Communicative Language Teaching
The aim of this unit
• To make you think about communicative approach to teaching languages • To analyse the concept of communicative competence
• To reflect upon the communicative teaching techniques
What do you have to do in this unit?
• Warming up discussions
• Input reading
• Self-assessment questions (SAQS)
• Exploratory tasks
• Integrated task
Warming up discussion 0
Warm up the concept of a “communicative situation” (situation, in which it is necessary to communicate orally and/or through writing in order to achieve a certain goal).
Produce a “mind map” of the concept listing most typical communicative situations in your own real world
Input reading 1
The way towards communicative teaching
Warming-up discussion 1.1
Rate in order of importance the items that the students need in order to master the language communicatively (more than one item can get one rank) |Items |Rating | |Vocabulary | | |Grammar | | |Pronunciation | | |Knowledge of typical situations | | |Target culture |
| |Skills in speaking | | |Skills in writing | | |Skills in reading | | |Skills in listening | | |Non-verbal means of communication (gestures etc) | | |Knowledge of how to deal with people | | |Experience of making decisions in communicative situations | | |Experience in playing a role | | |Experience in problem-solving | | |Experience in playing communicative games | |
The way towards communicative teaching has been a long and controversial one with advances and set backs.
The focus of attention was gradually shifting from the language as a systematic code to the language as a means of communication with the search for an effective method of instruction and consideration of the learner’s personality. (The digest of teaching methods in this module is based on Richards, J., and Th. Rogers.1995. Approaches and Methods in language Teaching. CUP).
Grammar translation (H.Olendorf) or Prussian method included detailed analysis of grammar rules, translating sentences and texts into and out of the target language, memorizing rules and manipulating morphology and syntax, reading and writing.
Direct method (M.Berlitz) encouraged the use of foreign language in the classroom. Classroom teaching was conducted in the target language only. Learning process was mostly based on imitation and memorization.
Oral approach or situational language teaching (Palmer, H. 1940. The Teaching of Oral English. Longman) was based on selection and organization of the “situations”. “Situations” were organized with the use of concrete things and pictures. They were used to introduce the new grammar structures.
Audio-lingual method (Fries, Ch. 1945. Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language. University of Michigan Press) applied the principles of structural linguistics to language teaching. Pattern practice became a basic classroom technique. Audio-lingual method was the combination of structural linguistic theory and fundamentals of behaviorism (stimulus, response, reinforcement).
The Natural Approach (Krashen, S.1981. Second language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. OUP) put emphasis on the exposure to language (comprehensible input) rather than formal exercises. The following hypotheses were put into the foundation of the Natural Approach: the acquisition/learning hypothesis (only natural-like acquisition can result in mastering the language while “learning” helps getting the knowledge about the language), the monitor hypothesis (explicit knowledge has only one function, that of monitoring correctness of the utterance), the natural order hypothesis (the acquisition of grammar structures proceeds in a predictable order), the input hypothesis (the relationship between the input and language acquisition shows that learners need comprehensible input), the affective filter hypothesis (learners with high motivation, self-confidence, low anxiety generally do better in language acquisition).
Match the following “methods” of instruction with their essential “features” |Method |Features | |Grammar-translation method |Imitation | |Direct method |Memorizing rules | |Oral approach
|Motivating learners | |Audio-lingual method |Use of situations | |Natural approach |Memorizing patterns |
Warming-up discussion 1.1
Comment on the following revelation of a teacher:
|…if a student really works hard, and yet there is a danger of this student failing a test, although he or she has studied | |intensively for it, then I cheat. I take a pen that has the same color ink as the student used to write the test and I correct| |some of the mistakes so that the student does not notice and I can give a positive mark. And then I follow this up with a lot | |of appraisal and support … |
(Puchta, H. 1999. Learners: belief, identity and success. IATEFL 1999. Edinburgh Conference Selections. P. 71-72)
Humanistic approach emerged as a reaction to the behaviorist approach to teaching with the rigid teacher’s control over the learners behavior. The concern of humanistic tendencies was to enhance people’s self-actualization and their role in directing their own lives (Kelly, Maslow, Rogers cited in Roth. I. 1994. Introduction to Psychology. Volume 1. The Open University. P. 419).
Humanistic approach to language teaching emphasized the value of developing whole learner’s personality, socialization of an individual in a group, creative activities with music, arts etc. It was further developed in community language teaching. The method was based on counseling techniques (Curran, C. 1976. Counseling-Learning: A Whole Person Model for Education. N.Y.) In lay terms, counseling is giving support to another person. This
method was described as humanistic with self-actualization and secured self-esteem of the learners.
The priorities of the method were to develop learners’ relationships in the group, to guarantee in learners the feeling of security and belonging to the group as well as asserting one’s personal identity. “Learner autonomy” became a new and much discussed concept. Affective learning and learner anxiety were taken seriously as an important factor of effectiveness. Instead of the formulaic knowledge (the product of behaviorism) teachers tried to develop in learners heuristic knowledge (After Fox, J. 1992. New Perspectives in Modern Language Learning. University of East Anglia. P. 87).
Special attention was given to the issue of “debilitating anxiety”, which unlike “facilitating anxiety” could hinder and even block the process of language acquisition. As a result of the debilitating anxiety in the lesson the learners usually develop a “defense mechanism” against it. Some of them withdraw from the work of the class, make a game of a task, fidget and let their attention wander or plunge into the world of fantasy. They can challenge the teacher with the unacceptable behavior or passive aggression in the form of “silent protest”. Some learners accuse others of their own learning problems. As expression of protest the learners join subgroups of other failure-learners (See: Madeline, E. 1996. Understanding Second Language Learning Difficulties. Sage Publications).
An important issue, which is tackled by the humanistic approach to teaching is the rejection of the learners by their teachers. The rejection of this type can be hidden and show itself indirectly. These teachers prefer not to look at the learners, which they dislike (gaze of avoidance). The whole teacher’s body movement is in the direction opposite to the learners they dislike. The teachers keep a longer physical distance with these learners and give them less verbal contacts and addresses. These learners are denied teacher’s supportive intervention and detailed feed-back that other learners normally enjoy. They are given a reduced teacher’s waiting time. Humanistic approach advocated “non-conflict”, “non-judgement” and “empathy” in the relations of the teacher and learners. The importance of the humanistic
approach lies not just in the effectiveness of language learning but also in the development of the personality.
Humanistic approach facilitates self-actualization of learners. Self-actualized people have a healthier psyche and are more capable of a creative non-stereotyped behavior. This helps them to identify easily with the group. They demonstrate a more accurate perception of the reality and accept it without unnecessary conflicts. They focus more on the cognitive problems and less on themselves. These learners possess the capacity for peak experiences (through love, music, art, nature etc.) and a greater aptitude for empathy with other people. They are able to see things other than in black and white.
Exploratory task 1.1
Study the following descriptions of the learners and reflect on the possible reasons that explain their learning difficulties. Suggest recommendations to improve the teaching situation. What individual features of the learners have to be respected by the teacher? |Descriptions |Reflections |Recommended | |Frank is shy, withdrawn and obtuse. When called upon for| | | |an answer in class, he hesitates a lot and sometimes | | | |does not respond at all. When pushed, his answers are | | | |usually incorrect. However he does well with written | | | |homework. | | | |Mark is a delightful student. Very active and | | | |enthusiastic in class. He never has enough time to | | | |complete the task in class and rarely finishes the test | | | |on time | | | |Mary is inattentive and never follows
explanations in | | | |class. She does not seem to understand the grammar | | | |rules. However, the next day she knows the rule | | | |perfectly. | | | |Clara is very motivated to study English but finds it | | | |meaningless to take part in communicative activities. | | | |After communicative lessons she feels frustrated. | | | |Vera is clever and likes to take part in discussions. | | | |However while talking she often makes slips such as | | | |forgetting, blurring or mixing up word endings. | | |
(Some examples are adapted from Leaver, B. 1993. Teaching the Whole Class. The AGSI Press. P. 4-8)
Total Physical Response (TPR) is the combination in the teaching method of speech and action (Asher, J. 1969. The total physical response approach to second language learning. Modern Language Journal. 53:3-17). The method combined verbal rehearsal with motor activities.
The Silent Way (Gategno, C. 1972. Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way. N.Y.) was based on the premise that the teacher should be silent as much as possible in the classroom, while the learners will produce more language. A typical feature of the Silent Way is the use of color charts and rods as memorable images and signals to help in verbal responses. The proposition underlying this method of instruction was that learning is facilitated if the learners discover or create even with the minimal language rather than rehearse and remember.
Suggestopedy (Lozanov, G. 1978. Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy. N.Y.) aimed at optimizing learning by music and rhythm, authoritative teacher’s behavior and “infantalisations” of learners, physical and psychological relaxation. The focus was on the memorization processes, which as claimed by the authors accelerated 25 times over conventional learning.
Another example of exploiting resources of human psyche in teaching languages is neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). NLP is shaping one’s inner world through re-evaluating one’s experience and using the power of the word. It aims at opening up one’s inner resources as a way towards accelerated learning (Beaver. D. Lazy Language Learning).
