Communicative Language Teaching

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Communicative Language Teaching Definition Background: Historical and Theoretical Activities in CLT Learner and Teacher Roles Role of Instructional Materials





What is Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)?
A

set of principles about:
› The goals of language teaching › How learners learn a language › The kinds of activities that best facilitate

learning › The roles of teachers and learners in the classroom

The goals of Language Teaching
    The

Teaching of Communicative Competence.

Grammatical Competence versus Communicative Competence
Grammatical Competence

Communicative competence

The ability to produce sentences in a  knowing how to use language for a language range of different purposes and  functions  The knowledge of the building blocks  knowing how to vary our use of of sentences (e.g. parts of speech, language according to the setting and tenses, phrases, clauses, sentence the participants  patterns) and how they are formed

Grammatical Competence
The unit of analysis and practice is typically the sentence

 

Communicative competence
knowing how to produce and understand different types of texts (e.g. narratives, reports, interviews, conversations)

knowing how to maintain communication despite having limitations in one’s language knowledge (e.g. through using different kinds of communication strategies)

 While

grammatical competence is an important dimension of language learning, it is clearly not all that is involved in learning a language. latter capacity of grammatical competence is understood by the term communicative competence.

  This

How Learners learn a Language
 Interaction

between the learner and users of the language  Collaborative creation of meaning  Creating meaningful and purposeful interaction through language  Negotiation of meaning as the learner and his or her interlocutor arrive at understanding

 Learning

through attending to the feedback learners get when they use the language  Paying attention to the language one hears (the input) and trying to incorporate new forms into one’s developing communicative competence  Trying out and experimenting with different ways of saying things

The Kind of Classroom Activities that Best facilitate Learning
 the

use of the following:
pair work activities role plays group work activities project work.

› › › ›

The roles of teachers and learners in the classroom

Learner Roles:  They have to participate in classroom activities  become comfortable with listening to their peers in group work or pair work tasks, rather than relying on the teacher for a model.  They were expected to take on a greater degree of responsibility for their own learning

Teacher Roles:  They have to assume the role of facilitator and monitor  the teacher had to develop a different view of learners’ errors and of her/his own role in facilitating language learning.  As a needs analyst  As a counselor  As a group process manager

BACKGROUND
  

Historical

Language Teaching can be viewed in three parts:
 I.   II.   III. 

Traditional approaches (up to the late 1960s) Classic communicative language teaching (1970s to 1990s) Current communicative language teaching (late 1990s to the present)

Traditional approaches
(up to the late 1960s)
 gave

priority to grammatical competence as the basis of language proficiency.  based on the belief that grammar could be learned through direct instruction and through a methodology that made much use of repetitive practice and drilling.

Techniques:
› › › ›

memorization of dialogs, question and answer practice, substitution drills various forms of guided speaking and writing practice.


Approach: Deductive
› students are presented with grammar rules

and then given opportunities to practice using them, as opposed to an inductive approach in which students are given examples of sentences containing a grammar rule and asked to work out the rule for themselves.

 Great

attention to accurate pronunciation and accurate mastery of grammar  Methodologies:
› Audiolingualism (in north America)

(also known as the Aural-Oral Method) › the Structural-Situational Approach in the UK (also known as Situational LanguageTeaching). › P-P-P (Presentation, Practice, Production) Methodology

 Under

the influence of CLT theory, grammar-based methodologies such as the P-P-P have given way to functional and skills-based teaching, and accuracy activities such as drill and grammar practice have been replaced by fluency activities based on interactive small-group work. This led to the emergence of a ‘fluencyfirst’ pedagogy (Brumfit 1984) in which students’ grammar needs are determined on the basis of performance on fluency tasks rather than predetermined by a grammatical syllabus.

Classic Communicative Language Teaching
(1970s to 1990s)
 attention

shifted to the knowledge and skills needed to use grammar and other aspects of language appropriately for different communicative purposes:
› › › ›

making requests, giving advice, making suggestions, describing wishes and needs and so on.

What was needed in order to use language communicatively was communicative competence. The notion of communicative competence was developed within the discipline of linguistics (or more accurately, the subdiscipline of sociolinguistics) Advocates of CLT argued that communicative competence, and not simply grammatical competence, should be the goal of language teaching.




CLT created a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement when it first appeared as a new approach to language teaching in the 1970s and 1980s, and language teachers and teaching institutions all around the world soon began to rethink their teaching, syllabuses and classroom materials.

