Communicative Approach or Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).
Its origins can be traced to the 60s, with the changes that occur in the British language teaching tradition. At this point, the foundations of Audiolingualism begin to be questioned, mainly as a result of Chomsky’s cognitivist ideas (cf. section 5).
Thus, on the one hand, CLT appears as a reaction to previous methodological principles, such as those underlying Audiolingualism or Grammar-Translation. Scholars such as Candlin or Widdowson now begin to advocate the development of communicative proficiency in the target language, rather than knowledge of its structures, basing themselves on a wide range of theories, ranging from those of the
British linguists Firth and Halliday, to those of the American sociolinguists Hymes, Gumperz, and Labov, to those of the language philosophers Austin and Searle. Another strong contributor to the Communicative Approach is Wilkins, with his proposal of a notional syllabus, incorporated by the Council of Europe in its attempt to facilitate the teaching of European languages in the Common Market. However, none of these ideas would have prospered if they had not been rapidly applied by textbook writers and equally quickly accepted by language teaching specialists, curriculum developers, and even governments. This provided the impetus for CLT, or the notional-functional approach or functional approach, as it is also termed, to become an international movement.
The latter views language learning as the product of the diverse subcompetences comprised within the general concept of communicative competence; that is, not merely linguistic or grammatical competence, as in previous methods, but also sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competences. Hence, the primary goal of CLT is to develop communicative competence, to move “beyond grammatical and discourse elements in communication” and probe the “nature of social, cultural, and pragmatic features of language” (Brown, 1994: 77).
Consequently, learners are expected, not so much to produce correct sentences or to be accurate, but to be capable of communicating and being fluent. Classroom language learning is thus linked with real-life communication outside its confines, and authentic samples of language and discourse or contextualized chunks rather than discrete items are employed. Students are hence equipped with tools for producing unrehearsed language outside the immediate classroom.
This general goal of CLT can be viewed in two ways, since, as Howatt (1984: 279) points out, it has both a “weak” and a “strong” version. The weak version “stresses the importance of providing learners with opportunities to use their English for communicative purposes and, characteristically, attempts to integrate such activities into a wider program of language teaching”. On the other hand, the strong version “advances the claim that language is acquired through communication”, so that language ability is developed through activities simulating target performance and which require learners to do in class exactly what they will have to do outside it.
But let us characterize CLT further, beyond its central aim, by examining its theory of language and learning, its syllabus, activity types, and materials, as well as its teacher and learner roles. At the level of language theory, the Communicative Approach is based, in line with what we have already mentioned, on Hymes’ and Canale and Swain’s view of communicative competence, on Halliday’s theory of language functions, and on Widdowson’s view of the communicative acts underlying language ability.
In turn, this method’s theory of learning has a much less solid foundation. Nevertheless, according to Richards and Rodgers (2001), three main principles can be inferred from CLT practices:
1. The communication principle: Learning is promoted by activities involving real communication.
2. The task principle: Learning is also enhanced through the use of activities in which language is employed for carrying out meaningful tasks.
3. The meaningfulness principle: The learning process is supported by language which is meaningful to the student. Activities should consequently be selected according to how well they involve the learner in authentic and meaningful language use.
Much more discussion has been devoted to syllabus design in CLT, as it is central to this method. One of the first models to be set forth is Wilkins’ notional syllabus, which specifies notional or semantic-grammatical categories (such as time, sequence, quantity, notion, location, or frequency) and communicative function categories (for instance, requests, denials, offers, or complaints). The Council of Europe builds on this proposal and develops a syllabus including objectives, situations, functions, notions, and vocabulary and grammar. The result is Van Ek and Alexander’s Threshold Level English (1980). Further designs have since then been developed, such as task-based syllabuses (cf. section 10.1.) or the movement in favor of the abolition of the concept of syllabus.
Such syllabus types are implemented through a series of clear-cut activities and materials. The former, according to Littlewood (1981) are of two main kinds. One of them involves functional communication activities, where the information-gap principle is the basis for comparing pictures, working out sequences of events, discovering missing features in a map or picture, giving instructions, following directions, or problem-solving. The other consists of social interaction activities, based, as Nunan (1991a: 279) puts it, on the emphasis placed by CLT on “learning to communicate through interaction in the target language”. They encompass conversation and discussion sessions, dialogues and role plays, simulations, or debates.
