The Audiolingual Method

habit formation

The Audiolingual Method (ALM) gained attention in the 1950s, largely in the USA where it was rooted in the military's need during World War II to train large volumes of personnel in disparate languages. Although it claimed to have turned language teaching from an art to a science, it shared several aspects with the Direct Method. Both were a reaction to the perceived failures of the Grammar-Translation Method. Both ban the use of mother tongue, and both prioritize listening and speaking skills over reading and writing. ALM is nevertheless different in several ways. It drew on early-20th century beliefs of 1) behaviourism that anything could be learned through conditioning; and 2) structuralism and structural linguistics that emphasized grammatical structure. In ALM, grammar is prioritized over vocabulary, and accuracy over fluency, giving learners few opportunities to produce errors which are seen as potentially "contagious". Ultimately, the learner will speak "automatically".

The Audiolingual Method has also been called audiolingualism, the aural-oral approach and — reflecting its military roots — the Army Method

Typical features of an Audiolingual Method lesson: