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Reading # 8
Richards, J. C. and Rodgers, T.S. Approaches and Methods in laneuaee teachin~. C.U.P., pp. 44
63

4 The Audiolingual Method

Background
The Coleman Report in 1929 recommended a reading-based approach
to foreign language teaching for use in American schools and colleges
(Chapter 1). This emphasized teaching the comprehension of texts.
Teacliers taught from books containing short reading passages iii the
foreigii language, preceded by lists of vocabulary. Rapid silent reading
was tlie goal, but in practice teachers often resorted to discussing the
coiitent of the passage in English. Those involved in the teaching of
Englisli as a second language in the United States between the two world
wars used either a modified Direct Method approach, a reading-based
approach, or a reading-oral approach (Darian 1972). Unlike the ap-
proach that was being developed by British applied linguists during the
same period, there was little attempt to treat language content system-
atically. Sentence patterns and grammar were introduced at the whiiii
of the textbook writer. There was no standardization of the vocabulary
or granimar that was included. Neither was there a consensus o n wlint
graiiiniar, sentence patterns, and vocabulary were rnost important for
beginning, intermediate, or advanced learners.
But the entry of the United States into World War 11 had a significant
effect on language teaching in America. To supply the U.S. government
with personnel who were fluent in German, French, Italian, Chinese,
Japanese, Malay, and other languages, and who could work as inter-
preters, code-room assistants, and translators, it was necessary to set up
a special language training program. The government commissioned
American universities to develop foreign language programs for inilitary
persoiiiiel. Thus the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) wns
establislied in 1942. Fifty-five American universities were involved i n
thc program by the beginniñg of 1943.
Tlie objective of the army programs was for students to attain con-
versiitional proficiency in a variety of foreign languages. Since this was
not tlie goal of conventional foreign language courses in the United
States, iiew approaches were necessary. Linguists, such as Leonnrd
Blooiiifield a t Yale, had already developed training prograins as part ot
thcir liriguistic research that were designed to give linguists and antliro-
pologists mastery of American Indian lang~iagesand other Ianguager

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
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The Audiolitzgual Method

they were studying. Texcbooks did not exist for such languages. The
technique Bloomfield and his colleagues used was sometiines known as
the "informant method," since it used a native speaker of the language
- the informant - who served as a source of phrases and vocabulary
and who provided sentences f o r imitation, a n d a linguist, who supervised
the learning experience. The linguist did not necessariiy know the lan-
guage but was trained in eliciting the basic structure of the language
from the informant. Thus the students and the linguist were able to take
part in guided conversation with the informant, and together they grad-
ually learned how t o speak the lariguage, as well as to understand much
of its basic grammar. Students in such courses studied ten hours a day,
six days a week. There were generally fifteen hours of drill witli native
speakers and twenty to thirty hours of private study spread over two to
three six-week sessions. This was the system adopted by the army, and
in small classes of mature and highly motivated students, excellent results
were often achieved.
The Army Specialized Training Program lasted only about two years
but attracted considerable attention in the popular press and in the
academic community. For the next ten years the "Army Method" and
its suitability for use in regular language programs was discussed. But
the linguists who developed the ASTP were not interested primarily in
language teaching. The "methodology" of the Army Method, like the
Direct Method, derived from the intensity of contact with the target
language rather than froni any well-developed methodological basis. It
was a program innovative mainly in terms of the procedures used and
the intensity of teaching rather than in terms of its underlying theory.
However, it did convince a iiurnber of prominent linguists of the value
of an intensive, oral-baskd approach t o the learning of a foreign language.
Linguists and applied linguists during this period were becoming in-
creasingly involved in the teachirig of English as a foreign language.
America had now emerged as a inajor international power. There was
a growing demand for foreigii expertise in the teaching of English. Thou-
sands of foreign students entcred the United.States to study in univer-
sities, and many of these st~identsrequired training in English before
they could begin their studies These factors led t o the emergence of the
American approach to ESL, wliich by the mid-fifties had become
Audiolingualism.
In 1939 the University of hlichigan developed the first English Lan-
guage Institute in the Uniteci States; it specialized in the training of
teachers of English as a foreigii language and in teaching English as a
second o r foreign language. Charles Fries, director of the institute, was
trained in structural linguisrici, ;trtd he applied the principies of structural
linguistics to language teaching. Fries and his colleagues rejected ap-
proaches like those of ttie 1)irzct blethod, in which learners are exposed

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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Approaches & methods in h~r~:<ir,ige


teaching

to the language, use it, and gs:i~iii;illyabsorb its grammatical patterns.


