Communicative language teaching focuses on language as a medium of communication. We use language to get things done. It recognizes that there is something that we need find out, or something that we want to say and communicate and it takes that as the reason why we speak language, why we want to communicate with others. For this reason communicative language teaching concentrates in fulfilling specific language functions or tasks, for example such as greeting, introducing yourself, you may want to express likes and dislikes, you might want to enquire about somebody's hobbies, interests, you might want to find directions to someplace. They are actually very concrete things that you want to do with language. So the theme of our diploma work is the communicative approach to teaching speaking pupils at the intermediate level of high school.
Our work is devoted to the method of teaching the speech. But for the beginning let's examine what is speech.
Language came into life as a means of communication. It exists and is alive only through speech. When we speak about teaching a foreign language, we first of all have in mind teaching it as a means of communication. So because of that we can say that the actualization of our work is high.
In the given work we tried to explain that represents the communicative approach and how to train speaking with its help. The aim of the given degree work is working out of the concept of a complex of exercises for training speaking in English by means of the communicative approach.
To achieve the aim we have to execute the following objectives:
· theoretically substantiate the meaning of the communicative approach as a whole;
· to define the role of a teacher and a learner in the realization of teaching speaking;
· to analyze the effectiveness of the communicative approach in teaching speaking at the intermediate level at a secondary school.
Theoretical significance for this work is methodological research on the work of advanced foreign language teachers.
Practical significance of this paper is determined by the fact that the developed material and proper tasks and exercises make available the use of this work as a manual in teaching a foreign language at classroom or as a given homework, or as a useful material for elective additional courses of foreign language at school.
The novelty of the research is in the use of the innovational methods in teaching speaking at the intermediate level.
The object of research is a speech act as a communicational action that speakers perform by saying things in a certain way in a certain context.
The subject of research is the process of teaching speaking.
Material under analysis: works of prominent methodists, experimental work at school during the teaching practice.
The methods applied: descriptive, experimental, and analytical.
The approbation. The basic proposition of this thesis were reported at the 12th Inter-University Conference on "Science and the new generation of 2010"
The paper consists of introduction and two chapters followed by conclusion. The first chapter is about the most common difficulties in auding and speaking a foreign language. Also it consists of psychological and linguistic characteristics of the speech. Further we find differences between prepared and unprepared speech and in this chapter we learn to find mistakes of pupils and how to correct them. In the second chapter are given the exercises, which help the teachers to obtain results in teaching speaking by communicative approach.
1. Theoretical foundations of teaching speaking pupils of senior form
1.1 The most common difficulties in auding and speaking
Auding or listening and comprehension are difficult for learners because they should discriminate speech sounds quickly, retain them while hearing a word, a phrase, or a sentence and recognize this as a sense unit. Pupils can easily and naturally do this in their own language and they cannot do this in a foreign language when they start learning the language. Pupils are very slow in grasping what they hear because they are conscious of the linguistic forms they perceive by the ear. This results in misunderstanding or a complete failure of understanding.
When auding a foreign language pupils should be very attentive and think hard. They should strain their memory and will power to keep the sequence of sounds they hear and to decode it. Not all the pupils can cope with the difficulties entailed. The teacher should help them by making this work easier and more interesting. This is possible on condition that he will take into consideration the following three main factors which can ensure success in developing pupils' skills in auding: (1) linguistic material for auding; (2) the content of the material suggested for listening and comprehension; (3) conditions in which the material is presented.
1. Comprehension of the text by the ear can be ensured when the teacher uses the material which has already been assimilated by pupils. However this does not completely eliminate the difficulties in auding. Pupils need practice in listening and comprehension in the target language to be able to overcome three kinds of difficulties: phonetic, lexical, and grammatical. [1, 13]
Phonetic difficulties appear because the phonic system of English and Russian differ greatly. The hearer often interprets the sounds of a foreign language as if they were of his own language which usually results in misunderstanding. The following opposites present much trouble to beginners in learning English:
И -- s tr -- tѓ A -- o s -- z a: -- o
И -- f dr -- dg d -- z t -- tѓ o: -- ?:
w -- v d -- v n -- rj ae -- e
Pupils also find it difficult to discriminate such opposites as: o: -- o, a -- A, i: -- i, u: -- u.
They can hardly differentiate the following words by ear: worked -- walked; first -- fast -- forced; lion -- line; tired -- tide; bought -- boat -- board.
The difference in intonation often prevents pupils from comprehending a communication. For example, Good ґmorning (when meeting); Good Іmorning (at parting).
