Many people believe that the newest technology is always the best. But what if we combined the best of both the old and the new to bring it to you? There were very few methods for teaching foreign languages education over thousands of years. With the advent of World War II, there was an immediate need to teach foreign languages quickly to large groups of people.
Because it was taught primarily to soldiers, they named the new approach Army Method. It was later renamed to the Audio Lingual Method, or ALM as it is commonly known. It works by using substitution drills. The base structure remains the same, but one portion of the subject is different. The instructor asked for choral responses from the students and occasionally required them to correct their mistakes. To convey the basic meaning of the structure to students, there was some translation. It sounded like a jumble of parrots chirping at each other.
Someone decided that it would be more efficient to place students in labs with their own headset and listening station. The student did not have any control over the events and received little feedback. The student was left to their own devices if they got confused or lost. This is similar to the brainwashing techniques in George Orwell’s 1984. Given what was known about the language and the technology available, it produced a large number of translators to be used by the military in a short time. After the war ended, many more methodologies were developed or “re-discovered” in others cases. The Audio Lingual Method was left behind and forgotten.
Communicative method is the most popular method of teaching English as a second or third language. It is the opposite of ALM and is focused on communication, not structure. While communication is the best goal, it’s important to not use drills or practice. The ESL/foreign Language student will never be proficient in fluency at the higher levels. The Communicative Method is more effective than all others, but it can lead to students with poor English.
Complementing the new methods, e.g. The Communicative Method can be used in conjunction with older methods, e.g. The Audio Lingual Method may yield the best results for the student. ALM cannot be used in today’s classroom, even though teachers might want to. Peer pressure from fellow colleagues could make it stop if the administration doesn’t. English as a Second Language students and foreign language students can also find drills and practice to improve their language fluency online.
Students can now learn English online for free. The lessons can be accessed online, giving students full control over the material flow. ALM, Army Method is the core of most web-based ESL programs. This is due to the nature and capabilities of computer programs. If the student wishes to communicate in English, chat rooms are available. With AI, Artificial Intelligence, students can also practice their communication skills. The student will be able to learn fluent foreign languages by combining the best of both traditional and modern technology.