For Fries, grammar, or "strticriirc," was the starting point. The structlire
of the language was identified \ \ i r l i irs basic sentence patterris and gram-
matical structures. The langitiigi was taught by systematic attention to
pronunciation and by intensivc or;il drilling of its basic sentence patterns.
Pattern practice was a basic clnssrooin technique. "lt is these basic pat-
terns that constitute the learnerV\rnsk They require drill, drill, and more
drill, and oniy enough vocab~ilaryt o inake such drills possible" (Hockett
1959).
Michigan was not the only uiiiversity involved in developing courses
and materials for teaching Englisli. A number of other similar programs
were established, some of the riirliest being at Georgetown University
and American University, Washington, D.C., and at the University of
Texas, Austin. U.S. linguists \vere becoming increasingly active, both
within the United States and ;ibrond, in supervising programs for the
teaching of English (Moultoii 196 1). In 1950 the Ainerican Council of
Learned Societies, under contract to the U.S. State Department, was
commissioned to develop textbooks tor teaching English to speakers of
a wide number of foreign langiiages. The format the Iinguists involved
in this project followed was known as the "general forrn". A lesson
began with work on pronunciation, morphology, aiid grammar, fol-
lowed by drills and exercises. The guidelines were publislied as Structzrral
Notes and Corpus: A Basis for the Preparation of Maierials to Teach
English as a Foreigrr Language (American Council of Learned Societies
1952). This became an influentinl document and together with tlie "gen-
eral form" was used as a guide to developing English courses for speakers
of ten different languages (the famotis Spoken Lang~tngesrrirs), puh-
lished between 1953 and 1956 (Ivloulton 1961).
In many ways the methodology used by U.S. linguists and lariguage
teaching experts at this period sounded similar to the British Oral Ap-
proach, although the two traditions developed independently. The Amer-
ican approach differed, however, in its strong alliance with American
striictural linguistics and its applied linguistic applications, particularly
contrastive analysis. Fries set forth his principies in Teaching a n d Learn-
ing English as a Foreign Lang~r~rge (1945), in which the problems of
learning a foreign language were nrtributed to the conflict of different
structural systems (¡.e., differences between the grammatical and plion-
ological patterns of the native toiigue and the target language). Con-
trastive analysis of the two langiiages would allow potential problems
of interference to be predicted aiid addressed through carefully prepared
teaching materials. Thus was borii a major industry in American applied
linguistics - systematic comparisons of English with other languages,
with a view toward solving rhe iiiiidamental problems of foreign lan-
guage learning.

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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The Audiolirrgual Method

The approach developed by linguists at Michigan and other univer-


sities became known va,riously as the Oral Approach, the '4ural-Oral
Approach, and the Structural Approach. It advocated aural training first,
then pronunciation training, followed by speaking, reading, and writing.
Language was identified with speech, and speech was approached through
structure. This approach influenced the way languages were taught in
the United States throughout the fifties. As an a ~ p r o a c hto tlie teaching
of English as a foreign language the new orthodoxy was proinoted
through the University of Michigan's journal Language 1,earning. This
was a period when expertise in linguistics was regarded as a necessary
and sufficient foundation for expertise in language teaching. Not sur-
prisingly, the ciassroom materials produced by Fries and linguists at
Yale, Cornell, and elsewhere evidenced considerable Iingiiistic analysis
but very littie pedagogy. They were widely used, however, aiid the ap-
plied linguistic principies on which they were based were thought to
incorporate the most advanced scientific approach to langurige teaching.
If there was any learning theory underlying the Aural-Oral iiiaterials, it
was a commonsense application of the idea that practice niakes perfect.
There is no explicit reference to then-current learning theory in Fries's
work. It was the incorporation of the linguistic principies of the Aural-
Oral approach with state-of-the-art psychological learniiig theory in the
mid-fifties that led to the method that came to be known as
Audiolingualism.
The emergence of the Audiolingual ~ e t h o dresulted from the in-
creased attention given to foreign language teaching in tlie IJiiited States
toward the end o i the 1950s. The need for a radical change 2nd rethink-
ing of foreign language teaching methodology (most of whicli \vas srill
linked to the Reading Method) was prompted by the laiiriching of the
first Russian satellite in 1957. The U.S. Government ackiiowledgcd the
need for a more intensive effort to teach foreign languages i i i order to
prevent Americans trom becoming isolated from scientific adviiiices rnade
in other countries. The National Defense Education Act ( 1Y.i8), among
other measures, provided funds for the study and analysis ot niodern
languages, for the development of reaching materials, and tor rlie training
of teachers. Teachers were encouraged to atterid sumrner iiistitutes to
improve their knowledge of foreign languages and to learii tlic pririciples
of linguistics and the new linguistically based teaching iiictliocis. Lan-
guage teaching specialists set about developing a method rli;it was ap-
plicable to conditions in U.S. colleges and university classroonis. Tliey
drew on the earlier experience of the army programs and the Xural-Oral
or Structural Approach developed by Fries and his colleag~ics,adding
insights taken from behaviorist psychology. This cornbiiiatioii of struc-
tural linguistic theory, contrastive analysis, aural-oral proced~ires,and
behaviorist psychology led to the Audiolingual Method. Aiidiolingualism

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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Approaches e? methods in language teaching

(the term was coined by Professor Nelson Brooks i i i 1')64) claimed to


have transformed language teaching from an art t o .i \cience, which
would enable learners to achieve mastery of a foreign I;iiisiinge effectively
and efficiently. The method was widely adopted tor i~,nchingforeign
languages in North American colleges and universitic\. I r provided the
methodoiogical foundation for materials for the teachiiig of foreign lan-
guages at college and university leve1 in the United St;itcs nrid Canada,
and its principles formed the basis of such widely used series as the Lado
English Series (Lado 1977) and English 900 (English L.niiguage Services
1964). Although the method began to fall from favor i i i tlie late sixties
for reasons we shall discuss later, Audiolingualism aiid riiaterials based
on audiolingual principles continue to be widely iised today. Let us
examine the features of the Audiolingual Method n t tlie levels of ap-
proach, design, and procedure.

