The audio-lingual method (ALM) is a method which was introduced in the United States of america (USA) in 1940s. even though the method is considered very old, many language teachers still like it and believe that it is a powerful method. The emergence of the method was a response to the need for a radical change of foreign language teaching due to the unfriendly relationship between USA and Rusia, which lunched its first satelite in 1957. The United states prevented from its people from becoming isolated people from scientific advances made in other countries. The method was much influenced by a method called Army specialized Training Program (ASTP). The ASTP was triggered by the condition from which USA entered world war II and tried to send its army to take up positions in other countries. USA government found it self in a need of personal trained in a large number and wide variety of languages, and the audio-lingual method could be the answer. The method was also a response to the reading method and the grammar translation method. At that time many americans felt unsatisfied with the reading aim and they thought that speaking was more important than reading.
Technically, the method was supported by the appearance on the market of a large variety of mechanical aids, such as tape recorders and language laboratories. Theoretically, the method was based on the findings of the structural linguists, who developed a psychology and philosophy of language learning different from traditional methods. The method was finally developed from the combination of the principles of structural linguistic theory, contrastive analysis, aural-oral procedures, and behaviorist psychology (Richards and Rodgers, 2001: 54-55). The method was accepted by people in other countries and introduced in indonesia in 1960’s. Not much literature on the audio-lingual method is now avaliable and most of the ideas in this part have been adapted from How To Teach Foreign Languages Effectively (Hubener, 1969).
In the audio-lingual method language learners are equipped with the knowledge and skill required for effective communication in a foreign language. The language learners are also required to understand the foreign people whose language they are learning and the culture of the foreign people. The language learners have understand everyday life of the people, history of the people and their social life.
The advocates of the ALM believe that learning is essentially the process of change in mental and physical behavior induced in a living organism by experience. This principle was much influence by a theory of psychology known as behaviorism. Formal experience can be gained at formal schools and the aim of learning is habit. Learning is simply habit formation. To learn a new language means to acquire another set of speech habits. The speech habit can be formulated through the observance of rules. Therefore, successful language learners are those who finally become spontaneous in communication and the rules have been forgotten.
The method, which was originally introduced to prepare people to master foreign language orally in a short time, emphasizes oral forms of language. However, the method still considers the othe language skills. The method considers that the oral forms: speaking and listening should come first, and reading and writing come later. The advocates of the method believe that language learners learn a foreign language as a child learns his/her mother tongue. First, he hears sounds and tries to understand the sounds; he/she then attempts to reproduce the sounds. Next, he/she learns to read the written forms. The phases can be described that learning a foreign language there are the passive or receptive phase and the active or reproductive phase.