Wim Gombert

22 CHAPTER 2 FOREIGN LANGUAGE TEACHING IN THE 20TH CENTURY In the 20th century, many factors in uenced foreign language teaching and prompted a move towards oral pro ciency as the primary target of foreign language teaching: As a result of the United States entering World War II, the US army needed uent users of di erent languages as interpreters, code-room assistants and translators. Special army programs consisted of intensive oral practice aimed at attaining a high conversational pro ciency which before that time had not been the main aim of existing foreign language courses (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). Post-World War II immigration in the United States, which was massive as illustrated by Kirk and Huyck (1954), the internalization of education and globalization led to an increase of the need for oral interaction between speakers of di erent languages outside the army. is resulted in the global spread of English for social, cultural, political, and economical purposes around the world (Hüppauf, 2004), and to a redesign of the prevalent foreign language courses at the time to facilitate oral pro ciency. Approaches like the Oral Approach and Situational Language Teaching were a result of this increased importance attributed to oral pro ciency (Richards & Rodgers, 2014) in teaching English as a foreign language. British applied linguists started studying the content of language programs systematically, using methodological principles relating to selection, gradation and presentation of lexical and grammatical L2 content. ese systematic accounts led to a fundamental change in the foreign language curriculum that spanned far beyond the British borders. In this approach to L2 teaching, which thus originated in Great Britain and came to be known as the Oral Approach (Richards & Rodgers, 2014), the choice for vocabulary to be studied was based on frequency. Attention to grammar, furthermore, was reduced to basic grammatical patterns needed to communicate. In the 1960s, a situational element was introduced as a key feature of theOral approach, whereby new linguistic items (words mainly) were embedded and o ered to learners within contextual cues and (o en visual) aids in instructional materials. is led to the use of the term Situational Language Teaching as a subtype of the Oral approach. Both the Oral approach and Situational Language Teaching considered oral skills and oral language pro ciency as the primary goal of language learning and proposed a type of behaviorist, habit-learning instructional design and an inductive approach to grammar for L2 teaching programs (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). In a behaviorist, habit-learning design, knowledge is received by the learner as input, and anchored into memory by repetitive, imitative drills before being able to use a given language construction or word in actual practice without hesitation and without thinking (French, 1955; Frisby, 1964). Around this same time period, the audiolingual approach emerged, based on the previously mentioned “Army Method” (VanPatten & Williams, 2015). In this behavioristic approach, inspired by the prominent school of behavioral psychology (Cf.