Inspirational story | Interview with an ELT sceptic

Interview with Russ Mayne
Russ Mayne is definitely an Inspirational ELT Story. He is an Assistant Professor and EAP teacher based in Japan and if you haven't seen his blog, you can check it out here! In this interview, Russ spoke to me about his recent paper on the AudioLingual Method and the misinformation that surrounds it. Enjoy.
Jo Gakonga
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Russell Mayne (2022): Straw methods: clearing up misconceptions about ALM, Language & History

Much of the ELT literature presents a confused and misleading account of the history of the audiolingual method (ALM) and its theoretical origins. While mistakes are inevitable in research, this paper attempts to show that there is a tendency for the mistakes to create an overly negative ‘strawman’ portrayal of ALM. A pattern of negative associations has been built up over time and this account is so widespread as to be accepted, almost entirely uncritically, in the literature. This paper will attempt to show the numerous differences between the accepted version of ALM and reality. It will also be suggested that ALM has, through selective scholarship, become a ‘straw method’ largely presented in teachers’ resources as a foil for modern ‘enlightened’ teaching approaches.

If you’re interested in reading the original paper but don't have access to a university library (I guess that's most of us!) Russ is happy to send you a copy if you email him at


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