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How To Learn Sign Language

Professor Jack C. Richards – Communicative language teaching


hello today we’re going to talk about
the methodology known as communicative language teaching I want to look at its
evolution since it was first developed in the 1970s and look at how its
influenced approaches to language teaching today you know in my experience
many language teachers when you ask them to identify what methodology they use
they often mention communicative as the methodology of choice
however when pressed to give a more detailed account of what they mean by
communicative their explanations tend to vary does this mean teaching
conversation does it mean an absence of grammar in a course or perhaps an
emphasis on open-ended discussion activities as the main features of a
course so perhaps I could ask you what do you understand by communicative
language teaching communicative language teaching can be understood as a set of
principles first of all about the goals of language teaching assumptions about
how learners learn a language the kinds of classroom activities that best
facilitate learning and the roles of teachers and learners in the classroom
so I’d like to examine each of these issues perhaps in a little more detail
communicative language teaching sets as its goal the teaching of what is called
communicative competence communicative competence can be contrasted with
linguistic or grammatical competence which really focuses on sentence
formation and the ability to produce grammatically correct sentences
linguistic competence does not really describe how we use language as a basis
for communication this is the focus of communicative competence and
communicative competence includes a number of different dimensions of
language knowledge in use for example knowing how to use a language for a
range of different purposes and functions knowing how to vary our use of
language according to the setting who we’re talking to and whether a formal
and informal or informal speech style is appropriate it also refers to how we can
use language as a medium for cross-cultural communication interacting
with people from different cultural backgrounds it
includes knowing how to produce different types of texts such as
narratives reports interviews or conversations it also includes how can
we how we maintain communication despite having limitations in one’s language
proficiency through perhaps using different kinds of communication
strategies communicative language teaching also reflects an understanding
of what the processes of second language learning consist of and these processes
include things such as the following interaction between the learner and the
users of the language collaborative creation of meaning creating meaningful
and purposeful interaction through language it includes learning through
negotiation of meaning as the learner and the interlocutor arrived at
understanding it includes learning through paying attention to the feedback
learners get when they use the language it also includes noticing paying
attention to the language one hears and trying to incorporate new forms into
one’s developing communicative competence and it also includes the
ability to try out and experiment with different ways of saying things
now when CLT began there was a movement away from traditional lesson formats
where the focus was on mastery of different items of grammar and practice
through controls activities such as memorization of dialogues drills and the
use of it in CLT this moved towards the use of peer work activities role plays
group work activities in project work so a movement away from accuracy based
activities if you like towards more fluency communicative based activities
the type of classroom activities proposed then also implied new roles in
the classroom for teachers and learners learners now had to participate in
classroom activities they were based on a cooperative rather than an
individualistic approach to learning had to become comfortable with listening
to their peers in group work or pair work tasks rather than relying solely on
the teacher for a model they were expected to take on a greater degree of
responsibility for their own learning and teachers now had to assume the role
of facilitator and monitor rather than being a model for correct speech and
writing and one were the primary responsibilities of making students
avoid errors the the teacher had to develop a different view of learners
errors and of his or her own role in facilitating language learning so under
the influence of CLT Theory grammar based methodologies such as audio
lingual ISM gave way to more functional and skill based teaching and at the same
time accuracy activities such as drilling were replaced by activities
based on interactive small group work as you can imagine communicative language
teaching created a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement when it first
appeared as a new approach to language teaching in the 1970s and 80s and
language teachers and teaching institutions all around the world soon
began to rethink their they’re teaching their syllabuses their classroom and
materials and in planning language courses within a communicative approach
grammar was no longer the starting point new approaches to language teaching and
language course development were needed the communicative approach prompted then
a rethinking of classroom teaching methodology it was argued that learners
learn a language through the process of communication in it and that
communication that’s meaningful to the learner provides a better opportunity
for learning then through a grammar based approach new techniques were
needed as I mentioned new roles for teachers new roles to the learner so
instead of focusing on accurate repetition and memorization of sentences
and grammatical practice presents activities that required learners to
negotiate meaning and to interact meaningfully were required since the
1990s the communicative approach has been widely implemented but because it
describes a set of very general principle
grounded in the notion of communicative competence is the goal of second and
foreign language teaching and learning and as well as the use of a
communicative syllabus and methodology because of these general goals it’s
continued to evolve as our understanding of the processes of second language
learning has developed current communicative language teaching theory
and practice thus draws on a number of different
educational paradigms and traditions and since it draws on a number of diverse
sources there is no single or agreed upon set of practices that characterize
current communicative approaches rather c or c today refers to a set of
generally agreed upon principles that can be applied in different ways
depending on the teaching context the age of the learners their level their
learning goals and so on so current approaches to methodology draw on
earlier traditions in CLT and continue to make reference to some extent to
traditional approaches as well so classroom activities typically have some
of these characteristics they seek to develop students communicative
competence through linking grammatical development to the ability to
communicate so grammar is not taught in isolation but often arises out of a
communicative task thus creating a need for specific items of grammar students
might carry out a task and then reflect on some of the linguistic
characteristics of their performance in the classroom the activities for the
requiring the communication interaction and negotiation of meaning are made use
of these include problem-solving activities information sharing roleplay
and task based activities and these provide opportunities for both inductive
as well as a deductive learning of grammar activities also seek to employ
content that connects to students lives and interests they also allow students
to personalize learning by applying what they’ve learned to their own lives
and classroom materials typically most use of make use of authentic texts
authentic sources to create interest and to provide valid models of language here
the internet is for fighting a great deal of a source for
language teaching materials different syllabus types within the communicative
orientation to language teaching employ different routes to developing
communicative competence since its inception in the 1970s CLT has passed
through a number of different phases in the first phase a primary concern was
the need to develop a syllabus and teaching approach that was compatible
with early conceptions of communicative competence as I said earlier this led to
proposals for the organization of syllabuses in terms of functions and
notions rather than simply in terms of grammatical structures later the focus
shifted to procedures for identifying learners communicative needs and this
resulted in proposals to make needs analysis an essential communicative an
essential component of communicative methodology at the same time as I
noticed methodologist focused on the kinds of classroom activities that could
be used to implement a communicative approach such as group work task work
and information gap activities so today CLT can be seen as describing a set of
core principles about language teaching and learning which can be applied in
different ways and which address different aspects of the processes of
teaching and learning

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