the right pronunciation, intonation and fluency.
(3) Pattern drills
Certain key structures from the dialogue are selected and used as the basis for pattern drills of different kinds.
(4) Follow-up activities
The students now are allowed to look at their textbooks. They are usually asked to do some follow-up reading, writing or vocabulary activities. This will guide their use of the language.

Teacher's Role In Audio lingual’s
            In Audio lingual’s, as in Situational Language Teaching, the teacher's role is central and active; it is a teacher-dominated method. The teacher models the target language, controls the direction and pace of learning, and monitors and corrects the learners' performance. The teacher must keep the learners attentive by varying drills and tasks and choosing relevant situations to practice structures. Language learning is seen to result from active verbal interaction between the teacher and the learners.
         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.
  • Teach the use of structure through pattern practice.    
  • Guide the student in choosing and learning vocabulary.
  • Show how words relate to meaning in the target language.
  • Get the individual student to talk.
  • Reward trials by the student in such a way that learning is reinforced.
  • Teach a short story and other literary forms.      
  • Establish and maintain a cultural island.
  • Formalize on the first day the rules according to which the language class is
to be conducted, and enforce them.

1The first method to have a theory
  The audio lingual theory is probably the first language teaching theory that openly claims to be derived from linguistics and psychology.
   (2) Making language teaching possible to large groups of learners
  It attempts to make language learning accessible to large groups of ordinary learners. With large classes, drills are of particular use in that they maximize student participation.
 (3) Emphasizing sentence production, control over grammatical structures and development of oral ability
 The Audio lingual Method stresses syntactical progression and uses pattern drill to help the students gain control over grammatical structures, which is a much more interesting way of learning grammar than working through written exercises. What’s more, drilling can be positively beneficial in helping a student to develop his oral ability.
   (4) Developing simple techniques and making use of language lab
It leads to the development of simple techniques of varied, graded, and intensive practice of specific features of the language, and more scientifically selected and systematically arranged materials and structural patterns to go with. Moreover, the teaching techniques with tape recordings and language lab drills offer practice in speaking and listening which are considered of primary importance in language learning.
(5)Developing the separation of the language skills
The Audio lingual Method develop the separation of the language skills into a pedagogical device, that is, listening, speaking, reading and writing .It lays emphasis on listening and speaking which did not gain so much importance from Grammar-Translation Method.
1Weak basis of its theory
    The theoretical basis of the Audio lingual Method was found to be weak. The behaviorist theory could not possibly serve, as a model of how humans learn language, since much of human language is not imitated behavior, but is created anew from underlying knowledge of abstract rules.
         (2) Not developing language competence, lack of effectiveness, and boredom caused by endless pattern drills
     Techniques such as pattern practice, drilling, memorization, etc. might lead to language like behavior, but they are not resulting in competence. Teachers complain about the lack of effectiveness of the techniques in the long run, and students complain about the boredom caused by endless pattern drills.
3Learners having little control over their learning
Learners play a reactive role by respond to stimuli, and thus have little control over the content, pace or style of learning. They are not encouraged to initiate interaction, because this may lead to mistakes.
(4) Teacher’s domination of the class
The teacher’s role is central and active .It is the teacher who always dominates the class. The teacher models the target language, controls the direction and pace of learning, and monitors and corrects the learner’s performance.
(5)Teacher-oriented materials
Materials in the audio lingual Method are primarily teacher-oriented. The teacher’s book contains the structured sequence of lessons to be followed, and the dialogues, drill, and other practice activities.