The teacher, therefore, should develop his pupils' ear for English sounds and intonation.
Lexical difficulties are closely connected with the phonetic ones. Pupils often misunderstand words because they hear them wrong. For example: The horse is slipping. The horse is sleeping. They worked till night. They walked till night.
The opposites are often misunderstood, for the learners often take one word for another. For example: east-- west, take -- put; ask -- answer. The most difficult words for auding are the verbs with postpositions, such as: put on, put off, put down, take off, see off, go in for, etc.
Grammatical difficulties are mostly connected with the analytic structure of the English language, and with the extensive use of infinitive and participle constructions. Besides, English is rich in grammatical homonyms, for example: to work -- work; to answer -- answer; -ed as the suffix of the Past Indefinite and the Past Participle.
This is difficult for pupils when they aud.
2. The content of the material also influences comprehension. The following factors should be taken into consideration when selecting the material for auding:
The topic of communication: whether it is within the ability of the pupils to understand, and what difficulties pupils will come across (proper names, geographical names, terminology, etc).
The type of communication: whether it is a description or a narration. Description as a type of communication is less emotional and interesting, that is why it is difficult for the teacher to arouse pupils' interest in auding such a text. Narration is more interesting for auding. Consequently, this type of communication should be used for listening comprehension.
The context and pupils' readiness (intellectual and situational) to understand it. The way the narrative progresses: whether the passage is taken from the beginning of a story, the nucleus of the story, the progress of the action or, finally, the end of the story. The title of the story may be helpful in comprehending the main idea of the text. The simpler the narrative progresses, the better it is for developing pupils' skills in auding.
The form of communication: whether the text is a dialogue or a monologue. Monologic speech is easier for the learners, therefore, it is preferable for developing pupils' ability to aud.
3. Conditions of presenting the material are of great importance for teaching auding, namely:
The speed of the speech the pupil is auding. The hearer cannot change the speed of the speaker.
There are different points of view on the problem of the speed of speech in teaching auding a foreign language. The most convincing is the approach suggested by N. V. Elukhina. She believes that in teaching auding the tempo should be slower than the normal speed of authentic speech. However this slowness is not gained at the expense of the time required for producing words (that might result in violating the intonation pattern of an utterance), but of the time required for pauses which are so necessary for a pupil to grasp the information of each portion between the pauses. Gradually the teacher shortens the pauses and the tempo of speech becomes normal or approximately normal, which is about 150 words per minute. According to the investigation carried out by L. Tzesarsky the average speed for teaching auding should be 120 words per minute; the slow speed -- 90 words per minute.
The number of times of presenting the material for auding: whether the pupils should listen to the text once, twice, three times or more. Pupils should be taught to listen to the text once and this must become a habit. However they sometimes can grasp only 50% of the information and even less, so a second presentation may be helpful. In case the pupils cannot grasp most of the information, practice proves that manifold repetitions when hearing do not help much. It is necessary to help pupils in comprehension by using a "feed back" established through a dialogue between the teacher and the class 1 which takes as much time as it is required for the repetitive presentation of the material. [2, 20]
The presence or the absence of the speaker. The most favorable condition is when pupils can see the speaker as is the case when the teacher speaks to them in a foreign language. The most unfavorable condition for auding is listening and comprehending a dialogue, when pupils cannot see the speakers and do not take part in the conversation.
Visual "props" which may be of two kinds, objects and motions. Pupils find it difficult to aud without visual props. The eye should help the ear to grasp a text when dealing with beginners.
The voice of the speaker also influences pupils' comprehension. Pupils who get used to the teacher's voice can easily understand him, but they cannot understand other people speaking the same language.
Consequently, in teaching listening comprehension the teacher should bear in mind all the difficulties pupils encounter when auding in a foreign language.
Speaking a foreign language is the most difficult part in language learning because pupils need ample practice in speaking to be able to say a few words of their own in connection with a situation. This work is time-consuming and pupils rarely feel any real necessity to make themselves understood during the whole period of learning a new language in school. The stimuli the teacher can use are often feeble and artificial. The pupil repeats the sentence he hears, he completes sentences that are in the book, he constructs sentences on the pattern of a given one. These mechanical drill exercises are, of course, necessary; however, when they go on year after year without any other real language practice they are deadening. There must be occasions when the pupils feel the necessity to inform someone of something, to explain something, and to prove something to someone. This is a psychological factor which must be taken into account when teaching pupils to speak a foreign language.
