Posts in Education

Audio-lingual Method in Language Teaching

Reading Time: 2 minutes

With the World War II, armies needed to become orally proficient in the languages of their allies and enemies as much as possible. This teaching technique was initially called the Army Method, and audio-lingual method was the first to be based on linguistic theory and behavioural psychology.

The audio-lingual method consists of teaching a new language through reading a dialogue or text and carrying out drills associated with it. According to audio lingual method, learning a language consists of getting to know its grammar and practicing its rules through many types of drills until habits in the new language are formed and speech becomes spontaneous. Through listening, imitating and performing controlled tasks, students acquire a new form of verbal behavior.

The essentials are: a) language learning is a process of habit formation, and good habits are formed by giving correct responses b) since language is basically oral, spoken form is presented before written form c) translation or use of the native tongue is discouraged d) students infer the rules of the language through practice, so the approach to the teaching of grammar is essentially inductive (like direct method).

Modern Usage

The Audio-lingual Method is still in use today, though normally as a part of individual lessons rather than as the foundation of the course. These types of lessons can be popular as they are relatively simple, from the teacher’s point of view, and the learner always knows what to expect.

Some of the most famous supporters of this method were Giorgio Shenker, who promoted guided self learning with the Shenker method in Italy, and Robin Callan, who created the Callan method.

The Strength and The Weakness of Audio Lingual Method

The strengths of Audio Lingual Method:

  • All the students are actives in the class.
  • The circumstance class are more interesting and life.
  • The speaking and listening skill are more drilled, so the pronunciation skill and listening skill are more controlled.

The weaknesses of Audio Lingual Method:

  • For the smart students this method is bored, because the procedure of the ALM method is majority repeat the sentence.
  • Sometimes the students are confused because the teacher explain the material in simple way not in detail way.
  • The grammar skill is not more drilled.

When – 1950 to 1970, some sporadic or selective use today
Focus – Sentence and sound patterns
Characteristics – Listening and speaking drills and pattern practice only in English
Supporters – B.F. Skinner, Leonard Bloomfield, Robin Callan

Who is Andria Zafirakou?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Andria Zafirakou teaches at Alperton Community School, a secondary school academy in the inner city borough of Brent. It’s no easy task. Brent is one of the most ethnically diverse places in the country and 130 languages are spoken in its schools. Pupils come from some of the poorest families in Britain, many sharing one house with five other families and others exposed to gang violence in the London borough with the third highest murder rate in the UK. Children arrive at the school with limited skills and already feel isolated from staff and each other, making engaging with them all the more difficult and all the more vital.

The odds were stacked against her succeeding, but Andria defied them. Working as an art and textiles teacher and as a member of the senior leadership team tasked with earning the trust of her pupils and their families to better understand the complex lives they’ve come from, she redesigned the curriculum across all subjects from scratch  while carefully working alongside other teachers so that it resonates with her pupils. She helped a music teacher launch a Somali school choir and she created alternative timetables to allow girls-only sports that would not offend some of the more conservative communities, leading the girls’ cricket team to win the McKenzie Cup.

Learning the basics of many of the 35 languages represented in Alperton’s pupil population, including Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, Nigerian and Ghanaian, Andria has been able to reach out to her once marginalised students to earn their trust and, crucially, establish relationships with their parents, many of whom do not speak English. Andria has gone against the grain, taking the time to understand her pupils’ lives beyond school by visiting their homes, riding with them on the bus and standing at the school gates with police officers to welcome pupils as they arrive at the start of the school day.

Thanks to her efforts, Alperton is now in the top 1 to 5% of the country in terms of qualifications and accreditations.  This as a colossal achievement given how low the students’ starting points were and how rapidly they progressed during their five to seven years at the school – a point recognised by the national inspection team.