Approach

Theory of language
The theory of language underlying Audiolingualism was derived from
a view proposed by ~ m e r i c a nlinguists in the 1950s - a view that came
to be known as structural linguistics. Linguistics had enierged as a flour-
ishing academic discipline in the 1950s, and the structural theory o f
language constituted its backbone. Structural iinguistics had developed
in p a a as a reaction to traditional grammar. Traditiorial approaches to
the study of language had linked the study of langtiage to philosophy
and to a mentalist approach to grammar. Grammar rvns considered a
branch of logic, and the grammatical categories of Iiido-European lan-
guages were thought to represent ideal categories ir1 lariguages. Many
nineteenth-century language scholars had viewed moderri Eiiropean lan-
guages as corruptions of classical grammar, and langunges from other
parts of the world were viewed as primitive and underclcveioped.
The reaction against traditional grammar was promptcd by the move-
ment toward positivism and empiricism, which Darwiir's Origin of the
Species had helped promote, and by an increased iiiterest in non-
European languages on the part of scholars. A more practica1 interest
in language study emerged. As linguists discovered new so~indtypes and
new patterns of linguistic invention and organization, a riew interest in
phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax developed By the 1930s,
the scientific approach to the study of language was rlioiight to consist
of collecting examples of what speakers said and ;iiinl\-~iiigthem ac-
cording to different levels of structural organizatiori r;ither than ac-
cording to categories of Latin grammar. A sophisticiircd rnethodology

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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The Audiolingual Method

for collecrii~~ 2nd analyzing data developed, which involved transcribing


spoken ~itrc.rnricesin a !anguage phonetically aiid later working out the
phoneniic. i~~orphological (stems, prefixes, suffixes, etc.), and syntactic
(phrases, clnuscs, sentence types) systems underlying the grammar of the
language L.aiiguage was viewed as a system of structurally related ele-
ments for tlie encoding of meaning, the elements being phonemes, rnor-
phemes, worcls, structures, 2nd sentence types. The term structural referred
to these characteristics: (a) Elements in a language were thought of as
being linearly produced in a ruie-governed (structured) way. (b) Lan-
guage samples could be exhaustively described at any structural level of
description (phonetic, phonemic, morphological, etc.). (c) Linguistic lev-
els were thought of as systems within systems - that is, as being pyram-
idally structured; phonemic systems led to morphemic systems, and these
in turn led to the higher-level systems of phrases, clauses, and sentences.
Learning a language, it was assumed, entails mastering the elements
or building hlocks of the Ianguage and lcarning the rules by which these
elements are conibined, from phonerne to rnorpheme to word to phrase
to sentence. The phonological system defines rliose sound elements that
contrast nieaningfully with one another iii the language (phonemes),
their phonetic realizations in specific environments (allophones), and
their permissible sequences (phonotactics). The phonological and gram-
matical systems of the language constitute the organization of language
and by implication the units of production and comprehension. The
grammatical system consists of a listing of grammatical elements and
rules for their linear combination into words, phrases, and sentences.
Rule-ordered processes involve addition, deletion, and transposition of
elements.
An imporrant tenet of structural linguistics was that the primary me-
dium of language is oral: Speech is language. Since many languages do
not have a written form and we learn to speak before we learn to read
or write, ir was argued that language is "primarily what is spoken and
only secondarily what is written" (Brooks 1964). Therefore, it was as-
sumed that speech had a priority in language teaching. This was contrary
to popular views of the relationship of the spoken and written forms of
language, sirlce it had been widely assumed that language existed prin-
cipally as syrnbols written on paper, and that spoken language was an
imperfect realization of the pure written version.
This scientific approach to language analysis appeared to offer the
foundations for a scientific approach to language teaching. In 1961 the
American linguist William Moulton, in a report prepared for the 9th
International Congress of Linguists, proclaimed the linguistic principies
on which laiigtiage teaching methodology should be based: "1.anguage
is speech, iiot writing.. . . A language is a set of habits.. . .Teach the
language, r i o t ;ihout the language. . . . A lariguage is what its native speak-

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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Approaches & methods in language teaching

/ Reinforcement (behavior likely to oc-


agan and becorne a habit)
cui

Stimulus - Organism - Response


Behavior
/

\ Negative
No reinforcementi
reinforcement
(behavior not likely to occur again)

ers say, not what someone thinks they ought to say.. . . Languages are
different" (quoted in Rivers 1964: 5 ) . But a metliod cannot be based
simply on a theory of language. It also needs to refer to the psychology
of learning and to learning theory. It is to this aspect of Audiolingualism
that we now turn.

