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Communicative Approach to EFL

Agenda

1. Background
2. Communicative Competence
3. Communicative Language Teach.
4. Communicative Tests

Background 1
The origins of Communicative
Language Teaching (CLT) are to be
found in the changes in the British
language teaching dating from the late
1960s.
It was developed in the 1970s in
reaction to the formal and mechanical
types of exercises used under the
audiolingual approach.

Background 2
Stems from changing educational
realities in Europe.
It required the need for greater efforts to
teach adults the major languages of the
European Common Market.
In 1971, experts began to investigate
the possibility of developing language
courses on a unit-credit system.
It means learning tasks are broken
down into portions or units, each of
which is related to all other portions.
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Background 3
British linguist, D.A. Wilkins, proposed a
functional or communicative definition of
language that could serve as a basis for
developing communicative syllabuses
for language teaching (in 1972).
Wilkins attempted to demonstrate the
systems of meanings that lay behind the
communicative uses of language, rather
than describe the traditional concepts of
grammar and vocabulary.
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Background 4
Wilkins described two types of
meanings:
notional categories (concepts such as
time, sequence, quantity, location,
frequency)
categories of communicative function
(requests, denials, offers, complaints)

Wilkins later revised and expanded his


documents into a book titled Notional
Syllabuses in 1976, which had a
significant impact on the development of
Communicative Language Teaching.

Notional-Functional Syllabi
Notional-Functional Syllabi are different
than traditional structural syllabuses.
Structural Syllabi are organized
according to grammar topics.
Notional-Functional Syllabi are
organized as
Notions: Space, time, quality,
Contexts/situations: travel, health,
education
Functions: Asking-giving permission,
reporting, denying, etc
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Social Constructivist view of FLL

Creation of meaning through


interactive negotiation among
learners has become the main
source for Foreign Language
Learning.

Dell Hymes (1971)


Hymes, a sociolinguist, suggested
that language is for communication
and communication requires
knowing when and how to say
what to whom.
He proposed communicative
competence to be the focus.

Communicative Competence 1
The aspect of our competence
that enables us to convey and
interpret messages and to
negotiate meanings
interpersonally within specific
context.

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Communicative Competence 2
It is relative, not absolute, and
depends on the cooperation of all
the participants involved.

Hymes believed that Chomskys


Linguistic Competence was too
limited.

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Linguistic vs Communicative
Competence
Linguistic
Competence

Communicative
Competence

What native
speakers know about
the language. It is
the knowledge of the
forms in the
language.

What native speakers do


with the language. It is
the knowledge that
enables a person to
communicate functionally
and interactively.

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Michael Canale & Merril Swans


(1980) 4 components of
communicative competence
1. Grammatical Competence
2. Discourse Competence
3. Sociolinguistic Competence
4. Strategic Competence

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Grammatical Competence
The aspect of communicative
competence that covers the
knowledge of lexical items and of
rules of morphology, syntax,
sentence-grammar semantics, and
phonology.
It is the linguistic competence

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Discourse Competence
It complements grammatical
competence.
It is the ability we have to connect
sentences in stretches of discourse and
to form meaningful whole out of a series
of utterances.
It may be both spoken and written.
Grammatical comp. focuses on
sentence-level grammar, discourse
competence is concerned with
intersentential relationships.
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Sociolinguistic Competence
It is the knowledge of the sociocultural
rules of language and of discourse.
It requires an understanding of the
social context in which language is
used:
the roles of the participants
the information they share
the function of the interaction

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Strategic Competence
It is the competence underlying our
ability to make repairs, to cope with
imperfect knowledge and to sustain
communication through paraphrase,
repetition, avoidance.
These strategies may be both verbal
and non-verbal.
It is very crucial since it is also the way
we manipulate language in order to
meet communicative goals. E.g.
Salesmen
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Communicative Language Teaching


There is no clear cut and certain
method outlined by the
Communicative Approach.
However, there are some common
principles to be adopted in
communicative language teaching
classes.

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Teachers Roles
Facilitator of communication
Co-communicator
Decision maker to establish
situations to enable students to
communicate with each other

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Student Roles
Communicators
Active managers of their own
learning
Negotiators of meaning

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Principles 1
The goal is to enable students to
communicate in the target language.
Language functions are emphasized
over forms.
All four language skills are studied from
the beginning.
Native speakers culture is important to
learn for social and contextual clues.
Target language use is preferred in the
classroom.
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Principles 2
Pair, group work or whole class
activities are seen as they enable
interaction among learners.
Students feelings are regarded as
important and they are encouraged to
express themselves.
Students mistakes are first tolerated (in
speaking) as they are seen as normal in
the learning process.
The intent and the role of the
interlocutors must be studied.

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Techniques, Materials, Tasks


Authentic Materials
Scrambled Sentences
(cohesion/coherence)
Information Gap
Language Games
Picture Strip Story
Role-play
Simulations
Realia (Real Objects)
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Advantages
Emphasis on social and real-life use of
language incorporating functions
Importance to the interaction and
experience of learners
Emphasis on context and situation
Encouraging the use of target language
More active students in the classroom
More fluent speakers of the target
language
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Disadvantages
Too much emphasis on fluency can
lead to decrease in accuracy
Functions of a language can be difficult
to categorize and order
Evaluating communicative competence
may not be as standard, objective and
practical as other methods based on
structures.

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Testing Communicative Competence


1
It should be seen as a continuum
It is context-specific. The test should be
based on a description of the language
that the testees need to use.
Thus, it is important to conduct need
analysis before preparing the test.
The test will reflect the communicative
situation in which the testees will find
themselves.
Students need to be trained in these
areas before they take such a test.

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Testing Communicative Competence


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The examiner should not take part in
the activity. S/he should focus only on
evaluation.
All spoken tests should be audio/video
recorded
To evaluate the results band scales
are developed and used.
Each band has a description of the
quality and quantity of the performance
of the testee.

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Sample Band Scale

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Tasks that could be used in


evaluation
Speaking/Listening: Role-plays,
Information gap activities
Reading/Writing: Letter writing,
summarizing
Listening/writing-Note taking

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Sample Communicative
Speaking/Listening

A: (STUDENT) You missed class yesterday.


Go to the teachers office and apologize for
having missed the class. Ask the handout
from the class. Find out what the homework
was.
B: (TEACHER) You are a teacher. A student
who missed your class yesterday comes to
your office. Accept her/his apology, but
emphasize the importance of attending
classes. You do not have any extra handouts
from the class, so suggest that s/he copy one
from a friend. Tell him/her what the
homework was.

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Sample Communicative
Reading/Writing

Your boss has received a letter from a


customer complaining about problems
with a coffee maker that he bought six
months ago. Your boss has instructed
you to check the company policy on
returns and repairs and reply to the
letter. Read the letter from the customer
and the statement of the company
policy about returns and repairs and
write a formal business letter to the
customer.
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References
elik, S. (Ed.). (2014). Approaches and Principles in
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Education.
Ankara: Egiten Kitap.
Kitao, S. K., & Kitao, K. (1996). Testing
communicative competence. [On-line]. The Internet
TESL Journal, 2(5). Available: http://www.aitech.
ac.jp/~iteslj/Articles/Kitao-Testing.html
Larsen-Freeman, D. (2011) Techniques and
Principles in Language Teaching. Hong Kong: OUP.
Richards, J. C., & T. S. Rodgers. (1990). Approaches
and Methods in Language Teaching.New York:
Cambridge University Press.

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