Page 124 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 49

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
NEW APPROACHES
Following WWII a num ber o f new approaches to language
instruction were developed. T h e first o f these was the Audio-
Lingual Approach, which in troduced revolutionary changes
based on structural linguists and the findings o f behavioral psy­
chology (B.F. Skinner). This approach rests on five basic p r in ­
ciples: 1. Since speech and not writing is the main element o f
language, speaking should be stressed in the first stage o f learn ­
ing. 2. Since language depends on habit, the learner should
at first repea t basic sentences until he knows them automatically.
Later he should be drilled in various sentence patterns. 3. Lan­
guage instruction should stress drill in language forms and de ­
vote less attention to grammatical rules. 4. A language is one
tha t is spoken by those who use it as a mo ther tongue, and
not by those who theorize about what it ough t to be. Thus we
should d ifferen tiate between those who are concerned with the
“science o f language,” and seek to
describe
the accepted usages
among d iffe ren t groupings, and those who follow a language
policy that labels various usages as “correct” o r “incorrect.” The
Audio-Lingual Approach adopts
description
as the basis o f lan­
guage study. 5. Languages d iffe r from each o ther. This p r in ­
ciple involves a scientific analysis o f the s truc tu re o f the lan­
guage on the basis o f its usage and not on that o f a model
gramm ar (such as Latin). A new language should be taugh t by
a comparative method which takes into account the differences
between the lea rne r’s mo ther tongue and his new medium. Such
a method will help remove difficulties and make grad ing and
drill easier.
Only du r ing WWII, when the American army had to engage
in teaching the languages o f Southeastern Asia, was an o p p o r­
tunity afforded to the adheren ts o f this approach to prove it
worth. Experience has borne them out. Following the war, this
approach was accepted by the various levels o f civilian educa­
tion. In Hebrew language teaching, too, a num ber o f efforts
were made to teach according to the principles o f this approach
(from 1956 on). T h e approach was adop ted by M. Genser and
S. G rand in their textbook
Hebrew the Audio-Lingual Way
(1963)
and by R. Yalon in his series entitled
B ’yad Halashon
(1966).
I followed some o f the principles o f this approach in fo rm u ­