My teaching approach
First I will outline
some charactaristics of The Communicative language teaching approach.
Then I will compare
and contrast The Grammar Translation Method, The Direct Method and The
Audio-lingual Method to The Communicative approach.
And Finally I will
discuss how The three methods can be used to create a communicative lesson.
The focus of The Communicative
Approach is interaction and learning to communicate a message. Reading and
writing is aquired naturally when the students have learned to speak the
language. There is an emphasis on learning to communicate in real life
situations and to be aware of the social context such as whether your talking
to your boss in the office or to a friend. Authenthic topics are used and the
use of authenthic language is important. Grammar is only taught in context and
errors are tolerated as part of the
natural process of learning a language . This is the way children aquire a
The goal of the
student is to be able to communicate naturally in authenthic social situations.
Language Teaching the role of the teacher is very different from traditional
teaching methods. The teacher is not an authoritative figure but a facilitator
or mediator who allows the students to be in focus and then guides and
instructs the activities in the classroom. The teacher job is to create a
relaxing and encouraging enviroment for the students.
The Grammar Translation
Method is a traditional approach to teaching. It is taught in the students
first language and translating text and words is part of the learning process.
In The Communicative Approach everything is communicated in the target language
and there is no translation into the first language. The Grammar Translation
Method Emphasises on the written word
unlike the Communicative Approach which focuses on the spoken word. In
communicative teaching reading and writing skills are secondary and are
expected to come naturally once the student has learned to speak the target
language. The grammar is usually taught through elaborate explanation and out
of context. Vocabulary is taught in the form of lists of isolated words which
is to be memorised. There is almost no attention to the pronunciation of the
words. The teacher is in charge of the classroom.
Translation Method focuses on memorising and translating words and texts and
there is very little attention to the content. Students learn about the
language but not how to use it.
In The Communicative Approach the content and
the context is very important because the goal for the student is to be able to
use the language in real life situations.
The Direct Method was
created as a reaction against the traditional teaching practises of The Grammar
Translation Method. The Direct Method unlike the Grammar Translation Method
only uses the Target language in class, no translation is allowed. The Method prioritice
vocabulary over grammar. Similar to the Communicative Approach the focus is on
the spoken word but unlike the Commuicative Approach writing is ephasised at
the begining of the course. The students
are encouraged to think in the Target
language and to be actively involved in using the language in realistic
In both The Direct Method and The
Communicative Approach teachers uses a lot of realia such as pictures, cards,
games ad other aids to stimulate the learning process.
Method like the Direct Method and the Communicative Approach teaches the
students in the target language but unlike the other two it focuses on grammar
patterns rather than Vocabulary. The method depends on repitition and memorisation
of set phrases to reinforce learning. It prevents students from making mistakes
by teaching structural patterns through repetitive drills.
The method unlike,
The Direct Method and Communicative Approach, teaches a complete dialoge
through sentences of fixed questions and answers. There is a strong focus on pronunciation and
an immediate reinforcement of the correct responses.
The teacher is a role model to be copied. The
teacher tells the student how to say a sentence and the student have to copy
it. In The Direct Method and The communitative approach students are encouraged
to come up with the answers themselves.
lesson is about getting the students to communicating and interacting with others in the target language. The
teacher needs to create an environment where the students feel comfortable
enough to practise their speaking skill. In the Communicative Approach the
teachers accomplice this by sitting at the same table as the students with
everyone facing each other. They are not standing at a desk or blackboard. In
the traditional teaching methods the teacher is the authoritative figure, but
in the communicative lesson everyone is on the same level.
Translation Method of teaching students in their first language and translating
words and texts gives the students an understanding of the language it does not
teach them how to use it in real life situations. Memorising words and writing
texts does no teach the students to speak. The Grammar Translation Method and
the Audio-lingual Method does not give students the opportunity to produce
their own sentences it is given to them by the teacher.
In the Communicative
lesson the students have to figure out their own answers which will help them
when they have to use the language in a real situation.
In the Communicative
lesson the use of authenthic material
and focus on realistic everyday situations helps the students understand and
use the aquired language in a social context.
If you only teach the
students fixed sentences and grammar isolated from the social context then the
students will not learn to adapt to different real life situations. The
students will only be able to ask and answer with the sentences they have been
given by the teacher.
translation Method and the Audio-lingual method does not give the students the
tools to improvise in the target language. The goal of the communicative
student is to be able to interact with
other people in any given situation.
The structures of The
Grammar Translation Method and the Audio-lingual Method can be useful at a
beginners level when the students need to have some basic grammatical knowlegde
to get them started with their target language. And it can be useful for the
student to learn a few fixed sentences to get them started with their spoken
language. But when they progress they will need to learn more than a few
memorised sentences. The methods can
also be useful if the goal of the student is to learn just enough to get by on
a their holiday. The Methods are not sufficiently effective in teaching
communication skills at a higher level.
The Direct Method is
quite similar in many ways to The Communicative approach. The focus of both is
on the spoken language and the students are encouraged to think for themselves
they are not given the answers. The Direct Method and The Communicative
approach both teaches the students to interact in simulations of real life
situation. The practice of grammar and vocabulary are taught in context. This is a much more efficient way of learning
to communicate in a foreign language. The only way to learn to speak a language
is to practice it. In real life you do not know what people will say when you
talk to them and you might not be able to use the answers your teacher gave
you. The ability to understand the language and how to use it is important when
you find yourself in a unexpected situation. Perfect grammar and pronunciation
is not essential. The most important thing is to understand and be understood.