The principles of the method derive from the aims of learning a foreign language. The aims of the method include some aspects of language learning. The linguistic aims of the ALM are
- Language learners are able to comprehend the foreign languge when it is spoken at normal speed and concerned with ordinary matters.
- Language learners are able to speak in acceptable pronunciation and grammatical correctness.
- Language learners have no difficulties in comprehending printed materials,
- Language learners are able to write with acceptable standards of correctness on topics within their experience.
The aims mentioned above have basic principles in learning teaching interaction. Since the primary aim is the ability in communication, language learners and their language teacher should use the target language at all times. The language teacher should greet his/her students in the target language from the first day of their language class. Their mother tongue is not used unless it is necessary and translation into their mother is prohibited. Intensive drills should be provided so that language learners can have enough practice of using the grammar of the spoken language. Drilling is a central technique in this method. The final goal of languge learning process is that language learners are able to communicate in target language with native-speaker-like prinunciation. Through this method language learners learn structures, sound or words in contexts. The two other skills: reading and writing are deferred until speech is mastered; these skills follow the other skills: reproductive skills. The sequence of learning is listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Besides the linguistic aims above the method also has cultural aims. The cultural aims of the method are
- Language learners understand daily life of the people including customs, work, sport, play, etc
- Language learners know the main facts concerning the geography, history, social and political life of the people.
- Language learners appreciate the art and science of the people.
- Language learners understand the value of the language as the main factor in their culture.
These cultural aims will accompany the linguistic aims and these will motivate language learners to learn the target language. By knowing all aspect of the people, language learners will have better understanding of the language used by the people and increase their motivation. Motivation is importand in learning the target language since effective learning will take place when language learners are eager to acquire the target language.
In short, Jonshon (1968) states that the principles of the ALM are:
- Language is a system of arbitray vocal symbol used for oral communication,
- Writing and printing are graphic representations of the spoken language.
- Language can be broken down into three major component parts: the sound system, the structure and the vocabulary
- The only authority for correctness is actual use of native speakers.
- One can learn t0 speak and understand a language only being exposed to the spoken language and by using the spoken language.
- Language can be learned inductively far more easily than deductively.
- Grammar should never be taught as an end in itself, but only as a means to the end of learning the language.
- Use of the students’ native language in class should be avoided or kept to a minimum in second language teaching.
- The structures to which the students are exposed to should always sound natural to native speakers.
- All structural material should be presented and practiced in class before the students attempt to study it at home.
The principles above are only some of the principles that people may believe to belong to the ALM. The principles of the ALM also deal with theories of language and language learning, which will be presented below.