Teachers' Blog

Communicative approach in the classroom

The communicative approach is the most suitable for the learners to overcome fears, shyness and blocks to achieve accuracy and fluency in the speech.

The worldwide demand for English has created an enormous demand for quality language teaching and language teaching materials and resources. Learners want to have a high level of the language to be fluent and accurate. To have good communication skills in English is a great desire for most people. Communicative competence in the target language is more demanded now than ever before.
The worldwide increasing demand for good communication in the English language has increased significantly the responsibility of the English language teacher.

Communicative language teaching
Real communication is always unpredictable and unexpected. The real-life communicative situations create an interest and students’ motivation to learn comes from a desire to communicate about meaningful and interesting topics. First of all, there should be a purpose of communication (to find the street, to buy a ticket, to ask for help). Then there should be concentration on the content not the form. The learners should use different structures, tenses, prepositions and not to be tied with the last studied grammar in the lesson. The teacher shouldn’t interfere in the learner’s speech and break the flow of the speech if the exercises are on fluency not accuracy. The teachers should remember that the learners who don’t get used to speaking spontaneously need to be helped.

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The teacher’s role
Teachers in communicative classrooms will find themselves talking less and listening more. The same must be for a face-to- face lesson. The learners must be a center in a class not the teacher. Thus, the learner will get a chance to get more confident and fluent. How often we meet the learners who concentrate on the grammar, vocabulary items. It seems that they know the structure of the language but they can’t actually use this knowledge to communicate. There are some difficulties in activating “passive” knowledge. The learners begin to have fear to speak in English or to look foolish just because they don’t have enough communicative skills.

How to help the learners?
We, as being teachers, should help the learners and to put them in a situation where they can feel safe! The teacher shouldn’t forget to praise and encourage the learners when they deserve it. Many activities in a classroom are suitable for “fluency and confidence” aims.

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Give them first controlled practice activities using a model. It’s important to have your learners work collaboratively rather than individually. Another reason for collaboration in controlled practice is that learners will help each other. The teachers can use quizzes, multiple choice answers, the board games, guessing activities. The more variety the teacher uses, the better for the learners to avoid boredom.

The teacher should know the answers in controlled practice activities and there should be only one possible answer. Before going directly to the free practice the teachers often use semi-controlled activities to maintain interest. The advantage of semi-controlled practice is that it gives students the opportunity to personalize the language to their needs. It can be more than one possible answer but the choice should be limited.

Free practice also called production comes at the end of the lessons. The learners should be free in the choice of the structures. First, they can work in pairs and then provide their ideas in front of the class. The choice of the topic has a great role. If they are completely unfamiliar with the topic or vocabulary, they can hardly be involved. The teachers can create interest by giving real-life examples and being enthusiastic. The learners feel more confident when at the end of the lesson they communicate without the help of models and when they are encouraged by the teachers with the open questions “Why”, “When”. “How long”.

According to my experience this approach makes your learners be involved in a learning process and be more confident in communication.

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