Communicative Language Teaching Today FLTA Pre-semester Orientation August 27, 2007 Nelleke van DeusenScholl Language Teaching • Edward Anthony (1963): What is a method? • Three elements: • approach: “a set of assumptions dealing with the nature of language, learning, and teaching” • method: “an overall plan for systematic presentation of language based on a selected approach” • technique: “specific classroom activities consistent with a method, and therefore in harmony with an approach as well” (source: H.D. Brown, 2002, p. 9) From traditional approaches to the “postmethod” era • Traditional approaches (up to the late 1960s) • • • • Grammar-translation Audiolingualism Direct Method Cognitive approach • Classic communicative language teaching (1970s to 1990s) • communicative competence • notional-functional syllabus • Natural Approach • Current communicative language teaching (late 1990s to present) The “post-method” era • Nunan (1991, 228): • “It has been realised that there never was and probably never will be a method for all, and the focus in recent years has been on the development of classroom tasks and activities which are consonant with what we know about second language acquisition, and which are also in keeping with the dynamics of the classroom itself.” Methodology Source: Rodgers, 2001 Discussion break • Which approach(es) have you personally experienced as a learner? • What were your impressions and what is your assessment of the approach(es)? • Which approaches are most and least appealing to you? Why? Communicative competence • Linguistic: Knowing how to use language for a range of different purposes and functions. • Sociolinguistic: Knowing how to vary our use of language according to the setting and the participant (e.g. knowing when to use formal and informal speech) • Discourse: Knowing how to produce and understand different types of texts (e.g. narratives, reports, conversations) • Strategic: Knowing how to maintain communication despite having limitations in one’s language knowledge (e.g. through using different kinds of communication strategies) Principles of communicative language teaching • Make real communication the focus of language learning • Provide opportunities for learners to experiment and try out what they know • Be tolerant of learners’ errors as they indicate that the learner is building up his or her communicative competence • Provide opportunities for learners to develop both accuracy and fluency • Link the different skills such as speaking, reading, and listening together, since they usually occur so in the real world • Let students induce or discover grammar rules (source: Richards, 2006) Activity One Function, Many Forms: Requests 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Open that window for me. Open that window for me, would you? Can you open that window for me? Would you open that window for me? Could I ask you to open that window for me? Would you be so kind as to open that window for me? It’s pretty stuffy in here, don’t you think? -MaryAnn Julian Many Functions, One Form: Imperative Functions Giving advice Giving an order Giving a warning when there is danger Making a polite request Politely offering something Giving directions/instructions -MaryAnn Julian Activity: Teaching Compliments 1. Identify two additional forms that obtain with compliments. Statement: I like your haircut. Exclamation with “What”: What a nice tie! 2. Put three compliments into contexts that illustrate appropriate usage. Be sure to include responses to the compliments. Ten core assumptions in CLT 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Second language learning is facilitated when learners are engaged in interaction and meaningful communication. Effective classroom learning tasks provide opportunities for students to negotiate meaning, expand their language resources, notice how language is used, and take part in meaningful interpersonal exchange. Meaningful communication results from students processing content that is relevant, purposeful, interesting, and engaging. Communication is a holistic process that often calls upon the use of several language skills or modalities. 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. Ten core assumptions in CLT, ctd. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 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. Learners develop their own routes to language learning, progress at different rates, and have different needs and motivations for language learning. Successful language learning involved the use of effective learning and communication strategies. 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. The classroom is a community where learners learn through collaboration and sharing. (source: Richards, 2006) Classroom activities in CLT • Accuracy vs. fluency • Activity types: • • • • • • • • information gap jigsaw task-completion information-gathering opinion-sharing information-transfer reasoning-gap role plays Discussion break • Can you give an example of an activity that you might use in your classroom? • What type of activity is it? • Is the focus on accuracy or on fluency? The CLT paradigm shift: 8 major changes in approaches to language teaching 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Learner autonomy: Giving learners greater choice over their on learning both in terms of content and process. The social nature of learning: Learning is a social activity that depends on interaction with others. Curricular integration: Language is linked to other subjects in the curriculum. Focus on meaning through content-based teaching. Diversity: Learners learn in different ways and have different strengths. Thinking skills: Students learn language to develop and apply higher order thinking skills (critical and creative thinking). Alternative assessment: Multiple forms of assessment (observation, interviews, portfolios, journals, etc.) can be used to build a comprehensive picture of what students can do. Teachers as co-learners: The teacher is viewed as a facilitator who is constantly trying out different alternatives, i.e. learning through doing. Extensions of the CLT movement • • • • Content-based instruction Task-based instruction Text-based instruction Competency-based instruction Final thoughts •What difficulties might students and teachers face because of changes in their roles using a communicative methodology? References (on Bb) • Richards, Jack. C. 2006. Communicative Language Teaching Today. Cambridge University Press. • Richards, J. and Renandya, W. 2002. Methodology in language teaching. An anthology of current Practice. • Rodgers, T. 2001. Language Teaching methodology. ERIC Digest.