Theory of learning
The language teaching theoreticians and methodologists who developed
Audiolingualism not only had a convincing and powerful theory of
language to draw upon but they were also working in a period when a
prominent school of American psychology - known as behavioral psy-
"Z ..
choloev - claimed to have tapped the secrets of al1 human learning,
including language learning. Behaviorisiri, like structural linguistics, is
-

.
another antimentalist..empiricallv biised approach
.. to the study of human
behavior. To the behaviorist, the Iiuiiinn heing is an organism capable
of a wide repertoire of behaviors. The occurrence of these behaviors is
dependent upon three crucial elenieiits in learning: a stimulus, which
serves to elicit behavior; a response rriggered by a stimuliis; and rein-
forcement, which serves to mark tlie response as being appropriate (or
inappropriate) and encourages the repetition (or suppression) of the
response in the future (see Skinner 1957; Brown 1980). A representation
of this can be seen in Figure 4.1.
Reinforcement 1s a vital elemeiit tn rlie learning process, because it
increases the likelihood that the beiicivior will occur again and eventually
become a habit. T o apply this theor? ro language learning is t o identify
the organism as the foreign language leiirner, the behavior as verbal
behavior, the stimulus as what is rniight or presented of the foreign
language, the response as the leariier'~reaction to the stimulus, and the
reinforcement as the extrinsic approval iind praise of the teacher or fellow
students or the intrinsic self-satisfactioii ot target language use. Language
mastery is represented as acquiring 3 ser of appropriate language stim-

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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'Ihc ;1~~diolingual
Method

The descriptive practices of structural lingiiiii\ siiggested a number of


hypotheses about langu,age learning, and henLc .iiiout language teachirig
as well. For example, since linguists normall! J~.scribedlanguages be-
ginning with the phonological level and finishiiig \citli the sentence level,
it was assumed that this was also the appropriLirc scquence for learriing
and teaching. Since speech was n o w held t í ) l,i. priniary and wririiig
secondary, it was assumed that language t e a c l ~ i i should
i~ focus on inas-
tery of speech and that writing o r even writteii proinpts should be with-
held until reasonablv late in the language lenriiinn- .process. Since the -
structure is what is important and unique about n language, early practice
should focus on mastery of phonological arid grainmatical structures
rather than on mastery of vocabulary.
O u t of these various influences emerged a iluiiiber of learning priii-
ciples, which became the psychological found:itioiis of Audiolingualisii~
and came t o chape its methodological practices Xinong the more central
are the following:
1 . Foreign language learning is basically a procesi ot niechanical habit for-
mation. Cood habits are formed by giving corrccr responses rather thaii
by making mistakes. By memorizing dialogues nnd pcrforming pattern
drills the chances of producing mistakes are rniriiiiii/ed. Language is ver-
bal behavior - that is, the automatic production iiiid comprehension of
utterances - and can be learned-by:inducingrhe stiideiits to do likewisc
2. Language skills are learned more effectively if rhe itcins to be learned in
the target language are presented in spoken forin hefore they are seen ir1
written form. Aural-oral training is needed to provide the foundation for
the development of other language skills.
3. Analogy provides a better foundation for langu;t$c Ienrning h a n analysis
Analogy involves the processes of generalizatioii ;iiid dis~rimination.icx-
planations of rules are therefore not given until siudcnts have practiced a
pattern in a variety of contexts and are thouglir r o have acquired a per-
ception of the analogies involved. Drills can ennhlc learners to form cor-
rect analogies. Hence the approach to the teacliiiig of grammar-is
essentially inductive rather than deductive.
4 The meanings that the words of a language ha\c tor tlie native speaker
can be learned only in a linguisric and cultural coritcxt and not in isola-
tion. Teaching a language thus involves teaching aspects of the cultural
system of the people who speak the language ( f t i i , c r s 1964: 19-22).
In advocating these principies, proponents o t Aiidiolingualism were
drawing on the theory of a well-developed scliool of American psy-
cholog;- behaviorism: The prominent ~ ~ r v a 1,ehaviorist
rd B. F. ~ k i n n e r
had elaborated a theory of learning applicablc to language learning in
his influential book Verbal Behavior (1957), i i i which he stated, "We
have n o reason to assume.. . that verbal belinvior differs in any fun-
damental respect from non-verbal behavior, or ~ l i a any
t new pririciples
must be invoked to account for ir" (1957: 10j Xrined with a powerful

51
* ,:

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

Approaches & methods in language teaching

theory of the nature of language and of language learning, audiolin-


gualists could now turn to the design of language teaching courses and
materials.

Design

Audiolinguaiists demanded a complete reorientation of tlie foreign lari-


guage curriculum. Like the nineteenth-century reforrners, they advocated
a return to speech-based instruction with the primary oblective of oral
proficiency, and dismissed the study of grammar or literature as the goal
of foreign language teaching. "A radical transformarion is called for, a
new orientation of procedures is demanded, and a tlioro~ighhouse clean-
ing of methods, inaterials, texts and tests is unavoidable" (Brooks 1964:
SO).