In turn, materials are, in Richards and Rodgers’ view (2001), of three major types: text-based (e.g. textbooks), task-based (relying on jigsaw or information-gap principles), and realia (here, we are referring to authentic materials, taken from “real life” and brought into the classroom, such as signs, magazines, newspapers, maps, pictures, graphs, charts, or even objects).
One of the teacher’s roles is obviously to act as a guide during the afore-mentioned activities. But (s)he equally fulfills other extremely relevant ones. Among them, we
can distinguish those of independent participant within the group; organizer of resources and resource him/herself; researcher and learner; needs analyst in order to cater adequately for the students’ necessities; counselor, much in the way advocated by Community Language Learning; or group process manager. However, perhaps the most outstanding function of the instructor is to facilitate and provide opportunities for communicative interaction between all classroom participants, always, if possible, in the target language.
The learner thus becomes a central and active member in the learning process. (S)he must negotiate, interact, and cooperate with other participants and should be an important contributing element to classroom learning. In other words, teaching becomes learner-centered.
How can such an influential method in the history of language teaching be appraised? For many years – even decades – CLT is considered a panacea. It appeals to those who see a more humanistic, interactive, and communicative approach to teaching. Ur (1996: 6) perfectly sums up the general feeling: “The coming of the communicative approach represented for those of us involved in teaching at the time a healthy revolution, promising a remedy to previous ills: objectives seemed more rational, classroom activity became more interesting and obviously relevant to learner needs”.
However, once initial enthusiasm has passed, CLT has been criticized on a number of fronts and some of its central claims have been called into question. Let us examine exactly which ones by analyzing what has come to be known as the post-communicative or post-methodology era.
a) Comment on the origins of CLT.
b) Name the author(s) who …
– proposed the notional syllabus.
– produced Threshold Level English (19080).
– distinguished between functional communication and social interaction activities.
c) What is the general goal of CLT? Do you agree this should be the objective in language learning? Why or why not?
d) Which version of CLT would you favour in your EFL classroom? Why?
e) Enumerate the subbcompetences which CLT believes should be included within the concept of communicative competence. Can you briefly describe what you consider each one involves?
f) Work with a partner. Draw up an example of a functional communication or a social interaction activity for a roughly 4th year of CSE level. Swap activities and complete them. Comment on your general impressions. Would you use activities of this type in your class?
Are you busy preparing new content and learning experiences for your students? If you are, never miss the opportunity to include digital citizenship in relation to online environments.
This video cleverly highlights the scary truth about how much personal information is available about those who are not careful. A fun way to make a point!
About The Future Education.
Here is an excellent article…
Originally posted on Education: Digital CitiZENship, CyberSecurity by Gust MEES:
WHAT Are THE Skills Needed From Students In The Future!? OR, WHAT Are THE Jobs Look Like In The Future!?
That are actually questions which I get asked very often from people and where I could ask ONLY the first one! WHAT Are THE Skills Needed From Students In The Future!? Well, there is one well renown person WHO explains it BEST in my opinion, and that is Howard GARDNER. Please check the picture below to understand.
When YOU have a closer look than YOU will realize that the <===> Synthesizing Mind <===> is THE major skill needed! I use it since ages in my courses and with a big success! Actually ALL my blogs and blog posts are based on it.
HOW Can WE Create OUR Courses Based On The Synthesizing Mind!?
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Walden University page 29
Recommendations for teachersBe as fearless as your students.Make a commitment to learning new technologies or applications that can genuinely help your own productivity or student learning. Try them out in your every day life or with your students. Look to your students or your peers who use technology comfortably. Think through which skills you have and which skills you need to use technology. Use technology more frequently to support student learning.Seek out or create opportunities to collaborate with and learn from your peers. Join or launch a professional learning community to share your experiences with using technology and developing 21st century skills. Form a group in your school or district, or find one online, for your grade level or subject area. Consider using online platforms for at least some of these activities.Evaluate continuing education opportunities. If you have choices in selecting advanced training, consider options that integrate technology and 21st century skills development into the curriculum.Communicate with parents.Parents generally support the use of technology as a tool for learning, and they understand that students need to learn new kinds of skills to be prepared to succeed. Technology itself can help you communicate with parents regularly and explain how technology supports student learning and skills development.
