In this thesis written about Communicative Language Teaching, I especially focused on Communicative Language Teaching-activities. First of all you will get introduced with the beginning of CLT and its characteristics, because it is important to know the beginning of CLT: When did begin? How it is formed the CLT that we are using nowadays? What characteristics does it have? Why it is useful for teaching foreign language? In the pages that follow, it will be argued of three kinds of practise which I consider basically remarkable: Mechanical practise, Meaningful practise, Communicative practise. Classroom activities in CLT which are: Accuracy activities and Fluency activities, are mentioned in this paper as important point that CLT has, also I have done an observation in primary school to see which activity is being implemented in primary schools, because it is very important to see how good our educational system is going and to prepare myself as a future teacher to select which activities are more “comfortable” for pupils. Next section of this paper it has an elaboration of CLT-Activities; there you will see their implementation and one example for each of them. I have done a questionnaire for pupils contained by ten questions related to CLT-Activities, and after it I have explained the results of each question of questionnaire. At the end you will see an overall conclusion of this paper, what I have understood based on my research, observations, theoretical part of Communicative Language Teaching.
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I Communicative Language Teaching
What is CLT?
In the late years, there has been an increasing interest in learning “English” as a foreign language, which basically considered one of the most important languages in all over the world. People need “English” for their jobs, career, life, travelling, studies, etc. The problem was and in some countries is still considering problem in how to learn and how to teach a foreign language (including rules of grammar, pronunciation, skills, communication). Fifty years ago “Grammar” was a remarkable point in teaching a foreign language, the system’s focus was in teaching a foreign language based just in grammar (rules, sentence formation, definitions) which was called “Traditional Approach”. Fortunately activities started to be in process of changing with other activities and soon traditional approach went out of fashion. What made this approach to get out of the system was a new approach called “Communicative Language Teaching” or CLT. “With CLT began a movement away from traditional lesson formats where the focus was on mastery of different items of grammar and practise through controlled activities such as memorization of dialogs and drills, towards the use of pair work activities, role plays, group works activities and project work” (Richards) (n.d). Based on this citation and what is generally accepted about CLT, I can say that CLT is a new approach, useful too, and it focuses on needs of teachers: How to teach a foreign language? And also in students: How to learn a foreign language?
1.2 The Beginning of CLT and its characteristics.
According to Richards (n.d) CLT created a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement when, first appeared as a new approach to language teaching in the 1970s and 1980s. So it is understandable that CLT has changed a lot of things in the field of language teaching. As I mentioned before the “Traditional Approach” was a set of grammar rules, therefore it had a principal goal which is called “Grammar Competence”. Grammar Competence is full filled with rule’s grammar, creating sentences based on grammar, communicating with rules, whereby the feeling of natural language was absent. As a result professors of language thought that there can something more than “Grammar Competence”, and there as a principal goal of Communicative Language Teaching is “Communicative Competence”. “Communicative Competence” which is at the heart of our understanding of CLT plays a very important role in function of CLT. CLT needs Communicative Competence in order to be useful and cannot work without it.
â-Why Communicative Competence is so important for CLT
-Communicative Competence is a relative not absolute, and it depends from the cooperation of participants, their involvement, and so on.
There are four aspects of Communicative Competence:
Even that teaching “Grammar” is considering “boring” from students, we cannot avoid it, and grammar is principal thing of speech, communication, formal or informal written. However for me as a future teacher, I should find ways how to teach grammar without creating stress on students, or creating a boring class.
The second aspect of the Communicative Competence is “Discourse”. In this aspect can enter the intersentential (it means: email, conversations, communication).
-Social cultural elements.
The third aspect Communicative Competence is Social Cultural Elements. In this aspect is very attractive one this one includes interaction, context and students in the classroom. Practising social cultural elements than bringing in cultural things, and having students practising it, it means they have ability to communicate on natural context.
Strategic Competence goes beyond the classroom instruction, by using strategies and learning by mistakes students can communicate easily, can learn different ways of expressions.
Also Accuracy and Fluency activities play very important role in Communicative Competence; their balance is the true model of Communicative Competence.
Communicative Learning Teaching uses these four components of Communicative Competence in order to function successfully in process of teaching and in learning. Communicative Language Teaching involves different kinds of classroom activities that gives students opportunity to see natural language and real communication that promotes learning.
As we saw in the chapter I CLT is to full fill needs of teachers and students in process of teaching and learning a foreign language. Through CLT we learn in natural way a foreign language. This can be realized through activities that CLT has.
