Senin, 12 April 2010

The Audio-Lingual Method

The Audio-Lingual Method, like the Direct Method we have just examined, is also an oral-based approach. It is very different in that rather than emphasizing vocabulary acquisition through exposure to its use in situations, the Audio-Lingual Method drills students in the use of grammatical sentence patterns. Later in its development, principles from behavioral psychology (skinner 1957) were incorporated. 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 and from the news habits required to be target language speakers.

In lessons later this week the teacher will do the following :
1. Review the dialog.

2. Expand upon the dialog by adding a few more lines, such as ‘I am going to the post office. I need a few stamps.’

3. Drill the new lines and introduce some new vocabulary items through the new lines, for example:
‘I am going to the supermarket. I need a little butter.’
‘… library. … few books,’
‘drugstore. … little medicine.’
4. Work on the difference between mass and count nouns, contrasting ‘a little/a few’ with mass and count nouns respectively. No grammar rule will ever be given to the students. The students will be led to figure out the rules from their work with the examples the teacher provides.

5. A contrastive analysis (the comparison of two languages, in this case, the students native language and the target language, English) has led the teacher to expect that the students will have special trouble with the pronunciation words such as ‘little,’ which contain /i/. the students do indeed say the word as if it contained /iy/. Then, when she feels they are ready, she drills them in saying the two sounds – first by themselves, and later in words, phrases, and sentence.

6. Sometimes towards the end of the week the teacher writes the dialog on the blackboard. She asks the students to give her the lines and she writes them out as the students say them. In another exercise, the students are given sequences of words such as I, go, supermarket and be, need, butter and they are asked to write complete sentences like the ones they have been drilling orally.

7. On Friday the teacher leads the class in the ‘supermarket alphabet game.’ The game starts with a student who needs a food item beginning with the letter ‘A.’ The student says, ‘I am going to the supermarket. I need a few apples.’ The next student says, ‘I am going to the supermarket. He needs a few apples. I need a little bread (or “a few bananas” or any other food item you could find in the supermarket beginning with the letter “B”).’ The third student continues, ‘I am going to the supermarket. He needs a few apples. She needs a little bread. I need a little cheese.’ The game continues with each player adding an item that begins with the next letter in the alphabet. Before adding his own item, however, each player must mention the items of the other students before him. If the student has difficult thinking of an item, the other students or the teacher helps.

8. A presentation by the teacher on supermarket in the united States follows the game. The teacher tries very hard to get meaning across in English. The teacher answers the students questions about the differences between supermarkets in the United States and open – air markets in Mail. They also discuss briefly the differences between American and Malian football. The students seem very interested in the discussion. The teacher promise to continue the discussion of popular American sports next week.

Although it is true that this was a very brief experience with the Audio Lingual method, let’s see if we can make some observations about the behavior of the teacher and the techniques she used. From these we should be able to figure out the principles underlying the method. We will make out observations in order, following the lesson plan of the class we observed.
Observation Principles
1. The teacher introduces a new dialog Language forms do not occur by themselves; they occur most naturally within a context
2. The language teacher uses only the target language in the classroom. Actions, pictures, or realia are used to give meaning otherwise. The native language and the target language have separate linguistic systems.
3. The language teacher introduces the dialog by modeling it two times; at other times, she corrects mispronunciation by modeling the proper sounds in the target language. One of the language teacher’s major roles is that of a model of the target language. Teachers should provide students with a good model. By listening to how it is supposed to sound.
4. The students repeat each line of the new dialog several times. Language learning is a process of habit formation. The more often something is repeated.
5. The students stumble over one of the lines of the dialog. The teacher uses a backward build up drill with this line. It is important to prevent learners from making errors. Errors lead to the formation of bad habits.
6. The teacher initiates a chain drill in which each student greets another. The purpose of language learning is to learn how to use the language to communicate.
7. The teacher uses single-slot and multiple slot substitution drills. Particular parts of speech occupy particular ‘ slots ‘ in sentences.
8. The teacher says, ‘ very good ‘, when the students answer correctly. Positive reinforcement helps the students to develop correct habits.
9. The teacher uses spoken cues and pictures Students should learn to respond to both verbal and nonverbal
10. The teacher conducts transformation and question-and-answer drills. Each language has a finite number of patterns. Pattern practice helps students to form habits which enable the students to use the patterns.
11. When the students can handle it, the teacher poses the questions to them rapidly. Students should ‘ overlearn ’, i.e. learn to anwer automatically without stopping to think.
12. The teacher provides the students with cues; she calls on individuals; she smiles encouragement; she holds up pictures one after another. The teacher should be like an orcherstra leader-conducting, guilding, and controlling the students behavior in the target language.
13. New vocabulary is introduced through lines of the dialog; vocabulary is limited. The major objective of language teaching should be for students to acquire the structural patterns.
14. Students are given no grammar rules; grammatical points are taught through examples and drills. The learning of a foreign language should be the same as the acquisition of the native language. The rules necessary to use the target language will be figured out or induced from examples.
15. The teacher does a contrastive analysis of the target language and the students native language in order to locate the places where she anticipates her students will have trouble. The major challenge of foreign language teaching is getting students to overcome the habits of their native language.
16. The teacher writes the dialog on the blackboard toward the end of the week. Speech is more basic to language than the written form. The ‘ natural order ‘- the order children follow when learning their native language-skill acquisition is listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
17. The supermarket alphabet game and a discussion of American supermarkets and football are included. Language cannot be separated from culture. Culture is not only literature and the arts; but also the everyday behavior of the people who use the target language.