Introducing real life situations in maths classes helped Alperton’s maths department win the TES 2017 maths team of the year. In her own art classes, Andria has introduced partnerships with the Coulthard Institute and the Japanese Koo Stark Project ‘Kintsugi’, as well as working with an ‘Artist in Residence’ (Armando Alemdar) to creatively redesign the art curriculum in otder to promote inspiration and help pupils confront and cope with the responsibilities of their complex home circumstances. As a result, Alperton has been awarded specialist school status in visual arts.

By getting her pupils to open up about their home lives, she found that some were being forced to play truant to cook meals in the allocated time slot they were permitted to use their shared home kitchen. Others could not participate in extracurricular activities after school because they had to collect their brothers and sisters from other schools. Some had to do their homework in their bathroom because it was the only quiet place in their crowded homes. Learning this allowed Andria to organise additional provision within the school day and at weekends to give pupils booster lessons, give them access to computers and a quiet place to do homework, as well as time to participate in extracurricular activities. One of her greatest innovations was to bring local police officers, mental health workers and teachers to the school table to discuss pupils from a 360 degree viewpoint, enabling everyone involved in their lives to work together to help them succeed.

Andria says the thing she is most proud of is when her students go on to university, take art and design courses, gaining employment in industry, or seting up their own businesses. The odds were never in their favour, but with Andria in their corner, they have gone on to achieve great things and so has the school. Andria’s determination to move beyond an identikit school curriculum has seen Alperton awarded the Institute of Education’s Professional Development Platinum Mark, an honour fewer than 10 British schools have ever achieved.

Direct Method in Language Teaching

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Direct Method in language teaching is known as a Natural Method from beginning 20th century. It is a non-scientific method but it is a movement toward to a scientific method as response to Grammar Translation Method. GOUIN built this method through child’s language learning. There are conversations for practicing language. Grammar is taught inductively.

Lessons are topic-based, there are cultural, geographic texts and so on. Vocabulary is taught through demonstrations, these are important for making explanation. Evaluation is not written exam, but it is based on speaking activity.

Drawbacks of direct method:

  • Demonstration can consume a lot of time,

  • No textbook,

  •  Teacher’s spoken competence can be a problem if it is not improved,

  • Classroom nature,

  • Lacked of Applied Linguistic and psychology of learning.

It was quite successful in private schools, but wasn’t quite successful in public schools because of classroom nature and similarities between native lang. Also, target language is overemphasized.


The teacher explains new vocabulary using realia, visual aids or demonstrations.

Aspects of the that method are still evident in many ELT classrooms, such as the emphasis on listening and speaking, the use of the target language for all class instructions, and the use of visuals and realia to illustrate meaning.

A useful article for Direct Method in Education

Grammar Translation Method

Reading Time: < 1 minute

One of the most used and conventional method: Grammar Translation Method

Grammar Translation Method is a non-scientific method that appeared at the half of the 19th century with no practical theory. Leading experts of this method are Seidentücker, Plötz, Ollendorf and Meidinger.

In the method, the central focus is on grammatical system rather than communication. Also, it was used to teach the languages of Latin, Greek and was particularly vogue during the 16th century. As a result of politic changes, Latin was said to develop intellectual abilities and it lost it’s central importance both in spoken and written language.

Typical features of a GTM lesson:

  • mother tongue
  • teacher-centred
  • vocabulary taught through wordlists and translation
  • reading of literary passages even at low levels, with reading comprehension questions
  • practice based on translation of texts to and from MT
  • elaborate presentation of grammar rules
  • memorization of grammar rules and vocabulary
  • vocabulary exercises include antonyms and synonyms, definitions etc based on words in reading text
  • composition exercises based on topics from reading texts

Why Grammar Translation Method was rejected?

  • Increased opportunities for communication among the Europeans created a radical demand for speaking.
  • This created the need of market for conversation books and phrase books for private studies.
  • Also, language specialists turned their attention to the different way where language were taught in secondary schools, so increasingly public education system was seen to be falling.

An example lesson plan for GTM