Another factor of no less importance is a psycho-linguistic one; the pupil needs words, phrases, sentence patterns, and grammatical forms and structures stored up in his memory ready to be used for expressing any thought he wants to. In teaching speaking, therefore, the teacher should stimulate his pupils' speech by supplying them with the subject and by teaching them the words and grammar they need to speak about the suggested topic or situation. The teacher should lead his pupils to unprepared speaking through prepared speaking. [3, 36]
1.2 Prepared and unprepared speech
Pupils' speech in both forms may be of two kinds: prepared and unprepared. It is considered prepared when the pupil has been given time enough to think over its content and form. He can speak on the subject following the plan made either independently at home or in class under the teacher's supervision. His speech will be more or less correct and sufficiently fluent since plenty of preliminary exercises had been done before.
In schools, however, pupils often have to speak on a topic when they are not yet prepared for it. As a result only bright pupils can cope with the task. In such a case the teacher trying to find a way out 'gives his pupils a text which covers the topic. Pupils learn and recite it in class. They reproduce the text either in the very form it was given or slightly transform it. Reciting, though useful and necessary in language learning, has but little to do with speech since speaking is a creative activity and is closely connected with thinking, while reciting has to do only with memory. Of course pupils should memorize words, word combinations, phrases, sentence patterns, and texts to "accumulate" the material and still it is only a prerequisite. The main objective of the learner is to be able to use the linguistic material to express his thoughts. This is ensured by the pupil's ability to arrange and rearrange in his own way the material stored up in his memory. Consequently, while assigning homework it is necessary to distinguish between reciting and speaking so that the pupil should know what he is expected to do while preparing for the lesson -- to reproduce the text or to compile a text of his own. His answer should be evaluated differently depending on the task set. If the pupil is to recite a text, the teacher evaluates the quality of reproduction, i. e., exactness, intonation and fluency. If the pupil is to speak on a subject, the teacher evaluates not only the correctness of his speech but his skills in arranging and rearranging the material learnt, i. e., his ability to make various transformations within the material he uses while speaking. The teacher should encourage each pupil to speak on the subject in his own way and thus develop pupils' initiative and thinking.
The pupil's speech is considered unprepared when, without any previous preparation, he can do the following:
-- Speak on a subject suggested by the teacher. For example, winter holidays are over and pupils come back to school. They are invited to tell the teacher and the class how each of them spent his holidays. Pupils in turn tell the class where they were, what they did, whether they had a good time, and so on.
-- Speak on the text read. For example, pupils have read two or three chapters of "William". The teacher asks a pupil to give its short summary or to tell the class the contents of the chapters as if the other pupils have not read them.
-- Speak on the text heard. For example, pupils listened to the text "Great Britain" (there is a map of Great Britain on the wall). The teacher asks them (in turn) to come up to the map and speak on Great Britain. While speaking pupils can use the information they have just received or appeal to their knowledge about the country.
-- Discuss a problem or problems touched upon in the text read or heard. For example, pupils read about education in Great Britain. After the teacher makes sure that his pupils understand the text and have a certain idea of the system of education in Great Britain, he arranges a discussion on the problem. He asks his pupils to compare the system of education in Great Britain and in our country. The teacher stimulates pupils' speech either by questions or through wrong statements.
-- Have an interview with "a foreigner". For example, pupils are studying the topic "London". The teacher may arrange an interview. One of the pupils is "a Londoner". The classmates ask him various questions and express their opinions on the subjects under discussion.
-- Help a "foreigner", for example, to find the way to the main street or square of the town; or instruct him as to the places of interest in the town. This may be done directly or with the help of "an interpreter".
There are, of course, other techniques for stimulating pupils' unprepared speech. The teacher chooses the techniques most suitable for his pupils since he knows their aptitudes, their progress in the language, the time he has at his disposal for developing speaking skills, the concrete material at which pupils are working.
In conclusion it should be said that prepared and unprepared speech must be developed simultaneously from the very beginning. The relationship between prepared and unprepared speech should vary depending on the stage of learning the language. In the junior stage prepared speech takes the lead, while in the senior stage unprepared speech should prevail. [4, 55]
Speech and oral exercises.
We must distinguish speech and oral exercises for they are often mixed up by the teacher.