    Grammar

was no longer the starting point. New approaches to language teaching were needed.

 

Principles of CLT
(Berns, 1990)

1. Language teaching is based on a view of language as communication. That is, language is seen as a social tool that speakers use to make meaning; speakers communicate about something to someone for some purpose, either orally or in writing.

2. Diversity is recognized and accepted as part of language development and use in second language learners and users, as it is with first language users. 3. A learner’s competence is considered in relative, not in absolute, terms.

 

4. More than one variety of a language is recognized as a viable model for learning and teaching. 5. Culture is recognized as instrumental in shaping speakers’ communicative competence, in both their first and subsequent languages.

 

6. No single methodology or fixed set of techniques is prescribed. 7. Language use is recognized as serving ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions and is related to the development of learners’ competence in each. 8. It is essential that learners be engaged in doing things with language—that is, that they use language for a variety of purposes in all phases of learning.

 

 

Background

Theoretical

Theory of Language

The Communicative Approach in language teaching starts from a theory of language as communication

Noam Chomsky

held that linguistic theory is concerned primarily with an ideal speaker-listener in a completely homogeneous speech community, who knows its language perfectly and is unaffected by such grammatically irrelevant conditions as memory limitation, distractions, shifts of attention and interest, and errors in applying his knowledge of the language in actual performance.  The focus of linguistic theory was to characterize the abstract abilities speakers possess that enable them to produce grammatically correct sentences in a language.

Dell Hymes

 His

theory of communicative competence was a definition of what a speaker needs to know in order to be communicatively competent in a speech community.  Held the view that linguistic theory needed to be seen as part of a more general theory incorporating communication and culture.

Michael Halliday

Theory: the functional account of language use  “Linguistic is concerned with the description of speech acts or texts, since only though the study of language in use are all the functions of language , and therefore all components of meaning brought into focus.”  He has elaborated a powerful theory of the functions of language, which complements Hymes’s view of communicative competence for many writers on CLT.  Seven basic functions: instrumental, regulatory, interactional, personal, heuristic, imaginative, representational.

Canale and Swain

Introduced four dimensions of communicative competence: grammatical competence (grammatical and lexical capacity), sociolinguistic competence (understanding of social context and the communicative purpose for interaction), discourse competence (how meaning is represented in relationship to the entire discourse or text) and strategic competence (coping strategies that communicators employ to repair, redirect, etc. communication) Their extension of the Hymesian model of communicative competence was inturn elaborated in some complexity by Bachman, whose model, in turn, was extended by CelceMurcia, Dornyei, and Thurrell.


Characteristics of the Communicative View of Language
Language is a system of the expression of meaning  The primary function of language is to allow interaction and communication  The structure of language reflects its functional and communicative uses  The primary units of language are not merely its grammatical and structural features, but categories of functional and communicative meaning as exemplified in discourse.

Activities

Fluency vs Accuracy
Fluency Activities reflect natural use of language focus on achieving communication require meaningful use of language Accuracy Activities reflect classroom use of language Do not require meaningful Communication

require the use of communication focus on correct formation of strategies examples of language Produce language that may not be predictable Seek to link language use to context Choice of language is controlled practice language out of context

 

There should be balance between fluency and accuracy activities activities should support fluency activities

 Accuracy

Sample Activities


FLUENCY ACTIVITY: A group of students of mixed language ability carry out a role play in which they have to adopt specified roles and personalities provided for them on cue cards. These roles involve the drivers, witnesses, and the police at a collision between two cars. The language is entirely improvised by the students, though they are heavily constrained by the specified situation and characters.

ACCURACY ACTIVITY Students in groups of three or four complete an exercise on a grammatical item, such as choosingbetween the past tense and the present perfect, an item which the teacher has previously presented and practiced as a whole class activity. Together students decide which grammatical form is correct and they complete the exercise. Groups take turns reading out their answers.


 
   This

Information Gap activities
refers to the fact that in real communication people normally communicate in order to get information they do not possess.

Sample Activity:

Students practice a role-play in pairs. One student is given the information she/he needs to play the part of a clerk in the railway station information booth and has information on train departures, prices etc. The other needs to obtain information on departure times, prices etc. They role play the interaction without looking at each other’s cue cards.

Jig-saw activities
 based

on the information-gap principle  the class is divided into groups and each group has part of the information needed to complete an activity.  the class must fit the pieces together to complete the whole.  they must use their language resources to communicate meaningfully and so take part in meaningful communication practice.