Exploratory task 1.2
Try to memorize the following groups of words using different techniques. Recall the words a minute after all the tasks have been done. Write the number of memorized words in the space provided and share the results in the group. Reflect on the reasons for diversity in the results (the meaning of the words should be made clear first) |Task 1 |Task 2 |Task 3 |Task 4 | |Memorize the words by marking |Memorize the words by |Memorizing the words in |Memorize the words by imagining| |rhythm with your hand |associating them with physical |complete relaxation |clearly and visualizing what | | |objects that you hold in your | |these words mean | | |hand | | | |Wary tortuous, dupe, hype, |Balk, upshot, slobber, freak, |Floss, tryst, mediocre, tassel,|Zap, trammel, largess, thud, | |lumber |virile |tacky |gullible | |Number of recalled words | | | | | |
Communicative language teaching is based on a number of typical features of
the communication process (Littlewood, W. 1981. Communicative language Teaching. CUP. Savignon,S. 1983. Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice. Mass. Widdowson, H. 1979. Teaching language as Communication. OUP).
Language learning is understood as learning to communicate through communication. The emphasis is put on the meaningful and motivated use of language by the people who communicate in order to achieve a certain goal. Language for learning is derived from communicative experience in a variety of real world situations.
Fluency is put over accuracy. Interactive learning is encouraged as the way towards acquiring communication skills. The learners are taught “negotiating the meaning” (working towards better understanding each other), and “using communication strategies” (e.g. circumlocution).
Exploratory task 1.3
What features of communicative teaching can you detect in the following activities?
|Activities |Features | |Find the differences between the pictures that you and your | | |partner has without looking at these pictures and only by asking | | |questions | | |Role play a job interview, in which you want the job as soon as | | |possible while the manager is taking time and is hoping to find a | | |better candidate | | |Agree or disagree with the given statements by marking them as | | |“true”, “false” or “debatable”
and give reasons for every answer | | |Each of you have heard only a little bit of the announcement at | | |the airport. Put your bits of knowledge together to know what you | | |need. | | |Hold an opinion poll in the group by asking everybody questions | | |and report the results (every learner has a set of their own | | |questions) | |
Communicative teaching is a way of teaching a language through communication. The way towards communicative teaching method can be traced in the chart below:
|Method |Grammar-translation |Audio-lingual method |Natural approach |Communicative activities| |Subject |Language forms |Language patterns |Whole language |Human discourse | |Learning |Language analysis |Memorization |Exposure to the input |Communication experience|
Match the following tasks the methods
|Tasks |Methods | |Listen to the tape and react to questions in the pauses |Grammar translation | |provided | | |Find the ways to translate the sentences in your native |Audio-lingual | |language |
| |Prepare a group presentation and show it to the class |Natural | |Listen to the conversation and dramatize it |Communicative |
Any method can be described as “result-oriented” or “process-oriented” with some teaching methods occupying an intermediate position. A result-oriented method advocates the idea of a final goal with the emphasis on its speediest achievement and the obligatory equal results achieved by all the learners. A process-oriented method focuses on the teaching/learning procedure with the individual pace of learning and the final results varying according to individual learner differences.
Form-focused methods concentrate teachers’ and learners’ attention on the grammar forms of the target language. Form-defocused methods focus on speech patterns rather than on grammar structures.
Exploratory task 1.4
Find the adequate place on the axes for the following method: grammar translation, oral approach, audio lingual and communicative (grammar-translation method has been done for you)
Result-oriented. x X Process-oriented
Communicative approach is used differently in different teaching cultures. “Teaching culture” is the collective teaching experience, beliefs and practices, which are typical of a certain community or society.
Communicative approach is not universally relevant for different teaching cultures. The learners can question the effectiveness of the lesson during which they practice communication but do not learn anything concrete. “What have we learned during this lesson of incessant talk?”, is a typical question asked by the learners in Asian communities.
In Japan languages are taught in the typically teacher-fronted and teacher-centered classrooms. A typical lesson consists of the teacher’s checking the learner’s sentence by sentence translations of a text. Chinese students can be unwilling to ask questions during a communicative lesson because students they do not want to interrupt other students or the teacher, it is better to ask after the lesson etc. (Coleman H. 1996.Society and the Language Classroom. CUP).