Speech is a process of communication by means of language. For example, (1) a pupil tells the class a story about something which once happened to him; (2) the teacher asks questions on the story read by the pupils at home and starts a discussion; (3) pupils speak on the pictures suggested by the teacher, each tries to say what others have not mentioned; (4) pupils listen to the story and get some new information from the text; (5) they see a sound film and learn about something new from it, etc. Oral exercises are used for the pupils to assimilate phonetics, grammar, and vocabulary. They are mostly drill exercises and the teacher turns to them whenever he works at enriching pupils' knowledge in vocabulary and grammar, at improving pupils' pronunciation, etc. For example, reciting a rhyme or a poem is considered to be an excellent oral exercise for drilling pronunciation and for developing speech habits. Making up sentences following the model is an excellent oral exercise for fixing a sentence pattern and words which fit the pattern in the pupils' mind. Making statements with the words or phrases the teacher gives is another valuable oral exercise which allows the teacher to retain them in his pupils' memory through manifold repetitions.
Oral exercises are quite indispensable to developing speech. However, they only prepare pupils for speaking and cannot be considered to be “speech” as some teachers are apt to think and who are often satisfied with oral exercises which pupils perform following the model; they seldom use stimuli for developing pupils' auding and speaking in the target language. [3, 40]
In order to get a better understanding of what speech is we are to consider the psychological and linguistic characteristics of speech.
Psychological characteristics of speech
The development of speaking follows the same pattern both in the mother tongue and in a foreign language from reception to reproduction as psychologists say, and from hearing to speaking if we express it in terms of methodology.
Since "language is not a substance, it is a process." (N. Brooks) and "language doesn't exist. It happens." (P. Stevens), we should know under what conditions "it happens". What are the psychological characteristics of oral language? They are as follows:
1. Speech must be motivated, i. e., the speaker expresses a desire to inform the hearer of something interesting, important, or to get information from him. Suppose one of the pupils is talking to a friend of hers. Why is she talking? Because she wants to either tell her friend about something interesting, or get information from her about something important. This is the case of inner motivation. But very often oral speech is motivated outwardly. For instance, the pupil's answers at an examination.
Rule for the teacher: In teaching a foreign language it is necessary to think over the motives which make pupils speak. They should have a necessity to speak and not only a desire to receive a good mark, Ensure conditions in which a pupil will have a desire to say something in the foreign language, to express his thoughts, his feelings, and not to reproduce someone else's as is often the case when he learns the text by heart. Remember that oral speech in the classroom should be always stimulated. Try to use those stimuli which can arouse a pupil's wish to respond in his own way.
2. Speech is always addressed to an interlocutor.
Rule for the teacher: Organize the teaching process in a way which allows your pupils to speak to someone, to their classmates in particular, i. e., when speaking a pupil should address the class, and not the teacher or the ceiling as is often the case. When he retells a text which is no longer new to the class, nobody listens to him as the classmates are already familiar with it. This point, as one can see, is closely connected with the previous one. The speaker will hold his audience when he says something new, something individual (personal). Try to supply pupils with assignments which require individual approach on their part.
3. Speech is always emotionally colored for a speaker expresses his thoughts, his feelings, his attitude to what he says.
Rule for the teacher: Teach pupils how to use intonational means to express their attitude, their feelings about what they say. That can be done by giving such tasks as: reason why you like the story; prove something; give your opinion on the episode or on the problem concerned, etc.
4. Speech is always situational for it takes place in a certain situation.
Rule for the teacher: While teaching speaking real and close-to-real situations should be created to stimulate pupils' speech. Think of the situations you can use in class to make pupils' speech situational. Remember the better you know the class the easier it is for you to create situations for pupils to speak about.
These are the four psychological factors which are to be taken into account when teaching speech. [5, 25]
Linguistic characteristics of speech
Oral language as compared to written language is more flexible. It is relatively free and is characterized by some peculiarities in vocabulary and grammar. Taking into consideration, however, the] conditions in which the foreign language is taught in schools, we cannot teach pupils colloquial English. We teach them Standard English as spoken on the radio, TV, etc. Oral language taught in schools is close to written language standards and especially its monologic form. It must be emphasized that a pupil should use short sentences in monologue, sentence patterns which are characteristic of oral language. We need not teach pupils to use long sentences while describing a picture. For example: The boy has a long blue pencil in his left hand. The child may use four sentences instead of one: The boy has a pencil. It's in his left hand. The pencil is long. It is blue.
Pupils should be acquainted with some peculiarities of the spoken language, otherwise they will not understand it when hearing and their own speech will be artificial. This mainly concerns dialogues. Linguistic peculiarities of dialogue are as follows:
1. The use of incomplete sentences (ellipses) in responses:
-- How many books have you?
-- Do you go to school on Sunday?
-- No, - I don't.
-- Who has done it?
-- Nick has.
It does not mean, of course, we should not teach pupils complete forms of response. But their use should be justified.
-- Have you seen the film?
-- Yes, I have seen this film, and I am sorry I've wasted two hours.