Objectives
Brooks distinguishes between short-range and long-range objectives of
an audiolingual prograrn. Short-range objectives include training in lis-
tening comprehension, accurate pronunciation, recognition of speech
symbols as graphic signs on the printed page, artd nbtlity t o reproduce
these symbols in writing (Brooks 1964: 111). "These inimediate objec-
tives imply three others: first, control of the strucrures ot sound, form,
and order in the new language; second, acquaiiitance with vocabulary
items that bring content into these structures; nnd rhird, meaning, in
terms of the signiíicance these verbal symbois have ior those w h o speak
the language natively" (Brooks 1964: 113). Long-raiigc ohjectives "must
be language as the native speaker uses it.. . . There nilist he some knowl-
edge of a second language as it is possessed by a true biliiigiialist" (Brooks
1964: 107).
In practice this means that the focus in the early stages is on oral
skills, with gradual Links to other skills as learning develops. Oral pro-
ficiency is equated with accurate pronunciation aiid graiiiniar and the
ability to respond quickly and accurately in speecli sitiiations. The teach-
ing of listening comprehension, pronunciation, graiiiiii;ir, ltnd vocabu-
lary are al1 related to development of oral fluency. I<e;iding and writing
skills inay be taught, but they are dependent upoii prior oral skills.
Language is primarily speech in audiolingual theory, i>iir speaking skills
are themselves dependent upon the ability to acc~ir:trely perceive and
produce the major ph~nologicalfeatures of the target I;trigiiage, fluency
in the use of the key grammatical patterris in the Iniigiingr, and knowl-
edge of sufficient vocabulary to use with these pnttcriis

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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The Audiolingual Method

The syllabus
Audiolingualism is a linguistic, or structiire-based, approach t o language
teaching. The starting point is a linguistic syllabus, which contains the
key items of phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language ar-
ranged according to their order of presentation. These may have been
derived in part from a contrastive analysis of the differences between
the native tongue and the target language, since these differences are
thought to be the cause of the major difficulties the learner will en-
counter. In addition, a lexical syllabus of basic vocabulary iterns is also
usually specified in advance. In Foundations for English Teaching (Fries
and Fries 1961), for example, a Corpus of structural and lexical items
graded into tliree levels is proposed, together with suggestions as to the
situations that could be used to contextualize them.
The language skills are taught in the order of listening, speaking,
reading, and writing. Listening is viewed largely as training in aura1
discriminatiori of basic sound patterns. The language rnay be presented
entirely oraily at first; written representations are usually withheld from
learners in early stages.
The learner's activities must at first be confined to the audiolingual and ges-
tural-visual baiids of language behavioc.:. .
Recognition and discrirnination are followed by imitation, repetition and
mernorization. Oiily when he is thoroughly familiar with sounds, arrange-
rnents, and forriis does he center his attention on enlarging his vocabulary.. . .
Throughout he concentrares upon gaining accuracy before striving for
fluency. (Brooks 1964: SO)
When reading nnd writing are introduced, students are taught to read
and write wlint rhey have already learned to say oraily. An atternpt is
made to miniinize the possibilities for making mistakes both in speaking
and writing by iising a tightly structured approach to the presentation
of new langliage items. At more advanced levels, more compiex reading
and writing tiisks may be introduced.

Types of learning and teaching activities


Dialogues anci cirills form the basis of audioliiigual classroom practices.
Dialogues provide the means of contextualizing key structures and il-
lustrate situarioiis i i i which structures might be used as well as some
cultural aspects of t:-2 target language. Dialogues are used for repetition
and rnemorizarioii. Correct pronunciation, stress, rhythrn, and intona-
tion are ernpliiisi~ed..4fter a dialogue has been presented and memorized,
specific grniiiin3rical patterns in the dialogue are seiected arid becomr
the focus o1 viirious kixids of dril1 and pattern-practice exercises.

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

Approaches & methods in lunguage teaching

T h e use of drills a n J p;ittern practice i s a distinctive feature of the


Audiolingual Method. V~iriouskinds of drills are used. Brooks (1964:
156-61) includes the follo\viiig:
l. Repetition. The studenr rcpears an utterance aloud as soon as he has
heard ir. He does this wirhoiit looking at a printed text. The utterance
must be brief enough to !>e retained by rhe ear. Sound is as important as
form and order.
EXAMPLE.
This is the seventh month. -This is the seventh monrh.
After a student has repeared an utterance, he inay repeat it again and
add a few words, then repeat that whole utterance and add more words.
EXAMPLES.
1 used to know him. -1 iised to know him.
1 used to know him y e ~ r sogo. -1 used to know hini years ago when we
were in school.. . .
2. Inflection. One word in nn utterance appears in another torm when
repeated.
EXAMPLES.
1 bought the ticket. -1 bought the tickets.
He bought the candy -She bought the candy.
1 called the young man. -1 called the young men
3. Replacement. One word in an utteonce is replaced by another
EXAMPLES.
He bought this house cheap. -He bought it clieap
Helen left early -She lefr early.
They gave their boss a. watch. -They gave him a wntch
4. Restatement. The studeiir tephrases an utterance and addresses ir to
someone else, according to instructions.
EXAMPLES.
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? . .
5. Completion. The srudent hears an utterance that is complete except for
one word, then repeats the utterance in complered form.
EXAMPLES.
I'll go my way and yoii go.. . . -1'11 go my way and you go yortrs.
We al1 have ...own troubles. -We al1 have our own troubles. . . .
6. Transposition. A change in word order is necessary when a word is
added.
EXAMPLU.
i'm hungry. (so). -So .lin l.
i'll never do it again. !iieirlier). -Neither w:ll 1 . . .