A lesson of English in Russia often includes homework check up, presentation of the new material and reinforcement of the new material. The teacher, who signals when a particular learner is invited to speak, will regulate learners’ participation in the lesson (Millrood, R. 1999. How Native English Speakers Can be Better English Teachers in Russia. The Internet TESL Journal. Vol..5 No 1 1999. Ellis, G. 1996. How culturally appropriate is the communicative approach? ELTJ. Volume 50/3. P. 213-218)
Exploratory task 1.5
Given below are the features of the BANA (British, Australian and North-American) teaching culture. What is to be found in your local teaching culture? |BANA teaching culture |Local teaching culture | |Learner-centered | | |Learner-autonomy |
| |Focus on the “whole language” | | |Critical thinking | | |Inductive teaching | |
Input reading 2
Warming up discussion 2.1
Brain-storm the concept of “communicative competence” i.e. the knowledge and skills a learner needs for successful communication and draw a “tree diagram” of this concept Communicative competence
The idea of communicative competence started to develop with the construct of “linguistic competence”. Linguistic competence is understood as innate knowledge of language (Chomsky, N. 1986. Knowledge of Language: It’s Nature, Origin and Use. N.Y. P. 24. Aitchison, J. 1999. The Articulate Mammal. An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. L.,N.Y.P.180-182. Harley,T. 1997. The Psychology of Language. Psychology Press. P.141). Linguistic competence is only part of what is needed for communication.
Communicative competence encompasses the knowledge of how to use the language in the real world, without which the rules of grammar would be useless. (Hymes, D. 1971. On communicative Competence. University of Pennsylvania Press. Bachman, L. 1990. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. OUP. P.87).
Communicative competence can be described as including grammar competence (knowledge of grammar rules, lexis and phonetics), pragmatic competence (knowledge of how to express a message), strategic competence (knowledge of how to express a message in a variety of circumstances), social-cultural competence (knowledge of social etiquette, national mind-set and values etc.) (another description of communicative competence can be found in Canale, M., and M. Swain. 1980.
“Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing”. Applied Linguistics 1: 1-47). Communicative competence breaks down into the two major components of the knowledge: knowledge of the language and knowledge of how to achieve the goal of communication
|Communicative competence | | | |Knowledge of the language |Knowledge of how to use the language |
Competence is not the same as ability. In order to be able to communicate, people need psycho-physiological mechanisms, i.e. communicative skills (After Bachman, L. 1990. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. OUP. P. 84-85).
Communication is the process of interpersonal interaction and requires the knowledge of social conventions i.e. the knowledge of rules about proper ways to communicate with people.
In accordance with the social conventions, participants in communication perform communicative functions (to socialize, to inform, to persuade, to elicit information, to manipulate behavior and opinions, to perform rituals etc), communicative roles (leader, informer, witness, participant, catalyst, entertainer etc) (Ellis, R. 1994. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. OUP. P. 160). In order to perform these functions a speaker needs more than just the knowledge of the language.
Exploratory task 2.1
Give examples of the knowledge you need for successful communication in a number of recent situations:
|Knowledge for communication
| |Rules of etiquette |Spoken language |Grammar and vocabulary | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
The process of communication is characterized with communicative strategies of achieving a goal through communication (Pollak A. Communicative strategies at work. NJ 1995).
Success of communication depends very much on the knowledge of successful strategies chosen by the speakers. E.g. the Prince (in “The Prince and the Pauper” by M.Twain) was unable “to ask” because he was only competent in how to “give orders”.
Successful strategies are known as the “four maxims” of good communication (Grice, H., 1975. Logic and conversation. Speech Acts. N.Y. Academic Press.) These maxims include quality (say only what is supported by evidence), quantity (say no more and no less than you think is needed), relevance (say what is relevant to the point of communication) and manner (present your ideas clearly an unambiguously) The four maxims of successful communication can be used in teaching how to communicate effectively (Brown, G. and G.Yule. 1983. Teaching the Spoken Language. CUP. P. 71)
Exploratory task 2.2
Imagine that you want to borrow some money from the bank and have to explain to a bank clerk the reasons for taking the loan. Role-play your talk and let your group mates comment on what you say using the “four maxims”: |Maxims of communication |Comment
| |Quality | | | | | |Quantity | | | | | |Relevance | | | | | |Manner | | | | |
Communication strategies can be goal-oriented (having a particular goal in mind), partner-oriented (with the partner and his comprehension in mind, using negotiation of meaning, persuasion, self-correction, repetition, circumlocution etc) and circumstances-oriented (behaving according to the situation) (Wood B. Children and communication. NJ. 1981).
In choosing a strategy the participants in communication can prefer either an achievement strategy (guessing, paraphrasing but achieving the goal) or a reduction strategy (co-operation, avoidance and sometimes giving up one’s goal partially or completely) (Bygate, M. 1987. Speaking. OUP).