-- Did you like the book?
-- Yes, I liked it very much.
2. The use of contracted forms: doesn't, won't, can't, isn't, etc.
3. The use of some abbreviations: lab (laboratory), mike (microphone), maths (mathematics), p. m. (post meridiem), and others.
4. The use of conversational tags. These are the words a speaker uses when he wishes to speak without saying anything. Here is both a definition of conversational tags and an example of their usage in conversation (they are in italics),
"Well, they are those things, you know, which don't actually mean very much, of course, yet they are in fact necessary in English conversation as behavior."
Besides, to carry on a conversation pupils need words, phrases to start a conversation, to join it, to confirm, to comment, etc. For example, well, look here, I say ..., I'd like to tell you (for starting a talk); you see, you mean, do you mean to say that ..., and what about (for joining a conversation); / believe so, I hope, yes, right, quite right, to be sure (for confirming what one says); / think, as far as I know, as far as I can see, the fact is, to tell the truth, I mean to say (for commenting), etc.
There is a great variety of dialogue structures. Here are the principal four:
1. Question -- response.
-- Hello. What's your name?
-- Ann. What's yours?
-- My name is Williams
2. Question -- question.
-- Will you help me, sonny?
-- What shall I do, mother?
-- Will you polish the floor today?
-- Is it my turn?
-- Yes, it is. Your brother did it last time.
-- Oh, all right, then.
3. Statement -- statement.
-- I'd like to know when he is going to come and see us.
That's difficult to say. He is always promising but never comes.
It's because he is very busy.
That's right. He works hard.
4. Statement -- question.
I'm going to the theatre tonight.
Where did you get tickets?
My friend got them somewhere.
How did he do it?
I don't know.
In school teaching only one structure of dialogue is usually used, i.e., question -- response. More than that, pupils' dialogues are artificial and they lack, as a rule, all the pecu-liarities mentioned above.
In teaching dialogue in schools it is necessary to take into account these peculiarities and give pupils pattern dialogues to show what real dialogues look like. [2, 152]
1.3 Mistakes in speaking and how to correct them
It is natural while learning a foreign language that pupils make mistakes. They make mistakes in auding when they misunderstand something in a text. They make mistakes in speaking when pupils mispronounce a word, violate the order of words in a sentence, misuse a preposition, an article, use wrong intonation, etc. The teacher's main aim is to prevent pupils' errors. There is a good rule: "Correct mistakes before they occur." In other words, careful teaching results in correct English, i. e., pupils make very few mistakes. However, they make them, and the problem is how to correct pupils' errors.
If a pupil misunderstands something when auding, the teacher should do his best to ensure comprehension. He suggests that the pupil should either listen to the sentence again; if he does not understand it properly the teacher or the classmates help him to paraphrase the sentence or translate" it, or see it written. The latter often helps if pupils do not get used to hearing, if they are eye-learners. As far as speaking is concerned it is the teacher who corrects pupils' mistakes. It is a bad habit of some teachers to ask pupils to notice mistakes when their classmate is called in front of the class to speak.
This is due to the following reasons. Firstly, pupils' attention is drawn, not to what the classmate says, but to how he says it, i. e., not to the content, but to the form. If we admit that the form may not always be correct, then why should we concentrate pupils' attention on the form? Moreover, when pupils' attention is centered on errors, they often do not grasp what the classmate says, and that is why they cannot ask questions or continue the story he has told them.
Secondly, the pupil who speaks thinks more about how to say something instead of what to say. No speaking is possible when the speaker has to concentrate on the form. He makes more errors under this condition. More than that, he often refuses to speak when he sees the classmates raise their hands after he has uttered his first sentence. This does not encourage the learner to speak.
Accordingly when a pupil is called to the front of the class to speak, the class is invited to follow what he says so that they may be able to ask questions or to go on with the story when he stops.
There is a great variety of techniques at the teacher's disposal. He selects the one that is most suitable for the occasion.
1. If a pupil makes a mistake in something which is familiar to him, it is preferable to correct it at once. But in order not to confuse the pupil and stop his narration the teacher helps the child with the correct version.
Pupil: My mother gets up at 7 o'clock.
Teacher: I see, your mother gets up earlier than you.
Pupil: Yes, my mother gets up at 7.
2. If a pupil makes a mistake in something which he has not learned yet the teacher corrects his mistakes after he has finished speaking.
Pupil: She first visited us in 1960.
She is a good friend of ours since.
The teacher gives the correct sentence: She has been a good friend of ours since.
