Audio-lingual Habit Versus Cognitive-code Learning in Language Acquisition

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As an ESL teacher, what's your definition of language? The way you define language reflects how you teach it. This article will help beginning ESL teachers to learn the importance of using the audio-lingual method and cognitive-code learning method corre
  First, I would like to state my definition of language.  I define language as a tool to convey verbal and nonverbal messages to live and survive in this challenging world.  Guy Cook describes human existence without language as inconceivable for it is at the heart of human life.  Second, I would like to affirm my belief in the rationalistic, cognitivist, and mentalistic theory by Noam Chomsky.  I believe that language is innate and each individual has the ability to adapt to his/her language environment because of the presence of mental grammar,  and universal grammar

            I believe that the aforementioned viewpoints correspond to my use of the cognitive-code learning method in teaching English as a second language (ESL) here in Weihai, China.  I find it very effective to apply the cognitive code learning method in teaching ESL to primary, secondary and tertiary levels because it motivates the students to draw from their experience and utilize their mental grammar.  The students are old enough to understand and apply the process of transfer from L1 to L2 in their language learning. However, when I teach preschoolers, I use a twofold method.  For the first four weeks, I apply the audio-lingual habit method.  I demonstrate to my pupils how to sound the letters of the alphabet and pronounce the simple words, and then teach them how to say simple sentences.  I will use the cognitive-code learning method when they are already confident and spontaneous with simple English expressions. 

            Based on the language acquisition theories by Steven_Pinker, Roger Brown and David Nunan, I have come to the conclusion that in reality, both audio-lingual habit and cognitive- code learning methods are effective when applied carefully and correctly.  I concur with the idea that the way I view language affects the way I teach it.  To me, language should be dynamic and spontaneous.  It is not contrived. For this reason, I believe that students who are wholly taught using the audio-lingual habit method may not be able to function in real life setting due to lack of linguistic competence. 

            At present, ESL in  China  has evolved into a more meaningful field.  Chinese students have been enjoying English language learning software from the UK and North America.  Using a language learning software benefits students with different learning styles and both audio-lingual and cognitive-code learning methods are present in this multimedia software.  This exciting change in the ESL world in China makes an ESL teacher’s job easier, more interesting and fun.