Exploratory task 2.3
Describe communicative strategies in the following conversation. One has been done for you |Conversation |Strategies | |Hello |Goal-oriented | |Can I have a return to London? |Partner-oriented | |Yeah. Are you coming back today?
|Circumstances-oriented | |Erm … I an not sure … | | |A day’s return is 6.50. Otherwise it’s 8.80 | | |I’d better take a normal return | | |OK. That’s 8.80 then | | |Fine | | |Thanks. 1.20 change please | | |Thanks | |
An integral part of communicative competence (the knowledge of how to communicate with people) is the non-verbal communication. It includes proxemics (physical distance and life space in the process of communication), kinesics (body language, gestures and postures), facial expression (smiles, eye-contact), haptics (the use of touch in communication), clothing and physical appearance in the process of communication (the concept of decency in clothing and physical appearance), oleactics (communication via smell), paralanguage (“um-m”, “uh-huh” etc).
Many non-verbal expressions vary from culture to culture, and it is often the cause of cultural misinterpretation. E.g. a physical distance can be too close or somebody’s private space can be trespassed. Gestures and postures can be inappropriate, there can be a lack of smile and eye-contact. Touching somebody’s body during conversation can be taken as offensive. The dressing habit can be alien. Some smells (e.g. sweat or breath) can be found intolerable. Vocal confirmation of following the conversations (Aha! Etc.) can also be inappropriate. In some cultures humble bows are part of etiquette while others support a proud upright posture.
Exploratory task 2.4
Describe non-verbal communication in your native culture
|Features |Description | |Physical distance | | |Gestures | | |Use of touches | | |Decent clothing | | |Appropriate smell | | |Smiles | | |Eye contact | |
Exploratory task 2.5
How would you say the following sentences without words, using the gestures only?
|Communicative goal |Description of the gestures | |”It’s too hot.” | | |”I’m too cold!” | | |SSHHH! Be quiet.” | | |”Come here.” | | |”Come here quickly!” | | |”Stay back! It’s dangerous!” | | |”I’m impatient” |
| |”I’m tired” | | |”What did you say?” | |
Exploratory task 2.6
Mark as appropriate or inappropriate
|Statements | Appropriate or not | |A/ A man not opening the door to the woman | | |B/ Man and woman walking together, woman carrying a heavy bag | | |C/ A man not helping a woman out of the bus | | |D/ A man not giving up the seat in the bus for a woman | | |E/ A person telling the police the truth about his friend’s involvement in the crime | | |F/ A married man living with his parents | | |G/ A young married couple paying more attention to themselves than to their newly born | | |child | |
Exploratory task 2.7
Read the following description of the American character and draw comparisons with your home culture: |American culture |Learners’ home culture | |Physical appearance is a key to U.S. culture. Americans are obsessed with body hygiene. They | | |take many showers, wash their hair often and usually wear clothes only once. People who have body | | |odor, bad breath, oily hair, and do not wear fresh clothes every day may be rejected because of | | |their odor. Americans are likely to be extremely cautious when
they meet a new person who seems to| | |want to get closely involved with them. “What does this person want?” they seem to be asking. | | |”How much of my time will it take? Will I be able to withdraw from the relationship if it gets too| | |demanding?” Americans are explicitly taught not to discuss religion or politics. Politics and | | |religion are thought to be “controversial”, and discussing a controversial topic can lead to an | | |argument. Americans are taught to avoid arguments, unlike other people who consider politics to | | |be an excellent topic for discussion and debate. | |
Input reading 3
Communicative teaching can be successful if the teaching techniques help to replicate authentic communication in the classroom
Exploratory task 3.1
What makes real-world and classroom communication “authentic”, i.e. genuine and natural? List the features in the spaces below:
|Authenticity of real-world communication |Authenticity of classroom communication | | | | | | | | | |
Exploratory task 3.2
Do these activities help replicate authentic communication in the classroom? If, “yes, what makes the classroom communication “authentic” in each case? |Activity |Comment | |A bottle has been found in the sea with a letter in it. The text has been damaged | | |by water and is therefore blurred. In groups decide what the message says | | |You are to entertain guests before lunch. Role-play the conversation | | |You have always worn glasses but have now decided on switching to contact lenses. | | |Prove your decision | | |Each participant has a picture, which is part of the whole story. Without showing | | |your pictures talk to each other and make up the whole story | | |Write a letter of complaint to the hotel about their service and demand a | | |compensation for the spoiled holiday | |
A technique is a way for a teacher to organize a learner activity. The purpose of communicative techniques is to teach communication (After Littlewood, W. 1981. Communicative Language Teaching. CUP).