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

T h e Audiolingual Method

7. Expansion When a word is added it takes a certniii place in the


sequence.
EXAMPLES.
1 know him. (hardly). -1 hardly know him.
1 know him. (well). -1 know him well.. . .

8. Contractiort. A single word stands for a phrase o r clnuse.


EXAMPLES.
Put your hand on the table. -Put your hand there
They believe that the earth is flat -They believe it

V . Trnnsformation. A sentence is transformed by beirig made negative o r in-


terrogative o r through changes in tense, mood, voice, aspect, o r
modality.
EXAMPI.ES.
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 integrnted into one.
EXAMPLES.
They must be honest. This is irnportant. -1t is important that they be
honest.
1 know that man. He is looking for you. -1 kno\r, tlic niaii who is look-
ing for you.. . .

11. Rejoinder The student makec an appropriri;~reji,;n?ii.i 10 3 gi-vsii utisr-


ance. He is told in advance to respond in one ot rlic following ways:
Be polite.
Answer the question.
Agree.
Agree emphatically.
Express sucprise.
Express regret.
Disagree.
Disagree emphatically.
Question what is said.
Fail to understand.
BE L'OLITE. EXAMPI-ES.
Thank you. -You're welcome.
May 1 take one? -Certainly.
ANSWER THE QUESTION. FXAMPI.ES.
What is your name? -My name is Srnitli.
Where did it happen? -1n the middle of the street

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
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Approaches & methods in language teachi?zsy

AGREE. EXAMPLES.
He's following us. -1 think you're right.
This is good coffee. -Ir's very good.

12. Restoration The student is given a sequence ot \\.ords that have been
culled from a sentence but still bear its basic iii~~niiing.
He uses these
words with a minimum of changes and additioiis to restore the sentence
to its original form. He may be told whether thc tinic is present, past, or
future.
EXAMPLES.
-
students/waitine/bus -The students are waiting tor the bus.
boys/build/house/tree -The boys built a house'in n tree.. ..

Learner roles
Learners are viewed as organisms that can be dirccted by skilled training
techniques to produce correct responses. In accordance with behaviorist
learning theory, teaching focuses on the exteriial rnanifestations of learn-
ing rather than on the interna1 processes. Leariiers play a reactive role
by responding to stimuli, and thus have little control over the content,
pace, o r style of learning. They are not encouraged to initiate interaction,
because this may lead to mistakes. The fact rhat in the early stages
learners d o not always understand the meanirig of what they are re-
peating is not perceived as a drawback, for by Iistening t o the teacher,
imitating accurately, and responding to and pertorniing controlled tasks
they are learning a new form of verbal behavior.

Teacher roles
In Audiolingualism, as in Situational Language reaching, the teacher's
role is central and active; it is a teacher-dominated method. The teacher
models the target language, controls the directioii and pace of learning,
and monitors and corrects the learners' perforinarice. The teacher must
keep the learners attentive by varying drills and tasks and choosing
relevant situations to practice structures. Larig~iagclearning is seen to
result from active verbal interaction between tlie teacher aiid the learners.
Failure to learn resuits only from the improper applicatioii of the method,
for example, from the teacher not providing sutficierit practice o r from
the learner not memorizing the essential patteriis nrid structures; but the
method itself is never to blame. Brooks argues tliat the teacher must be
trained t o do the following:
Introduce, sustain, and harmonize the learning o i thc Iour skills in this order:
hearing, speaking, reading and writing.
Use - and not use - English in the language clascioc~iii

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

Tbe Audioli~zgualMetbod

.\lo~ielthe various types of language behavior that the student is to learn


1 c.ic.li spoken language in dialogue form.
I)trcct choral response by al1 or parts of rhe class.
1 c:icli tlie use of structure through pattern practice.
(;iiicle the student in choosing and learning vocabulary.
511o\v how words relate to meaning in the target language.
(iet tlie individual studenr to talk.
I<cw:ird rriais by the student in such a way that learning is reinforced.
Teacli a short story and other literary forms.
1:stnblish and maintain a cultural island.
Fornialize on the first day the rules according to which the language class is
to he conducted, and enforce them.
(Brooks 1964: 143)

The role of instructional materials


Irtstructional materials in the Audiolingual Method assist the teacher to
develop language mastery in the learner. They are primarily teacher
oriented. A student textbook is often not used in the elementary phases
of a course where students are primarily listening, repeating, and re-
sponding. At this stage in learning, exposure t o the printed word may
not be considered desirable, because it distracts attention from the aural
input. The teacher, however, will have access to a teacher's book that
contains the structured sequence of lessons to be followed and the dia-
logues, drills, and other practice activities. When textbooks and printed
materials are introduced to the student, they provide the texts of dra-
logues and cues needed for drills and exercises.
Tape recorders and audiov~sualequipment often have ceritral ro!es ir:
ari audiolingual course. If the teacher is not a native speaker of the target
laiiguage, the tape recorder provides accurate models for dialogues and
drills. A Ianguage laboratory may also be considered essential. It provides
tlie opportunity for further drill work and t o receive controlled error-
free practice of basic structures. It also adds variety by providing an
alternative to classroom practice. A taped lesson may first present a
dialogue for listening practice, allow for the student to repeat the seri-
tences in the dialogue line by line, and provide follow-up fluency drills
on grarnmar o r pronunciation.