CLT – Activities are very helpful in EFL classes, they manages to create” a comfortable” atmosphere in classroom, they can raise the motivation of students, through them teachers can find many easily ways to teach a foreign language, even if they have in plan to teach grammar or something that seems a bit complicated.
â-I want to highlight two important classroom activities of CLT:
According to Richards (n.d) one of the goals that CLT is to develop fluency in language use. Fluency is basically formed by classroom activities in which students use communication strategies, they learn by doing or practising things or by finding weakness point and works on them in order to eliminate. On other hand we have “Accuracy” that is distinct from “Fluency”. According to Richards (n.d) accuracy focuses on the formation of correct examples of language, it does not require meaningful communication and the choice of language is controlled. So seeing the characteristics between of Fluency and Accuracy I can say that in fluency activities students feel freer in using a foreign language, because the process of fluency it gives opportunity to all students to communicate in foreign language, students learn by practising things, they can correct themselves while communicating. Whereas in Accuracy students are under the control of teacher, here the rules of strategies are strict than in Fluency, and this may cause a great stress on students, so teachers should take care how they use such activities. Neither Fluency nor Accuracy is less or more important than the other, they should be treated in the same way. They are equal components in classroom. For example if a teacher uses fluency activities, and finds some grammatical mistakes on students than can use accuracy activities to work on those mistakes. Likewise can happen the opposite first to use accuracy activities than those rules of grammar (words formation, tenses, passive voice, etc) to apply in fluency activities to see if students have understood it. So none accuracy or fluency can work without each other, they are linked together, and cannot be separated. To function in the right way both accuracy and fluency I have noticed some steps that should be taken into the account before we want to realize these kind of activities.
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â-The role of teacher and students in classroom.
Teachers play an important role in classroom. They should be prepared well to be in front of students. Teachers should plan things, lessons, and activities before they go to the class, or contrary they should be flexible in order to change things if the plan is not working. Teachers should be a facilitator in classroom, should be there whenever students have needs or have questions. Teachers should undertake a lot of things in order to grow self-confidence and values on students. All these things cannot be realized just by teachers also the participation of students is very important. Students should be ready to collaborate, to come prepared in school; they should do their duties or homework given by teacher. They should be collaborative with other classmates, not to work just by themselves, to be helpful with others and so on. If teachers wants to apply fluency or accuracy activities should think before about other things like: Breaking the routine/ Sitting arrangements
-None likes the routine especially students, they get bored if teacher focuses only in grammar (sentence formation, tenses, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.), teachers should take care how to organize things lessons, to divide them in order to eliminate “a routine” to make things more enthusiastic and fun. On other hand students might get out of control and then the sense of learning will lose its purpose.
â-Seating arrangements can be one of the principal elements if teachers want to apply certain activities, if they want to change somehow the atmosphere in class, and to break the routine. I want to represent three kinds of seating arrangements which I consider basically and other seating arrangements can flow from these three seating arrangements.
-In the first figure we can see the usually seating arrangements “Seating in rows”.
“Seating in row” is very usually arrangement, so as you can see the figure there can be seat one students or two in one desk it depends on the number of students in class. Students are in front with a teacher, the class is more quite with this seating arrangement. This seating arrangement can perfectly function if there is any activity for example working individually or if there are two students in one desk they can work in pairs. The technique “Think-Pair-Share” can be useful in “Seating in row”. Teacher can give a target for example “What is a weather today” first they think individually and then they pair with each other and at the end they can share their discussion with the class.
-In next figure is the other seating arrangement and very commonly used “Group Work”
With “Group” seating arrangement a lot of CLT activities can be realized, if there are any game activities that need more than two students or any collaborative work “group seating” is the best one. In this seating arrangement the class should be divided in five or six group which contain by four or five students, it depends on the number of students. Teacher should control all the time students if they are working or having any difficulties because using this kind of seating arrangement in the class there can be a lot of noise and students might be out of the control. Group seating it gives opportunity to students to be interactive to be collaborative to correct each other, to create friendship with other classmates, and so on.
In the third figure we have the third seating arrangement called “Horseshoe” in addition is my favourite seating arrangement.
I consider the “Horseshoe” seating more favourable because none is in the centre ,all are treated equal and everyone can see each other without leaving anyone else aside. Through “Horseshoe” there can be developed a lot of debated, discussions, everyone feel free to talk and like this fluency activities can be realized. Regarding to my experience in the primary or secondary school when we used this kind of seating the words started to flow itself, because the atmosphere that is created it pushes you to communicate in foreign language without noticing it.
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