Communicative techniques can develop in learners productive, receptive and interactive skills that are necessary for effective communication. Activities with listening and reading aim at developing in learners skills of receiving information. Activities with speaking and writing develop in learners skills of producing information. Both can be learner interactive and thus promote communication.
Communicative techniques fall down into a number of groups:
A. Language arts are oriented towards a communicative task but are not “communicative” in themselves. B. Language for a purpose is what the
learners might need to learn how to request information, how to change somebody’s behavior or train of thought, how to co-ordinate efforts in a team, how to express one’s emotions etc. C. Communicative games can be alternative communicative techniques with a challenge, rules, procedure and winners. D. Personal language use develops in learners the skill of expressing one’s own attitudes and values. E. Theatre art develops communicative skills in simulations such as role-plays. F. Debating society teaches problem-solving skills.
G. Beyond the classroom activities imply contacts with the native speakers and using the mass media available to the learners and relevant to their level of language studies (Adapted from Savignon, S. cited in Berns, M. 1990. Contexts of Competence. Social and Cultural Considerations in Communicative Language Teaching. N.Y. P. 88-89)
Match the following techniques and their features
|Techniques |Features | |Language arts |Exposure to the whole language | |Language for a purpose |Cause-and-consequence reasoning | |Communicative games |Attaining a communicative goal | |Personal language |Winning in a competing activity | |Theatre art |Presenting one’s case | |Debating society |Vocabulary and grammar build-up | |Beyond the classroom |Taking up a communicative role |
Some activities are more associated with reading and listening (receptive
skills), while others are more often used with speaking and writing (productive skills).
Information gap is organized to promote speaking activities. Information gap is a situation when a participant or a group possess the information, which others do not have, while others command the information that the other party is missing. E.g. a student in a pair with the other student might have the train timetable for odd numbers, while her partner might have the train timetable for even numbers. Their task is to use communication for finding out complete information on how the train runs. Information gap can take the format of an opinion gap when the participants differ in their opinions. The gap is filled in the course of active communication.
Any activity with an information gap can be turned into a communicative game if there are rules to name the winner. Information gap is a frequent technique used in order to organize a communicative game. E.g. you have new neighbors. They can tell you about themselves only what is given on their role cards. Try to guess their professions. Ask any questions. Direct questions about professions are excluded.
A popular speaking activity is reading from cues. It is organized when the participants write information about themselves on sticky labels in the form of separate words, dates, names etc. Other students ask questions trying to find as much as possible about the person, To achieve this goal they have to think first what a date on the sticky label might mean and ask a question like “Were you married in 1991?”, “May be you got your first job in 1991?” etc.
Reading and speaking processes can be boosted by a “matching” activity, in which the participants are to match pictures and texts, pictures and pictures, texts and texts (both oral and written) by using questions.
Jig-saw reading activity is organized most often with the texts that are meant for reading or listening (“jig-saw” reading and “jig-saw” listening). A text is divided into several parts. Every participant has access to only
one part of the oral or written text. They ask each other questions and provide information to pool the parts of the text together and to know the contents of the whole text. Another variant is a jig-saw listening when each participant or a small group listens to only some information as part of the whole. These pieces can be brought together only in the course of active communication efforts.
Another activity for reading is sequencing (re-ordering). The task consists in asking the learners to restore the logical order between parts of the text. This can produce an “opinion gap” and boost communication.
Productive skills of speaking and writing are developed in simulations. A simulation means that an episode of the real world is reproduced in the classroom environment in the form of the role-play, discussion (problem solving), piece of writing or a project work.
