【abstract】teaching english communicatively has been the essential goal of our education. in the long process of elt (english language teaching) in china, various teaching methodologies have been introduced and numerous kinds of teaching approaches, especially communicative approach, have contributed much to the development of elt in our country. using clt (communicative language teaching) is one of language methods that offer a?new view and strategy in language teaching. in teaching and learning process, the emphasis is on?how students must be able to communicate and?express messages orally well.
【key words】elt (english language teaching); clt(communicative language teaching); communicative approach
in an increasingly globalized world, as a means of communication, language has becoming more and more important. english, as a universal language, has been widely used in china. so teaching english communicatively has been the essential goal of our education. in the long process of elt (english language teaching) in china, various teaching methodologies have been introduced and numerous kinds of teaching approaches, especially communicative approach, have contributed much to the development of elt in our country.
the purpose of this paper is to bring home to the english teachers the importance of communicative language teaching (clt) and call for the attention to the problems when using communicative approaches in elt.
2 definition of communicative approach
communicative approach to second language teaching was first thought about by dell hymes and later developed and supported by canale & swain. “communicative approaches are partially a reaction against the artificiality of ‘pattern-practice’ and also against the belief that consciously learning the grammar of a language will necessarily result in an ability to use the language.”(george yule 2000:194).
3 characteristics of communicative approach in elt
3.1 clt will provide more opportunities for learners in all aspects.
in elt class, classroom activities maximize opportunities for learners to use target language in a communicative way for meaningful activities. we emphasis more on meaning (messages they are creating or task they are completing) than form (correctness of language and language structure). classroom will provide opportunities for rehearsal of real-life situations and provide opportunity for real communication.
3.2 activities in elt class will emphasis on different kinds of angles.
teachers will emphasis on creative role-plays/ simulations/ surveys/ projects/ playlets - all produce spontaneity and improvisation - not just repetition and drills. classroom activities will emphasis more on active modes of learning, including pair work and group-work - often not exploited enough by teachers fearful of noisy class. in elt class oral work is more important, teachers will emphasis on oral and listening skills in the classroom. learners will not just hearing teacher, but having personal contact with language, practicing sounds themselves, rearranging sentence patterns and getting chance to make mistakes and learn from doing so.
3.3 communicative approach seeks to use authentic resources.
the materials teachers use in elt class is more interesting and motivating. in foreign language classroom authentic texts serve as partial substitute for community of native speaker. newspaper and magazine articles, poems, manuals, recipes, telephone directories, videos, news bulletins, discussion programs - all can be exploited in variety of ways.
3.4 roles teacher and students change in clt.
“teachers in communicative classrooms will find themselves talking less and listening more, becoming active facilitators of their students’ learning” (larsen-freeman, 1986). the teacher sets up the exercise, but because the students’ performance is the goal, the teacher must step back and observe, sometimes acting as referee or monitor. a classroom during a communicative activity is far from quiet, however. the students do most of the speaking, and frequently the scene of a classroom during a communicative exercise is active, with students leaving their seats to complete a task. because of the increased responsibility to participate, students may find they gain confidence in using the target language in general. students are more responsible managers of their own learning (larsen-freeman, 1986).
to sum up, this paper explores the feasibility of implementing communicative approaches in elt classroom and draws a conclusion that it is feasible to apply such kind of method in elt classroom. if communicative approaches should be applied effectively in elt classroom, teachers must consciously seek appropriate ways to change from traditional teaching methods step by step. but there still some problems exist in applying communicative approaches in elt classroom. one of the problems with teaching by communicative approaches is that if students’ level of knowledge is not high enough, it is difficult for them to discuss even the most interesting topics. as a teacher i found this quite difficult to practice in a non-english speaking country and in a classroom situation. i have observed teachers following the oral-aural method and making students go through repetition saying that was clt but that is absolutely?the opposite of what clt is about. so there is still long way for english teachers to go in teaching foreign language in our country.
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