Changes in language teaching methods
For years, language instructors found methods to make a logically stimulating topic into a deathly dull one. Language teaching for utmost of the 20th Century was greatly influenced by the ‘grammar-translation’ of the 19th Century, which involved learning a new word or grammatical arrangement, translating it into your native language and memorizing it.
Teaching was based on a strict syllabus of what educator well-thought-out to be important, whether it was appropriate to students’ needs or not. This led many folks to think they were bad at languages.
Practices steadily improved to be more situational, so grammar and vocabulary would be imparted in contexts in which you might correctly use it. But the emphasis was still very much on reading, repeating and memorizing.
The Communicative Approach
The Communicative Approach is grounded on the idea that learning a language successfully comes through having to communicate actual meaning. In the Communicative Approach, the main objective is to current topic in context as natural as possible.
The Communicative approach stresses the capacity to communicate the message in terms of its meaning, in its place of focused exclusively on grammatical perfection or phonetics. Therefore, the accepting of the second language is appraised in terms of how much the learners have developed their communicative capabilities and competencies.
In essence, it reflects using the language to be just as vital as actually learning the language.
The Communicative Language Teaching technique has various characteristics that differentiate it from other methods:
• Understanding takes place through active student collaboration in the foreign language
• Teaching happens by using genuine English texts
• Pupils not only learn the second language but they also learn approaches for understanding
• Importance is given to learners’ personal practices and situations, which are considered as an precious contribution to the content of the lessons
• Using the new language in unrehearsed contexts creates learning opportunities outside the classroom
SOME EXAMPLES OF COMMUNICATIVE EXERCISES
In a communicative classroom for learners, the trainer might begin by passing out cards, each with a diverse name printed on it. The trainer then proceeds to model an exchange of introductions in the target language. Using a combination of the target language and gestures, the teacher delivers the task at hand, and gets the students to familiarize themselves and ask their classmates for information. They are responding in German to a question in German. They do not know the reply beforehand, as they are holding cards with their new distinctiveness written on them; hence, there is an authentic exchange of information.
Later throughout the class, as a corroboration listening exercise, the students might hear a recorded discussion between two freshmen meeting each other for the first time at the gymnasium doors. Then the teacher might explain, in English, the different greetings in several social conditions. Finally, the teacher will explain some of the grammar points and structures used.
The following exercise is taken from a 1987 workshop on communicative foreign language teaching, given for Delaware language teachers by Karen Willetts and Lynn Thompson of the Center for Applied Linguistics. The exercise, called “Eavesdropping,” is aimed at progressive students.
Implications of communicative approach
As a teacher trainer working with international groups, I am habitually asked to include an overview of communicative language teaching (CLT), and discuss ways of adapting materials to make lessons more communicative or interactive. Example
Practicing question forms by asking learners to find out personal information about their colleagues is an example of the communicative approach, as it involves meaningful communication.
In the classroom
Classroom activities guided by the communicative approach are characterized by trying to produce important and real communication, at all levels. As a result there may be more emphasis on skills than systems, lessons are more learner-centered, and there may be use of authentic materials.
It looked like the most progressive approach, and I could not imagine why someone would not use it within their classroom. But after putting on this knowledge in the real world, I now see that there are errors with the communicative method.
“The truth of the matter is that about 99 percent of teaching is making the students feel interested in the material.