Kamis, 08 Oktober 2009

The Audio-lingual Method

A. Background
The last four decades of the 29th century witnessed a phenomenal increase in global communication. Many people, across the world, showed an intense and abiding interest in modern languages. Dissatisfaction with the traditional methods, their validity and adequacy, especially with their treatment of spoken language led to the birth of the Audio-Lingual method which is based on the aural-oral approach. It put accent on the acquisition of oral language skills through oral practice based on repetition and analogy.

This method is based on the principles of behavior psychology. It adapted many of the principles and procedures of the Direct Method, in part as a reaction to the lack of speaking skills of the Reading Approach.

New material is presented in the form of a dialogue. Based on the principle that language learning is habit formation, the method fosters dependence on mimicry, memorization of set phrases and over-learning. Structures are sequenced and taught one at a time. Structural patterns are taught using repetitive drills. Little or no grammatical explanations are provided; grammar is taught inductively. Skills are sequenced: Listening, speaking, reading and writing are developed in order. Vocabulary is strictly limited and learned in context. Teaching points are determined by contrastive analysis between L1 and L2. There is abundant use of language laboratories, tapes and visual aids. There is an extended pre-reading period at the beginning of the course. Great importance is given to precise native-like pronunciation. Use of the mother tongue by the teacher is permitted, but discouraged among and by the students. Successful responses are reinforced; great care is taken to prevent learner errors. There is a tendency to focus on manipulation of the target language and to disregard content and meaning.

B. Theoretical background

The Audio-Lingual theory is derived from linguistics and psychology. It is a combination of structural linguistic theory, contrastive analysis, aural-oral procedures and behaviorist psychology. In this theory language is seen as having its own unique system. The system comprises several different levels: phonological, morphological and syntactic. Each level has its own distinctive patterns. Language learning is viewed as the acquisition of a practical set of communication skills. It entails language and learning the rules by which these elements are combined from phoneme to morpheme to word or phrase to sentence. Language is primarily spoken and only secondarily written. Therefore, it is assumed that speech has priority in language teaching.

This theory is an interpretation of language learning in terms of stimuli and response, operant conditioning and reinforcement with emphasis on successful error-free learning.

C. Objectives

The aim of this method is:
1. To make students able to use the target language communicatively and automatically without stopping to think; and
2. To help students to acquire the structural patterns.

D. Principles

The principles of the method derive from the aims of learning a foreign language. The aims of the 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 speech 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 printed materials.
4. Language learners are able to write with acceptable standards of correctness on topic within their experience.
Besides the linguistic aims above the method also has cultural aims. They are:
1. Language learners understand daily life of the people, including custom, 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 arts and the science of the people.
4. Language learners understand the value of the language as the main factor in their culture.
In short, Johnson (1968) states that the principles of the ALM are:
1. Language is a system of 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 three 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 a spoken language.
6. Languages can be learnt inductively far more easily than deductively.
7. Grammar should never be taught as an end in 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 materials should be presented and practiced in class before the student attempt to study it at home.

E. Assumptions

A. Assumption about the Nature of Language
1. Language the everyday spoken utterance of the average person at normal speed.
2. Listening and speaking come first, and reading and writing come later.
3. Every speaker uses a language in a slightly different manner.

B. Assumption about Language Learning
1. Learning is the process of change in mental and physical behavior induced in living organism.
2. Language learner will be more eager when they like what they do.
3. Language learners must understand clearly what is involved and required.
4. Language learners will learn the target language more readily when they concentrate their attention more fully.
5. Language learning is a process of habit formation.

F. Teaching Skills

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 dialogue.
2. The language learners listen attentively while the teacher reads or recites the dialogue at normal speed several times.
3. Repetition of each line by the language learners in chorus is the next step.
4. Repetition is continued with groups decreasing in size, that is, first the two halves of the class, than the third, and then single rows or smaller groups.
5. Pairs of individual learners now go to the front of the classroom to act out the dialogue.
There are some considerations necessary to construct a good dialogue.
1. The dialogue should be short.
2. The dialogue should not more than three rows.
3. The dialogue should contain repetition of new grammar.
4. The context should be interesting for the language learner.
5. Previous vocabulary and grammar should be included in the dialogue.
Since the aim of the method is speaking ability, teaching through the ALM language teachers spend most of the time for speaking. However, experimentation with the method has showed that the method has certain disadvantages so that some factors related to speaking have to be considered (Huebener, 1969:9) :
1. The primary aim of foreign language instruction in the schools has always been educational and cultural.
2. Real conversation is difficult to achieve in the classroom because the time to develop it is difficult.
3. Conversation must not be confused with oral practice.
4. Speaking ability is the most difficult phase of a foreign language to teach and to acquire.
5. This ability is least likely to be retained, for it depends on constant practice.
6. It is difficult to teach because it requires unusual resourcefulness, skill, and energy on the part of the teacher.
7. Conversational competence depends essentially on an extensive vocabulary, memorization of numerous speech patterns, and the automatic control of stress.
Besides the procedures of presenting the dialogue, which involves listening and speaking, the ALM suggests a procedure of listening. The following are the steps in listening (Huebener, 1969:37) Motivation, Introduction, Anticipation of difficulties, First listening, Check on the difficulties, Second listening, Questions, Third listening, and questions.

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