At this point we should turn to the ten questions we have answered for each method we have considered so for.
1. What are the goals of teachers who use the 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 overlearn the target language, to learn to use it automatically without stopping to think.
2. What is the role of the teacher? What is the role of the students?
The teacher is like an orchestra leader, directing and controlling the language behavior of her students. Students are imitators of the teacher’s model or the tapes she supplies of model speakers.
3. What are some characteristics of the teaching/learning process?
New vocabulary and structural patterns are presented through dialogs. Grammar is induced from the examples given: explicit grammar rules are not provided. Cultural information is contextualized in the dialogs or presented by the teacher.
4. What is the nature of student-teacher interaction? What is the nature of student-student interaction?
There is student-to-student interaction in chain drills or when students take different roles in dialogs, but this interaction is teacher-directed. Most of the interaction is between teacher and students and is initiated by the teacher.
5. How are the feelings of the students dealt with?
There are no principles of the method that relate to this area.
6. How is the language viewed? How is the culture viewed?
The view of language in the Audio-Lingual Method has been influenced by descriptive linguists. The system is comprised of several different levels: phonological, morphological, and syntactic. Culture consists of the everyday behavior and lifestyle of the target language speakers.
7. What areas of language are emphasized? What language skills are emphasized?
Vocabulary is kept to a minimum while the students are mastering the sound system and grammatical patterns. A grammatical pattern is not the same as a sentence. The natural order of skills presentation is adhered to: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The oral/aural skills receive most of the attention. Pronunciation is taught from the beginning, often by students working in language laboratories on discriminating between members of minimal pairs.
8. What is the role of the students’ native language?
The habits of the students’ native language are thought to interfere with the 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.
9. How is evaluation accomplished?
The answer to this question is not obvious because we did not actually observe the students in this class taking a formal test. Students might be asked to distinguish between words In a minimal pair, for example, or to supply an appropriate verb form in a sentence.
10. How does the teacher respond to student errors?
Student errors are to be avoided if at all possible through the teacher’s awareness of where the students will have difficulty and restriction of what they are taught to say.

If you are agree with the above answers, you may wish to implement the following techniques; of course, even if you do not agree, there are may be techniques described below that you are already using or can adapt to your approach.
Dialog memorization
Dialogs or short conversation between two people are often used to begin a new lesson. Students memorize the dialog through mimicry; students usually take the role of one person in the dialog, and the teacher the other. After the dialog 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 dialog. This patterns and points are later practiced in drills based on the lines of the dialog.
Backward build-up (expansion) drill
This drill is used when a long line of a dialog is giving students trouble. The teacher breaks down the line into several parts. 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.
Repetition drill
Students are asked to repeat the teacher’s model as accurately and as quickly as possible. This drill is often used to teach the lines of the dialog.
Chain drill
A chain drill gets its name from the chain of conversation that from around the room as students, one-by-one, ask and answer questions of each other. The first student greets or asks a question of the second student and the chain continues. A chain drill also gives the teacher an opportunity to check each student’s speech.
Single-slot substitution drill
The teacher says a line, usually from the dialog. Next, the teacher says a word or a phrase-called the cue. The students repeat the line the teacher has given them, substituting the cue into the line in its proper place. The major purpose of this drill is to give the students practice in finding and filling in the slots of a sentence.
Multiple-slot substitution drill
This drill is similar to the single-slot substitution drill. The difference is that the teacher gives cue phrase, one at a time, that fit into different slots in the dialog line. The students must recognize what part of speech each cue is, or at least, where it fits into the sentence, and make any other changes, such as subject-verb agreement.
Transformation drill
The teacher gives students a certain kind of sentence pattern, an affirmative sentence for example. Other examples of transformations to ask of students are changing a statement into a question, an active sentence into a passive one, or direct speech into reported speech.
Question-and-answer drill
This drill gives students practice with answering questions. The students should answer the teacher’s questions very quickly. Although we did not see it in our leson here, it is also possible for the teacher to cue the students to ask questions as well.
Use of minimal pairs
The teacher woks with pairs of words which differ in only one sound; for example, ‘ship/sheep’. Students are first asked to perceive the difference between the two words and later to be able to say the two words. The teacher selects the sounds to work on after she has done a contrastive analysis, a comparison between the students’ native language and the language they are studying.
Complete the dialog
Selected words are erased from a dialog students have learned. Students complete the dialog by filling the blanks with the missing words.
Grammar game
Games like the supermarket alphabet game described in this chapter are used in the A udio-Lingual Method. Students are able to express themselves, although it is rather limited in this game. Notice there is also a lot of repetition in this game.

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