If many pupils make the same mistakes, for instance, in prepositions (go in instead of go to), articles (the Moscow instead of Moscow, or Volga instead of the Volga), in tense forms (the Present Continuous instead of the Present Indefinite) the teacher makes note of them and gets the pupils to perform drill exercises after answering questions. [3, 40]
The teacher should not emphasize incorrect forms in any way or they will be memorized along with the correct ones, for instance: Books is. Do you say "books is"? You shouldn't say "books is". What should you say?
The communicative approach to teaching speaking pupils at the intermediate level of high school
2.1 The communicative approach to teaching foreign languages
Short survey on the history of the communicative approach
With the rapid development of politics, economics, science & technology, direct contact among nations has become more and more frequent, people are forced to seek perfection, simplicity and practicality in learning. The coming of information era has shifted people's attention to language function from language structure in a way that language is a communicative vehicle to convey information. Studies on FLT methodology must focus on the social and vocational or academic needs of adult learners of foreign languages, rather than on the psychological procedure of learning or simply on language structures or forms. Most researchers in FLT methodology concentrated their studies from social-linguistic perspective upon the Social features of language and social needs for language learning. This ideological trend in theory is the seed out of which the communicative Approach grew. The goal of learning a language is to help learners master the communicative competence but not merely get high marks in exams. In modern times, it is well-known that a foreign language is playing an important and passive role in international exchange. In order to develop economics, cooperate and compete with others, every country must first be able to share its ideas, information material quickly with one another. Naturally, it has an urgent need for its personnel to get rid of language barriers and to master a commonly -used foreign language. English is just the very representative that best suits the situation. Thus, the communicative approach was first used in its teaching. This method appeared in Western Europe in the 1970's, which helps learners improve the capacity of communication. During the process of its coming into being, it had some other nicknames. Because it laid emphasis on the social function of language learning, it was once called the Functional Approach. Moreover, it advocated using notion to organize teaching, which was named the Notional Approach. As time went by, especially, language was using to communicate with each other, function and notion were in harmony. Therefore, it was called the Functional-Notional Approach. For instance, where is the post office? The inquiry is function, and the location of this post office is notion. Like any scientific invention history, the communicative approach has experienced a long history of maturity and it had been surveyed by many people before it was formally known to the world. From the appearance and historical facts mentioned above, to some extents we do know that to learn a foreign language is to acquire a vehicle to communicate. Emphasis should be laid on its practical use, learning must meet the needs of pupils, who are led to learn in use or for application and that verbal actions of language can't be divorced from situations and situations stay with social and cultural lives .The rise of the communicative approach benefits from the development of modern social psychology, morphology, sociology and linguistics. That is to say, their experimental research becomes the firm and solid theoretical foundation of this method. After World War II, some super national groups were formed for economic reasons, such as European Economic Community (EEC), council for mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and so forth, kinds of people with professional skills are in great demand. At the urgent time, most schools adjusted their syllabus and pedagogy. The communicative approach is characterized by such facts that language teaching is based on communication and opposed to systematization and gradation, texts are well constructed and can meet the needs of different pupils, i.e. English for Special Purpose (ESP). The teacher's leading role is to prepare teaching materials so as to instruct pupils to communicate in practice consciously and create some language situations to practice language freely. This means considers the pupils' mistakes in grammar to be normal. They are like inter-language when we began to learn our native language, which marks the levels of language learning. Thus, when we find the pupils made mistakes in language learning, we don't have to point them out hastily or hurriedly so as not to bother their attention. In actual fact, the final and essential purpose of learning a foreign language is to communicate with others. Maybe some people want to ask if it is necessary to explain grammar in high schools. As an effective & reasonable approach, grammatical explanation is unavoidable, including mother tongue and translation.
The procedure of communicative teaching method can be divided into three steps: contact, imitation & drill and free expression. The Communicative Approach is composed of may elements, such as the social, cultural, psychological elements and that of daily life. Most of them do not belong to the category of language itself.
