Friday, November 12, 2010

Audio Lingual Method


A. Background
The Audio Lingual Method (ALM) is a method which was introduced in the United States of America (USA) in 1940s. Even though the method is considered very old, many language teachers still like it and believe that it is a powerful method. The emergence of the method was a response to the need for a radical change of foreign language teaching due to the unfriendly relationship between USA and Russia, which lunched its first satellite in 1957. The United States prevented from its people from becoming isolates people from scientific advances made in other countries. The method was much influenced by a method called Army Specialized Training Program (ATSP). The ATSP was triggered by the condition from which USA entered World War II and tried to send its army to take up positions in other countries. USA government found itself in a need of personnel trained in a large number and wide variety of language, and the audio-lingual method could be the answer. The method was also a response to the Reading Method and the Grammar Translation Method. At that time many Americans felt unsatisfied with the reading aim and they thought that speaking was more important then reading.
The method was finally developed from the combination of the principles of structural linguistic theory, contrastive analysis, aura-oral procedures, and behaviorist psychology (Richard and Rodgers, 2001: 54-55). The method was accepted by people in other countries and introduced in Indonesia in 1960’s. Not much literature on the audio-lingual method is now available and most of the ideas in this part have been adapted from how to Teach Foreign Languages Effectively (Huebener, 1969).

B. Problems
There are some problems that will be explained in this report paper, as follows:
1. What is the definition of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
2. What are the principles of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
3. What are the techniques of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
4. What are the types of patterns drills of audio Lingual Method (ALM)
5. What are the strongest and weakness of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)


1. The definition of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
Technically, the Audio Lingual Method (ALM) was supported by the appearance on the market of a large variety of mechanical aids, such as tape recorder and language laboratories. Theoretically, the Audio Lingual Method (ALM) was based on the findings of the structural linguists, who developed a psychology of language learning different from traditional methods.
In Audio Lingual Method language learners are equipped with the knowledge and skill required for effective communication in a foreign language. The language learners also required to understand the foreign people whose language they are learning and the culture of the foreign people. The language learners have to understand everyday life of the people, history of the people and their social life.
The advocates of the ALM believe that learning is essentially the process of change in mental and physic behavior induced in a living organism by experience. This principle was much influenced by a theory of psychology known as behaviorism. Formal experience can be gained at formal schools and the aim of learning is habit. Learning is simply habit formation. To learn a new language means to acquire another set of habits. The speech habit can be formulated through the observance of rules. Therefore, successful language learners are those who finally become spontaneous in communication and the rules have been forgotten.
The method, which was originally introduced to prepare people to master foreign language orally in a short time, emphasizes oral forms of language. However, the method still considers the other language skills. The method considers that the oral forms: speaking and listening should come first, and reading and writing come later. The advocates of the method believe that language learners learn foreign language as a child learns his/her mother tongue. First, he hears sound and tries to understand the sound; he/she then attempts to reproduce the sounds. Next, he/she learns to read the written forms. The phases can be described that learning a foreign language there are the passive or receptive phase and the active or reproductive phase.

2. The principles of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
The principles of the method derive from the aims of learning a foreign language. The aims of method include some aspects of language learning. The linguistic aims of the ALM are:
1. Language learners are able to comprehend the foreign language when it is spoken at normal speed and concerned with ordinary matters,
2. Language learners are able to speak in acceptable pronunciation and grammatical correctness,
3. Language learners have no difficulties in comprehending printers materials,
4. Language learners are able to write with acceptable standards of correctness on topics within their experience.

Besides the linguistics aims above the method also has culture aims. The cultural aims of the method are:
1. Language learners understand daily life of the people, including customs, works, sports, play, etc,
2. Language learners know the main facts concerning the geography, history, social and political life of the people,
3. Language learners appreciate the art and science of the people,
4. Language learners understand the value of the language as the main factor in their culture.
These cultural aims will accompany the linguistics aims and these will motivate language learners to learn the target language. By knowing all aspect of the people, language learners will have better understanding of the language used by the people and increase their motivation. Motivation is important in learning the target language since effective learning will take place when language learners are eager to acquire the target language.
In short, Johnson (1968) states that the principles of the ALM are:
1. Language is system arbitrary vocal symbol used for oral communication,
2. Writing and printing are graphic representations of the spoken language,
3. Language can be broken down into there major component parts: the sound system, the structure, and the vocabulary,
4. The only authority for correctness is actual use of native speakers,
5. One can learn to speak and understand a language only being exposed to the spoken language and by using the spoken language,
6. Language can be learned inductively far more easily than deductively,
7. Grammar should never be thought as an end itself, but only as a means to the end of learning the language,
8. Use of the students’ native language in class should be avoided or kept to a minimum in second language teaching,
9. The structures to which the students are exposed to should always sound natural to native speakers,
10. All structural material should be presented and practiced in class before the students attempt to study it at home.
The principles above are only some of the principles that people may believe to belong to the ALM. The principles of the ALM also deal with the theories of languages and language learning, which will presented below.

