A distinguishing characteristic of the Neurolinguistic approach is the following teaching sequence: oral ▶ reading ▶ writing.
This sequence is the foundation of a literacy-based approach to language learning, that is, an approach that focuses on learning to use the language rather than learning about the language.
In the oral part of a lesson, the teacher uses a model sentence first so that the students can create sentences themselves based on this model, in order to participate in the conversation. The teacher also takes care to ensure that the students understand the conversation. In order to assist the students’ comprehension, the teacher may use gestures, mime, objects or pictures, but during the oral part of the lesson he or she does not write anything. At least half of every lesson concentrates on the development of oral language to help the student develop the internal grammar, or implicit competence, which is essential to be able to use a language spontaneously. When the creation of an internal grammar precedes the learning of external, or 'conscious' grammar, which is used for writing, learning a second language proceeds more rapidly, and more effectively, than when one learns grammar rules first. It is also more natural. Think about how you acquired your mother tongue. Learning about the relationships between words and their written form, or external grammar, implies conscious learning, and comes later in specific steps of the reading and writing lessons.
At least half of every lesson concentrates on the development of oral language because it is the development of this skill that is required to build an internal, or non-conscious, grammar. Without this grammar, students cannot use the language spontaneously. When the creation of an internal grammar precedes the learning of external, or 'conscious' grammar, which is used for writing, the whole process of learning a second language proceeds more rapidly, and more effectively, than when one learns grammar rules first. It is also more natural. Think about how you learned your mother tongue.
After the oral part of the lesson, reading begins. The students learn to read what they are able to say. At the same time as the students learn to read, they also enrich their vocabulary and begin to develop their external, or conscious, grammar. In this part of the lesson their attention is drawn to the connections between sounds and the way they are written, as well as agreements and verb forms. This sequence is the natural way to go, as it is what occurs in mother-tongue development.
In the third phase of the lesson, students learn to write what they can say and read. In this part of the lesson the teacher helps the students, first of all, by writing on the board a model of a paragraph that the students compose with the teacher. They examine it for organization and language accuracy. Then they write their own paragraph.
Lastly, the students integrate their three skills by reading and discussing each other’s compositions. When this is done, we say that they have completed the literacy 'cycle'.