Sample activities

The teacher takes a narrative and divides it into twenty sections (or as many sections as there are students in the class). Each student gets one section of the story. Students must then move around the class, and by listening to each section read aloud, decide where in the story their section belongs. Eventually the students have to put the entire story together in the correct sequence.

task-completion activities
  puzzles,

games, map-reading and other kinds of classroom tasks in which the focus was on using one’s language resources to complete a task.

information gathering activities
  student

conducted surveys, interviews and searches in which students were required to use their linguistic resources to collect information.

opinion-sharing activities
  activities

where students compare values, opinions, beliefs, such as a ranking task in which students list six qualities in order of importance which they might consider in choosing a date or spouse.

information-transfer activities
 these

require learners to take information that is presented in one form, and represent it in a different form. example: they may read instructions on how to get from A to B, and then draw a map showing the sequence, or they may read information about a subject and then represent it as a graph.

reasoning gap-activities
 these

involve deriving some new information from given information through the process of inference, practical reasoning etc. example: working out a teacher’s timetable on the basis of given class timetables.

role-plays
  activities

in which students are assigned roles and improvise a scene or exchange based on given information or clues.

Why the emphasis on pair work and group work?

Learners will obtain several benefits:
  they

can learn from hearing the language used by other members of the group  they will produce a greater amount of language than they would use in teacher-fronted activities

 their

motivational level is likely to increase will have the chance to develop fluency

 they

Role of Instructional Materials

 

Promote communicative Language use

  Practitioners

of CLT view materials as a way of influencing the quality of classroom interaction and language use.

Three kinds of Materials:
(Richards & Rodgers, 2002:168)   Text-based   Tasked-based   Realia

materials materials

Text-based Materials
 Textbooks

designed to direct and support CLT
› Texts from Syllabuses

A

typical lesson consists of:
› Theme (e.g. relaying information) › Task analysis for thematic

development (e.g., understanding the message, asking questions to obtain clarification, taking notes, etc.)

A practice situation description (e.g., “a caller asks to see your manager. He does not have an appointment. Gather the necessary information from him and relay the massage to your manager.” A stimulus presentation (e.g., in the preceding case, the beginning of an office conversation scripted and on tape) Comprehension questions (e.g., “Why is the caller in the office?” Paraphrase Exercises

Task-based Materials
 Exercise

handbooks  Cue cards  Activity cards  Pair-communication practice materials  Some provide drills and practice materials in interactional formats

Realia: A Push for Authenticity
 Based

from the belief that language classroom is intended as a preparation for survival in the real world  Use of “authentic,” “from life” materials in the classroom
› LANGUAGE BASED REALIA: signs,

magazines, advertisements, newspapers › GRAPHIC & VISUAL SOURCES: maps, pictures, symbols, charts, graphs

Current Communicative Language Teaching
(1990s to the present)
 Since

the 1990s the communicative approach has been widely implemented.  Communicative language teaching has continued to evolve as our understanding of the processes of second language learning has developed.

Ten core assumptions of current communicative language teaching

1.

Second language learning is facilitated when learners are engaged in interaction and meaningful communication

2. Effective classroom learning tasks and exercises provide opportunities for students to negotiate meaning, expand their language resources, notice how language is used, and take part in meaningful intrapersonal exchange

3. Meaningful communication results from students processing content that is relevant, purposeful, interesting and engaging

4. Communication is a holistic process that often calls upon the use of several language skills or modalities

5. Language learning is facilitated both by activities that involve inductive or discovery learning of underlying rules of language use and organization, as well as by those involving language analysis and reflection

6. Language learning is a gradual process that involves creative use of language and trial and error. Although errors are a normal product of learning the ultimate goal of learning is to be able to use the new language both accurately and fluently

7. Learners develop their own routes to language learning, progress at different rates, and have different needs and motivations for language learning

8. Successful language learning involves the use of effective learning and communication strategies

9. The role of the teacher in the language classroom is that of a facilitator, who creates a classroom climate conducive to language learning and provides opportunities for students to use and practice the language and to reflect on language use and language learning

10. The classroom is a community where learners learn through collaboration and sharing

Extensions of CLT
 Process-based

methodologies

› Content-Based Instruction (CBI) › Task-Based Instruction (TBI).

 Product-based

methodologies

› Text-Based Instruction › Competency-Based Instruction

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