3. The techniques of the Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
The ALM has a relatively complete procedure of presenting language materials. The method has a set of procedures of teaching each language skill. The following is the first produce of teaching the target language. This procedure is a set of the typical steps in teaching the target language through the ALM. Since the listening and speaking ability is the first skill to consider, the first procedure of teaching is more related to listening and speaking ability (Huebener, 1969: 17). The procedure can be as follows:
1. The language teacher gives a brief summary of the content of the dialogue. The dialogue is not translated but equivalent translation of key phrases should be given in order for the language learners to comprehend the dialogue.
2. The language learners listen attentively while the teacher reads or recites the dialogue at normal speed several times. Gestures and facial expressions or dramatized actions should accompany the presentation.
3. Repetition of each line by the language learners in chorus is the next step. Each sentence may be repeated a half dozens of times, depending on its length and on the alertness of the language learners. If the teacher detects an error, the offending learner is corrected and is asked to repeat the sentence. If many learners make the same errors, chorus repetition and drill will be necessary.
4. Repetition is continued with groups decreasing in size, that is, first the two halves of the class, then thirds, and then single rows or smaller groups. Groups can assume the speaker’s roles.
5. Pairs of individual learners now go to the front of the classroom to act out of the dialogue. By this time they should have memorized the text.

4. Types of pattern drills of Audio Lingual Teaching Method (ALM)
In order for language learners to practice listening and speaking, there are a number of different types of pattern drills that can be used. Language teachers may use one or more than one pattern drill, depending on what patterns learners have to learn. In the following session “T” represents teacher and “S” represent students.
1. Repetition drill. This drill is the simplest drill used in learning language patterns. It is used at the very beginning of language class. Language learners merely repeat what the teacher says or the tape recorder produces. This may be used for the presentation of new vocabulary and will be useful for pronunciation class.
T : I’m going to the post office
S1 : I’m going to the post office
T : I’m going to the market
S2 : I’m going to the market
T : I’m going to the bank
S3 : I’m going to the bank
2. Substitution Drill. Language learners are required to replace one word with another. The may replaced a word on the model sentence with a pronoun, number, or gender and make some the necessary change.

T : I’m going to the office
T : market
S1 : I’m going to the market
T : bank
S2 : I’m going to the bank
T : restaurant
S3 : I’m going to the restaurant
3. Transformation Drill. Language learners are required to change sentence from negative to positive, from positive to interrogative, or from simple present tense to simple past tense, depending on the instruction from the teacher.
T : The book is new
S1 : Is the book new?
T : We are in the class.
S2 : are we in the class?

5. The strengths and weaknesses of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
The Audio Lingual Method is not perfect method. The strengths and weaknesses of Audio Lingual method will be explained as follows:

1. The strengths of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
1) All the students are actives in the class
2) The circumstance class are more interesting and life
3) The speaking and listening skill are more drilled, so the pronunciation skill and listening skill are more controlled
2. The weaknesses of Audio Lingual Method (ALM)
1) For the smart students this method is bored, because the procedure of the ALM method is majority repeat the sentence.
2) Sometimes the students are confused because the teacher explain the material in simple way not in detail way.
3) The grammar skill is not more drilled


The Audio Lingual Method has been explained in detail. The Audio Lingual Method (ALM) is a method which was introduced in the United States of America (USA) in 1940s. The method was accepted by people in other countries and introduced in Indonesia in 1960’s.
Form the explaining in the first chapter until second chapter it can be concluded that the Audio Lingual Method is the teaching method which emphasize the speaking and listening skill. It makes the students can pronoun and listen well. The Audio Lingual Method can make circumstance of teaching in the class more life. The Audio Lingual Method is more effective to make pronunciation and listening skill. However, this method does not emphasize grammar in detail.


1. Setiyadi, Bambang ag Teaching English as a foreign language (the fifth semester book of TEFL1)
2. Diane Larsen – freeman. Techniques and principles in language teaching (the sixth semester book of TEFL2)

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