Continuing language learning: the role of L1 literacy in secondary L2 language and literacy development
Unfortunately, schools are commonly structured as if all students need the same type of instruction, for the same amount of time, across the same curriculum. While this is far from ideal, it may not seem too problematic in some second language and literacy instructional settings, such as foreign language classrooms, where second language (L2) learners share somewhat similar first language (L1) language and literacy knowledge. However, the structure of most schools can be very problematic in where diversity reigns.
I have been a Polish and English teacher since 1976.
Over the years, I have taught many classes. I introduce a new language mainly by listening and at the beginning all lessons consist of listening, speaking as well as repeating or performing only. I teach grammar simply through situations with no reference to grammar rules at all. My students listen and read a lot to improve their language communication skills. I do not take advantage of the bridge language L1.
I often find myself thinking in Polish and English, flying back and forth from the two languages.
It is difficult to manage exchanging thoughts in two languages simultaneously. Anyhow, why would you like to? Generally speaking, I am for blended learning and teaching with no remark to L1.
Thinking in a foreign language from an early stage helps students gain a level of fluency making very few errors in communication.
I believe, the sooner a student learns to think in a foreign language, the faster she/he will learn. This can only take place if no reference at all is made to L1. My learners need to be free from the interruption of L1.
Maybe I am wrong because it is obviously much easier to teach/learn with the help of pure conversion.
On the other hand, I know that anyone who is learning a second language wishes and dreams about communicating and thinking in that language.
I teach a lot, approximately 4 Polish classes and 4 English classes a day, and I have to admit that my students are very successful learners.
Originally posted on Oxford University Press:
Many secondary second language learners face numerous challenges as they develop language and literacy in a second language at the same time they are learning subject area content in that second language. Fortunately, L1 academic literacy is not separate from L2 academic literacy. They are both manifestations of a common underlying proficiency. In this post Dr. Marylou M. Matoush, introduces her forthcoming webinar highlighting the ways that academic language and literacy proficiency can be developed through active reading, writing, speaking and listening in either or both languages.
Secondary schools are commonly structured as if all students need the same type of instruction, for the same amount of time, across the same curriculum. While this is far from ideal, it may not seem too problematic in some second language and literacy instructional settings, such as foreign language classrooms, where second language (L2) learners share somewhat similar first language (L1) language and literacy…
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B.B King I saw his awesome concert in LA.
I will never forget his performance.
I have been listening to THE KING for ever.
I was at his concert in LA. I loved every minute of it.
Originally posted on Music of Our Heart:
I was sad to learn from my wife when I awoke this morning that B.B. King had passed in the night. It was his wish that when he went he would die in his sleep.
We love B.B. King. We had seen him perform nine times in concert since 1997. No one epitomizes the blues as B. does. He was truly the King of the Blues.
The most special memory I have of B.B. King took place at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Uncasville, CT. B.B. King’s management had struck a multi-year partnership with Foxwoods. The agreement included annual appearances by B.B. King at the Fox Theatre, a B.B. Southern Cuisine Restaurant (great food by the way) and a B.B. King night club.
I purchased general admission tickets for B.B. King’s concert at the Fox Theatre, January 9th, 2004. While my…
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Would you like me to use e-books instead of traditional books?
Originally posted on Oxford University Press:
Have you ever used e-books in your English classroom? Stacey Hughes, our Professional Development Services teacher trainer, tried out a lesson with adult learners using an e-book on the Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf. Watch the video below to see how she got on
I was really excited about trying out the American English File e-book and also a little bit apprehensive. My excitement came from knowing students would be able to watch the video at their own pace – pausing if needed to take a note or jumping back to catch something said. I was also interested in seeing how often students used the repeat function for the audio. This ability to focus bottom-up on a phrase or word was a real bonus since my students came from different countries.
At first, I was slightly nervous about using the Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf tools so experimented with the different tools and functionality…
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Polish jazz has a rich tradition and strong representatives who belong to the so-called elite – elite is a group of people who do good and beauty disinterestedly. Polish jazz has a very strong elite: Zbigniew Namyslowski cares for young musicians, Janusz Muniak nurtures young talents at his club and Tomasz Stanko engages young artists. All of mature musicians care for young people and support them. Sometimes I happen to jury in various competitions around the world and I must say that what is happening in Poland today is truly unique. We have great musicians.