The audio-lingual method (/ɔ:dɪəʊ lɪŋgʊəl meθəd/) is a methodology used in teaching foreign languages. It is based on behaviourist theory, which professes that humans can be trained through a system of reinforcement.
It is similar to another, earlier method called the direct method, based on the premise that students can be taught a language directly, without using their native language to explain new words or grammar in the target language. However, unlike the Direct Method, the audio-lingual method didn’t focus on teaching vocabulary. Rather, the teacher drilled students in the use of grammar.
Often within the context of the language lab, the instructor would present the correct model of a sentence and the students would simply have to repeat it. The teacher would then add words for the students to sample in the same structure. In audio-lingualism, there is no explicit grammar instruction. Everything is simply memorized in form. The idea is that students practise a particular structure until they can use it "spontaneously".
Lessons are built on repetition drills in which the students have little or no control over their own output; the teacher is expecting a particular response and not providing it will result in a student receiving negative feedback. This type of activity is in direct opposition with communicative language teaching.