Give examples of communicative simulations that can be used to develop productive communicative skills in learners |Simulation of productive skills |Examples of activities | |Simulation of speaking | | | | | |Simulation of writing | | | | |
An important aspect of communicative teaching is classroom interaction. This form of communication develops between the learners and the teacher. Learners’ interaction is organized in pairs, small groups, moving circles, parallel lines of pairs etc. Classroom interaction is a factor in creating a communicative classroom atmosphere and successful communicative teaching
Exploratory task 3.2
Recall your own experience of classroom interaction and complete the evaluation form. What can be done to improve interaction in the classroom? |Classroom communication |Usually |Sometimes |Never | |1. The teacher asks the class questions. | | | | |2. Students volunteer to raise problems for discussion | | | | |3. Students say their opinions freely in class. | | | | |4. Teachers ask students to express their opinions. | | | | |5. Students speak only when the teacher calls on them. | | | | |6. Students tell the teacher in class when they don’t understand. | | | | |7. Students listen passively when the teacher talks. | | | | |8. Students listen passively when classmates talk. | | | | |9. Students speak loud enough for the whole class to hear and address| | | | |the classmates. | | | | |10. Students consult with classmates before answering teacher. | | | | |11. Students are afraid to make mistakes. | | | | |12. Teachers encourage students to risk making mistakes and to speak | | | | |freely | | | | |13. Students ask for the teacher’s opinions on the problem in class. | | | | |14. Teachers organize students’ interaction in pairs, small groups, | | | | |moving circles, parallel lines. | | | | |15. Students copy answers from others during tests. |
| | | |16. Students coach each other for a test | | | | |17. Teachers are open to informal communication | | | |
Communicative teaching is often organized in the three-phase framework. Three-phase framework means subdivision of the teaching process into three phases: pre-activity, while-activity and post activity. Pre-activity is organized to arouse interest in the learners towards the main task, to motivate performance, to activate in learners their prior knowledge and to prepare them for the language that can be necessary to perform the main task. While-activity is organized as oral or written communication and is based on engaging the learners in the communicative tasks. Post-activity is reflection on the ideas and language that was produced during the main activity. This phase also includes additional language drill and integration with other skills. The three phases of teaching are shown in the table: |Phases |Procedures | | |Teacher |Learners | |Pre-activity |Increasing motivation for the activity. Activation of prior knowledge in learners. Language | | |preparation. | | | | |While-activity |Oral or written communication. Information gap techniques. Simulation techniques. | | | | | |Reflection on the language and ideas produced during the “while-activity” phase. Focusing on | |3. Post-activity |the language. Integration with other skills. |
(Sheils, J. 1988. Communication in the Modern Language Classroom. Strasbourg)
Exploratory task 3.3
Match the following communicative tasks with the pre- while- or post-activity phases |Tasks |Phases | |Write down all the reasons you can think of for getting married|Pre-activity | |A husband wants his wife to stay at home because he is earning |While-activity | |more than enough. The wife wants to be self-reliant. What |Post-activity | |should they do? | | |Agree or disagree with the following statements … | | |Interview a working woman and a housewife (a pensioner). Report| | |on the findings | | |Look at these pictures of the families. Which family seems | | |happiest and why? | | |Write an essay, ”Coral gardens of family life” | | |Think of positive and negative words when you think of family | | |life | |
• Give a rationale for communicative language teaching
• Illustrate the tasks for teaching pronunciation, grammar and lexis (indicate the source) • Describe the tasks for teaching speaking and writing, listening and reading • Work out a three-phase framework for any one of the tasks • Ask your peers to evaluate your “three-phase framework task” according to the evaluation form and attach it |Points of analysis |Comment | |The explanations to tasks are quite clear
| | |The task motivates communication | | |The task provides information gap for the learners | | |The task simulates the real world | | |The task develops language knowledge in learners | | |The task develops world knowledge in learners | | |The task creates a reasonable challenge for the learners | | |The three phases of the task are quite logical | | |The tasks provide for a good communicative practice | |
1B 2A 3D 4E 5C
1B 2A 3D 4C
1F 2C 3D 4E 5G 6B 7A
|Information gap |Simulation | |Matching, jig-saw, interviews, reading the cues, communicative |Role-play, problem-solving,
socialization, project work etc. | |games etc | |
Exploratory task 1.1
1 Frank is a learner who needs more time to think the task over. 2 Mark can’t stand the time limits because he is usually overactive. 3 Mary prefers working with examples and deriving a rule from them. 4 Clara is a “deductive learner” and prefers working with grammar rules. 5. Vera has problems with her phonological development and needs special attendance to her needs Exploratory task 1.4
Oral approach YX; audio-lingual xy; communicative yX
Exploratory task 1.5
1 Teacher-centered, 2 learner-dependence, 3 focus on form and text, 4 memorization, 5 deductive teaching from rule to examples Exploratory task 2.3
A 2 3 5 7 9; B 1 8 10; C 3 4 6;
Exploratory task 2.8
1 test-tube babies, 2 AIDS, 3 Nuclear power
Exploratory task 3.3
1A 2B 3A 4C 5A 6C 7A