Procedure
Siiice Audiolingualism is primarily an oral approach t o language teach-
iris, i t is not surprising that the process of teaching involves extensive
oral iristruction. The focus of instruction is on immediate and accurnte
spccch, there is little provision for grammatical explanatioii or t a l k ~ n g

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

Approaches 6 methods in language teaching


a b o u t t h e language. As far a s pocsible, t h e target language is used a s t h e
medium of instrucrion, nnd translation o r use of t h e native t o n g u e is
discouraged. Classes oí ten o r less a r e considered optimal, a l t h o u g h
larger classes a r e ofren tlie norm. Brooks lists t h e following procedures
t h e teacher should a d o p t i i i iising t h e Audiolingual Method:
The modeling ot al1 learnings by the teacher.
The subordination of tlie niother tongue to the second language by rendering
English inactive while the new language is being learned.
The early a n d conrinued trainiiig of the ear aiid tongue without recourse to
graphic symbols.
The learning of structure tlirough the practice of patterns of sound, arder,
and form, rarher than by euplanaóon.
The gradual substitutioii of graphic symbols for sounds after sounds are thor-
oughly known.
The summarizing of thc iiiain principies of structure for the student's use
when the strucrures are already familiar, especially when they differ from
those of rhe mother tongue.
The shortening of the time spari between a performance and the pronounce-
ment of its rightness o r rcrrongness, without inrerrupcing rhe response. This
enhances the factor of reinforcement in iearning.
The minimizing of vocabulnry until al1 common structures have been learned.
The study of vocabularv oiily in context.
Sustained practice in rhe use of tlie language only in the molecular form of
speaker-hearer-situation.
Practice in translation oiily as a literary cxercise at a n advanced level.
(Brooks 1964: 142)
In a typical audiolingiial lessori t h e following procedures w o u l d be
observed:
1. Students first hear a moJel dialogue (either read by the teacher o r o n
tape) containing the key strucrures that are the focus of the lesson. They
repeat each line of tlie clialogiie, individually and in chorus. The teacher
pays attention to proti~iiici;ition,intonation, and fluency. Correction of
mistakes of pronunci:itioii ur grammar is direct and immediate. The dia-
logue is memorized graciilnlly, line by line. A line may be broken down
into several phrases i t tiecessary. The dialogue is read aloud in chorus, one
half saying one speaker's pnrt 2nd rhe orher half responding. The students
d o not consult rheir hook rhroughout this phase.
2. The dialogue is adnpred ro tlie students' interesr o r situation, through
changing certain key i\.ords o r plirases. This is acted o u t by the students.
3. Certain key srructiires troiii [he dialogue are selected and used as tlie basis
for pattern drills ot ditttreiir kinds. These are first practiced in chorus and
then individually. Soiiic 3r:imniatical explanation inay be offered a t this
point, but this is kept ro ni1 nbsolute minimum.
4. The students may reter r o their texrbook, aiid follow-up reading, writing,
o r vocahulary activities I>nssd on the dialogue may be introduced. At the
beginning leve!, wriiiii? is p~trelyimitative and consisrs of litrle more thaii

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

The Audiolingual Method

copyirig out sentences that have been pr.icticed. As proficiency increases,


students rnay write out yariations of s t r i i ~ r i ~ r items
nl they have pracriced
or write shoct compositions on given i o p i ~ swirh the help of framing ques-
tions, which will p i d e their use of thc I.iiigiiiige.
5 . Follow-up activities may take place in 111c Iiitiguage laboratory, wherc fur-
ther dialogue and dril1 work is carrieci o i i r