Teaching English should follow the principles of English language teaching. From the viewpoint of dialectical materialism, the principle of English teaching, which highly reflects the methodological theory and the norm concerned must agree with the objective laws existing in English teaching activities, and be looked on as a generally acknowledged truth. The system of English teaching principles involves at least five aspects. ?Educational tenets; ?The general teaching principles; ?The teaching principles of foreign languages; ?The principles of English teaching ; ?The principles of teaching English knowledge and skills. In short, we should try to create various situational dialogues to arouse pupils' interest and desire to speak out so as to develop a good communicative ability in an all-round way, morally, intellectually and physically. Frankly speaking, the communicative ability should include five abilities, listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating. Listening and speaking are important methods for training the pupils' abilities to listen and speak as well as the means of consolidating their booklore and improving their abilities to read and write. Oral reading and narrating including questions and answers and other oral drills are mainly for listening practice. The teacher speaks while showing pictures, slides, or performing an action, the pupils listen while watching and imitating the action or recognizing the corresponding pictures, then, the teacher speaks only, the pupils listen while making corresponding action or holding up the relevant pictures, tell the pupils silently to recall the English language. When some pupils miss a whole sentence or fail to repeat more details about your listening material, the teacher should remind them to put down some key words on a piece of paper. When they are requested to express the similar meaning, they have to use their own words. In this way, they can improve and maintain the communicative competence. In addition, some games and dictation can be involved in listening, speaking, while reading the dictation material, the teacher should repeat several times rather than slow the speed excessively or read over again ad again word by word and sentence by sentence. In class, the teacher may organize some games to practice English. The whole class can be divided into several groups. Every member is given a specific role to play. Role -playing can help pupils not only master certain expressions but also explore his/her intelligence. Of course, kinds of out -of -class activities also play a significant part in English learning. Soliloquy, narration, dialogues and report are other effective ways of practicing listening, speaking. In the Middle school, no separate reading course is set up. It does not matter where the reading material comes from as long as the difficulty degree is in degree is in agreement with pupils' reading knowledge. The teacher should introduce some excellent methods of reading to them, such as scanning skimming, extensive or intensive reading and the like. When the pupils find some new words in their papers, the teacher should teach them how to guess their meanings through the context. This method works very often. Every week, a proper period for reading is needed, which is a good chance for timed reading. This is also prime time to enlarge the quantities of new words. So, the teacher shows some essays written by people from English-speaking countries to them. The presentation helps them to master more communicative skills as well as deep understanding of the context and English culture. Writing and translating should be based on reading and speaking lessons. From basic sentences to composing essays, writing is a long process. The teacher is supposed to work from simple to complex, such as using given phrases to make sentences then link the sentences into paragraphs. The pupils must remember some important structures and own some amount of vocabulary, especially, the usage of five kinds of simple sentence. In the beginning, the teacher may advise the pupils to imitate, retell or rewrite some learned materials. In another way, the sentence translation is necessary, the pupils may write an essay on a given situation or on a certain topic when we find some versions useful, we can ask the pupils to recite some fabulous expressions. Each week, the teacher may get them to accomplish a composition and give them a detailed evolution, particularly error -correction .In fact, the pupils who are experienced at writing and translating are also good at grammar and language. The Communicative Approach is becoming popular. Whereas, there are still many obstacles to the implementation of it .The popularity of this approach must result in the improvement of the English teacher's quality. An English teacher must have standard oral English, rich knowledge of linguistics and terrific experience in the use of teaching methods or aids. What's more, the redaction of a suitable textbook is necessary. Nowadays, this is the turning point from exam-oriented education to quality-oriented education. The concept and policy for education should be transformed without any delay.
"Communicative Approach" has been quite popular recently. "Communicative Approach" sounds perfect in theory, but it will have some problems after being put into practice. From the literal meaning, we can know that the main emphasis of "Communicative Approach" is "communication". So the main task of teachers is to teach pupils how to communicate in English efficiently. Under this precondition, "communication" is divided into several kinds of "functions", such as asking directions, ordering dishes at restaurants, buying airline tickets or chatting on the Internet. Each one is regarded as a function. When introducing one function, teachers give pupils some key words, sentences or phrases and design some activities for pupils to practice what they learn. The purpose is to train pupils to ask directions, order dishes at restaurants in English by themselves.
However, there is a big problem here. "Communicative Approach" is conditioned to ESL (English as a Second Language). There is a condition of this approach: there should be an environment of ESL. That is, pupils have to use English to order dishes at restaurants so that they can get enough practice. However, the environment is different, and it is an environment of EFL (English as a Foreign Language). Nobody orders dishes in English. If we do not take this difference into consideration and still imitate the western style to teach pupils to order dishes in English at the local classrooms, pupils will lose many opportunities of practicing repeatedly.
The way to solve this problem is to rearrange the orders of language functions according to the local environment. For example, how can you do when a foreigner ask you directions? How to chat with foreigners at pubs? How to ask your superior for a raise of salary in a foreign company? In other words, teachers should teach pupils the functions that they can use immediately after learning in native environment. Besides, teachers can also make good use of classroom environment to provide pupils with communicative learning activities. For instance, teachers can use "paired practice", "group work", "problem-solving and information-gap activities", "role-playing and dramatization", "playing games", "singing songs" and so on. There are so many activities for teachers to choose from. If those activities can be really exercised in classrooms, pupils surely will like learning English.
