Teaching Writing Using ALM

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By, M. Syahruzzaky Romadloni

This posting is the continuation of my teaching writing article series. It describes how we teach writing using the old-fashioned language teaching method “Audio-lingual method”. Enjoy.

Audio-lingual method (ALM) is another oral activity-based foreign language teaching method established in the early development of linguistics. Likewise the Direct Method, it believes that language is primarily speech. It is argued that all languages in the world are spoken, but there are some which don’t have the written forms. Furthermore, we learn to speak before we learn to read or write. Brooks as quoted by Richards and Rodgers (2002) say, “Language is primarily what is spoken and only secondarily what is written.”

This belief leads ALM give the priority to the teaching of the spoken language by internalizing the knowledge of the structural patterns of the language to learners’ mind. These patterns are taught gradually using various techniques such as repetition, inflection, replacement, restatement, completion, transposition, expansion, contraction, transformation, integration, rejoinder, and restoration. Unlike GTM, it will never be an explicit grammar teaching (Richards and Rodgers, 2002).

In ALM teaching writing skill is always dependent. It will be carried out when students have understood and memorized how to say some language patterns orally. At the beginning level, they will simply imitate and copy out the sentences that have been practiced previously. Richards and Rodgers (2002) say, “At the beginning level, writing is purely imitative and consists of little more than copying out sentences that have been practiced.”

At the advanced level, students may develop by using some variations in using the structures that have been previously learned. They may also write short compositions based on the topics given in the speaking section and guided by some framing questions. Richards and Rodgers (2002) write, “As proficiency increases, students may write out variations of structural items they have practiced or write short compositions on given topics with the help of framing questions, which will guide their use of the language.”

Reference:

  1. Richards, Jack C. dan Theodore S. Rodgers. (2001). Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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