Audio-lingual method is the way to teach a foreign language through intense repetitions of language patterns Communicative approach is a theory of teaching and learning foreign languages that recognizes the primacy of communication as the goal and the media of instruction Communicative competence is the knowledge that is necessary for successful communication Communicative method is a way to teach a foreign language through communication for the purpose of communication Communicative principles are guiding rules of instruction in the framework of communicative approach Communicative situation is a set of circumstances, in which it is necessary to use the language for communication in order to achieve the desired goal Communicative strategies are the means and maneuvers of communication to
deal with the goal, partner and circumstances Communicative techniques are the devices to organize teaching in compliance with communicative principles Community language teaching is a teaching approach that emphasizes the importance of students’ co-operation, support and interaction Direct method is the way to teach a foreign language by switching over exclusively to the target language in the classroom and intense grammar structure practicing Grammar-translation method is a way to teach a foreign language with the help of contrastive native and target grammar analysis Humanistic approach is an education theory that recognizes the necessity to facilitate free and creative development of the personality Information gap is a technique to give the students complementary information, which they have to pool together in the process of communication in order to fulfil the task Interactive learning is instruction with the tasks that can’t be fulfilled by the isolated students but require co-operation Natural approach is a way to teach a foreign language through massive exposure to the comprehensible language input in the classroom Neuro-linguistic programming is a teaching way that combines mental imagery with the language Non-verbal communication uses physical distance between the participants, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, appearance and clothes, smell and perfume etc. Oral approach is a way to teach a foreign language through oral introduction and practice of the language structures with the help of objects and pictures to create “situations” Process-oriented teaching focuses on the motivation and involvement in the activities with the expectation of different results in learners according to their aptitude Result-oriented teaching is the shortest way for all the learners in the classroom to achieve the same result Silent way is a method a teaching that attempts to combine creative thinking with the minimum of language resources available to the learners (using colored rods etc) Simulation is a technique to replicate in the classroom real world situations for the purposes of communicative language teaching Suggestopedy is a teaching way attempting to utilize the hidden cognitive resources in students through relaxation, music and elements of suggestive therapy Total physical response is a way of teaching that combines language rehearsals with physical activities
References and further reading
Aitchison, J. 1999. The Articulate Mammal. An Introduction to Psycholinguistics. L.,N.Y. Asher, J. 1969. The total physical response approach to second language learning. Modern Language Journal. 53:3-17 Bachman, L. 1990. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. OUP Beaver. D. Lazy Language Learning
Berns, M. 1990. Contexts of Competence. Social and Cultural Considerations in Communicative Language Teaching. N.Y.
Brown, G. and G. Yule. 1983. Discourse Analysis. CUP
Bygate, M. 1987. Speaking. OUP
Canale, M., and M. Swain. 1980. “Theoretical bases of communicative approaches to second language teaching and testing”. Applied Linguistics 1: 1-47 Chomsky, N. 1986. Knowledge of Language: It’s Nature, Origin and Use. N.Y. Coleman H. 1996.Society and the Language Classroom. CUP
Cook, G. 1989. Discourse. OUP.
Crystal, D. 1992. Introducing Linguistics. L. Penguin.
Curran, C. 1976. Counseling-Learning: A Whole Person Model for Education. N.Y. Ellis, G. 1996. How culturally appropriate is the communicative approach? ELTJ. Volume 50/3
Ellis, R. 1994. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. CUP
Fox, J. 1992. New Perspectives in Modern Language Learning. University of East Anglia Fries, Ch. 1945. Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language. University of Michigan Press Gategno, C. 1972. Teaching Foreign Languages in Schools: The Silent Way. N.Y. Haines, S. 1995. Projects for the EFL Classrooms. Longman
Harley,T. 1997. The Psychology of Language. Psychology Press Hymes, D. 1971. On communicative Competence. University of Pennsylvania Press Krashen, S. 1981. Second language Acquisition and Second Language Learning. OUP Leaver,
B. 1993. Teaching the Whole Class. The AGSI Press
Littlewood, W. 1981. Communicative language Teaching. CUP
Lozanov, G. 1978. Suggestology and Outlines of Suggestopedy. N.Y. Madeline, E. 1996. Understanding Second Language Learning Difficulties. Sage Publications Millrood, R. 1999. How Native English Speakers Can be Better English Teachers in Russia. The Internet TESL Journal. Vol..5 No 1 1999. Nunan, D. 1993. Discourse Analysis. Penguin Books.
Palmer, H. 1940. The Teaching of Oral English. Longman
Pollak A. Communicative strategies at work. NJ 1995
Richards, J., and Th. Rogers.1995. Approaches and Methods in language Teaching. CUP Roth. I. 1994. Introduction to Psychology. Volume 1. The Open University Savignon, S. 1983. Communicative Competence: Theory and Classroom Practice. Mass. Sheils, J. 1988. Communication in the Modern Language Classroom. Strasbourg Widdowson, H. 1979. Teaching Language as Communication. OUP
Wood B. 1981. Children and communication. NJ.
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