Another problem is how to correct pupils' mistakes in pronunciation, grammar and so on. Many pupils are too concerned about their mistakes in pronunciation and grammar when speaking English. In order to break this mental barrier of many pupils and encourage them to speak English, many teachers encourage pupils to put grammar and pronunciation aside first and speak English. Then teachers would gradually correct pupils' mistakes. This kind of encouragement is also one of the basic points of "Communicative Approach." The spirit of encouragement sounds ideal, but it may result in some problems. The toughest one is how and when to correct pupils' mistakes. How long can teachers allow pupils to speak incorrect English? What mistakes should be corrected? When to correct pupils' pronunciation and grammar? How to solve all these problems depends upon teachers' judgments and choices. To sum up, a well-trained and experienced teacher plays an important role in "Communicative Approach." When pupils play activities like "paired practice", "group work" or "role-playing", a good teacher knows how and when to move around, provide immediate help and collect pupils' mistakes to discuss late after the activities are over.
Moreover, another problem of "Communicative Approach" is that teachers may have difficulty in evaluating pupils' performance. Usually at schools, pupils' grades mainly come from the results of written tests. However, as long as "Communicative Approach" is put into practice, pupils' performance of listening, speaking, reading and writing should all be taken into consideration. Otherwise, the evaluation of pupils' performance will not be that fair. However, we all know that it is not quite easy for teachers to evaluate pupils' performance of speaking and listening. There is a method to solve this problem.
"Communicative Approach" is aimed at training pupils' listening and speaking, so it relatively ignores the training of reading and writing. The ability of writing and reading is quite important for an intellectual to enter universities, study abroad, read plenty of original books, hoop up into the international webs looking for information, write papers or dissertations in English, etc. All these cannot be acquired merely from "Communicative Approach". Therefore, "extensive reading" can compensate for the fault of "Communicative Approach" and the two can work side by side. Let's take vocabulary for example. According to the spirit of extensive reading, teachers provide pupils with reading materials that they are interested in. The vocabulary of the reading materials should be arranged according to the frequency and difficulty. Teachers can ask pupils not to check the dictionary for every new word, and encourage them to comprehend from the context. The main principle of extensive reading is speed, quantity and consistency. It is unnecessary for pupils to understand every word. So is the same with "Communicative Approach." If you order dishes at restaurants in America, you may hear something you do not understand. But you do not check the dictionary. As long as you understand the main idea of what you hear, the communicative function is achieved. So is the same with extensive reading. What teachers should do is to find reading materials suitable for pupils and encourage them to read consistently.
The communicative approach (Communicative Language Technique or CLT) emphasizes communication as the means and goal of foreign language learning.
The communicative approach aims to help pupils use the target language in a variety of contexts. Its primary focus is to help learners create meaning rather than help them develop perfect grammar or acquire native-like pronunciation. This means that successfully learning a foreign language is assessed in terms of how learners have developed their communicative competence.
The communicative approach is usually characterized as a broad approach to teaching, rather than as a teaching method. As such, it is most often defined as a list of general principles.
One of the most recognized of these lists is David Nunan's (1991) five features of CLT:
1. An emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language.
2. The introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation.
3. The provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language, but also on the Learning Management process.
4. An enhancement of the learner's own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning.
5. An attempt to link classroom language learning with language activities outside the classroom.
These five principles show that the communicative approach is focused on the needs and desires of their learners.
Under this broad umbrella definition, any teaching practice that helps pupils develop their communicative competence in an authentic context is deemed an acceptable and beneficial form of instruction. Therefore, in the classroom the communicative approach often takes the form of pair work and group work requiring negotiation and co-operation between learners, fluency based activities that encourage learners to develop their confidence, role plays in which pupils practice and develop language functions, as well as discreet use of grammar and pronunciation activities.
Classroom activities used in the communicative approach:
· Information Gap
· Role Play
· Language exchanges
· Pair work
· Learning by teaching
Criticisms of the communicative approach:
· Paying insufficient attention to the context in which teaching and learning occurs.
The teacher may understand the pupil, but this may be because of first language influence rather than correct communication of the target language.
· Task Based Learning
Task based learning is a language learning method popularized by N. Prabhu while working in Bangalore, India. Prabhu figured out that his pupils could learn language just as easily with non-linguistic problems as when they were concentrating on linguistic questions. Task based learning is widely used for language learning.