The decline of Audiolingualisrn

Audiolingualisrn reached its period of niost wides~readuse in the 1960s


and was applied both to the teaching of foreign languages in the United
States and to the teaching of English as a second or foreign language. It
led to such widely used courses as Englisl~YO0 and the Lado Englisl~Se-
ries, as well as to texts for teaching the riicijor European languages. But
then came criticism on two fronts. On tlic oiie hand, the theoretical foun-
dations of Audiolingualisrn were attacked iis being unsound both in ternis
of Ianguage theory and learning theory. 0 1 1 the other, practitioners tound
that the practica1 results fell short of expectations. Students were often
found to be unable to transfer skills acquired through Audiolingualisrn to
real communication outside the classroom, and many found the experi-
ence of studying through audiolingual procedures t o be boring and
unsatisfying.
The theoretical attack on audiolingual beliefs resulted from changes ir1
American linguistic theory in the sixties. Tiie MlT linguist Noam Cliom-
sky rejected the structuralist approach to Ianguage description as well as
the behaviorist theory of language learniiig. "Language is not a habit
structure. Ordinary linguistic behavior cliriracteristically involves mno-
vation, formation of new sentences and patterns in accordance with rules
of great abstractness and intricacy" (Ctionisky 1966: 153). Chomsky's
theory of transformational grarnmar proposed that the fundamental
properties of language derive from innate aspects of the rnind and from
how hurnans process experience through Ianguage. His theories were to
revolutionize American linguistics and focus the attention of linguists and
psychologists on the mental properties people bring to bear on language
use and language iearning. Chornsky also ~ r o ~ o s an e d alternative rheory
of language learning to that of the belia\.iorists. Behaviorism regarded
language learning as similar in principie to ;iny other kind of learning. It
was subject to the sarne laws of stirnuliis and response, reinforcemenr and
association. Chomsky argued that such 3 learning theory could nor pos-
sibly serve as a model of how humans Icarii language, since much of hu-
man language use is not imitated beliiivior but is created anew from
underlying knowledge of abstract rules. Sciirences are not learned by im-
itation and repetition but 'cgenerated" troin the learner's underlying
"
competente."

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

Approaches & methods in language teaching

Suddenly the whole audiolingual paradigm was called into question:


pattern practice, drilling, memorization. These inight lead t o language-
like behaviors, but they were not resulting in cornpetence. This created
a crisis in American language teaching circles frorn which a full recovery
has not yet been made. Temporary relief was offered in the form of a
theory derived in part from Chomsky - cognitive code learning. In 1966
John B. Carroll, a psychologist who had taken a close interest in foreign
language teaching, wrote:
The audio-lingual habit theory which is so prevalent i i i American foreign lan-
guage teaching was, perhaps fifteen years ago in step witli tlie state of psy-
chological thinking of that time, but it is no longer abreast of recent
developments. It is ripe for major revision, particularly in rhe direction of
joining it with some of rhe better elements of the cogiiitive-code leariiing the-
orv (Carroll 1966: 105)
This referred to a view of learning that allowed for a conscious focus
on grammar and that acknowledged the role of absrrnct mental processes
in Iearning rather than defining learning simply in terms of habit for-
mation. Practice activities should involve meaningful learning and lan-
guage use. Learners should be encouraged to use their innate and creative
abilities to derive and make, explicit the underlying grammatical rules
of the language. For a time in the early seventies there was a considerable
interest in the implication of the cognitive-code theory for language
teaching (e.g., see Jakobovits 1970; Lugton 1971). Rut n o clear-cut
niethodological guidelines emerged, nor did aiiy particular method in-
corporating this view of learning. The term cogniti~~r code is still some-
times invoked to refer to any conscious atteinpt r o organi7.e
- rnaterials
around a grammatical syllabus while allowing tor meaningful practice
and use of language. The lack of an alternative to Audiolingualism in
language teachLg & the United States has led to 3 period of a>aptation,
innovation, experimentation, and come conlusion. O n rhe o n e hand are
new methods that have been developed independently of current lin-
guistic and second language acquisition theory (c h., Total Physical Re-
sponse, Silent Way, Counseling-Learning); oii rhc other are competing
approaches that are derived, it is clairned, froiii coiitemporary theories
of langliage and second language acquisitioii (e.g., The Natural Ap-
proach, Communicative Language Teachiiig). Tliese developments will
be considered in the remaining chapters of this h o o k

Conclusion

Audiolingualism holds that language leariiing i \ Iikc other forms of learn-


ing. Since language is a formal, rule-governcd svsrcin, it can be formally

Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

The Audiolingual :t,I~>thod


organized to maximize teaching and learning efficiency. A~dioliii~ii.ilisi11
thus stresses the mechanistic aspects of language learning a n d I:iii~ii:ijie
use.
There are many similarities benveen Situational Language '1 c;icliiiig
a n d Audiolingualism. T h e order in which the language skills arc iiitro-
duced, a n d the focus o n accuracy through drill a n d practice in thc Ii;isic
structures a n d sentence patterns of the target language, might siiggest
that these methods drew from each other. In fact, however, Sir~icitiorial
Language Teaching was a development of the earlier Direct Metliorl (see
Chapter 1)a n d does not have the strong ties t o linguistics a n d behavioral
psychology that characterize Audiolingualism. T h e similarities of the
t w o methods reflect similar views a b o u t the nature of language ;iiict of
laiiguage learning, though these views were in fact developed froni quite
different traditions.

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En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
Este material es proporcionado al alumno con fines educativos, para la crítica y la investigación respetando la reglamentación en materia de derechos de autor.
Este ejemplar no tiene costo alguno. El uso indebido de este ejemplar es responsabilidad del alumno.

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Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.
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The Audiolingual Method


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Richards, J.C. y T.S. Rodgers (1987). The Audiolingual Method.


En Approaches and Methods in language teaching (pp. 44-63). Reino Unido: Cambridge University Press.