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Topic 13

HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF DIDACTICS OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES: FROM THE GRAMMAR TRANSLATION METHODS TO CURRENT APPROACHES 0. INTRODUCTION 1. EVOLUTION OF METHODS AND APPROACHES Grammar Translation Direct Method Audiolingual Method Chomskys Revolution Total Physical Response Suggestopedia Other Humanistic Methods Lexical Approach Natural Approach 2. THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH Critiques 3. CONCLUSION 4. BIBLIOGRAPHY 0. INTRODUCTION Why are some teachers more successful than others? Why are some students in the same classroom, exposed to the same teachings, more successful than others? These are the questions that have plagued those in the field of education for centuries. It is not because there are no answers to these questions; it is because there is a multitude of answers, most of which cannot be proven right or wrong. Teachers are often left with the responsibility of deciding for themselves what is right for them in their given situation, and effective teachers have spent hours outside of the classroom reflecting on this very question. What serious 2nd language teachers actually do in the classroom should be determined by their beliefs about language and 2nd language acquisition. Beliefs about language and how 2nd languages are learned together form an approach to teaching. We, as teachers, should be aware of the different methods, in order to find the most appropriate for our learners needs and circumstances. It is sometimes necessary to adopt an eclectic approach in which different methods are selected. We also have to bear in mind that, there is scientific evidence which supports the new (communicative) method: theories of language and theories of learning In this topic, we will make a review of the different methods and approaches, and we will have a look at their advantages and disadvantages. 1. EVOLUTION OF METHODS AND APPROACHES GRAMMAR TRANSLATION This is the oldest of all teaching methods, having been used in ancient Greece and Rome. By the 18th century in Europe, this method had become very popular.

The first languages taught in modern classroom settings were Latin and Greek. The purpose of learning these languages was primarily to learn their grammars. The grammar-translation approach viewed language as a descriptive set of finite rules that, once learned, gave access to the language. A grammar-translation syllabus consisted of two components: grammar and lexical items. These were presented to the learner according to their perceived degree of difficulty. Richards and Rogers list the syllabus components: -The main goal of learning the language is to be able to read its literature. -Reading and writing are the main focus. -Vocabulary is taught through translation. -The method focuses on translating sentences into and out of the L2. -Accuracy is important, as all learning leads to an exam. -Grammar is taught deductively. -The L1 is the medium of instruction. Listening is not mentioned at all in the preceding description of the grammartranslation approach. The only listening that students would have to do would be to listen to a description of the rules of the second language (L2) in the first language (L1). As a result, if/when the L2 was used, the focus of any listening would have been on translation of lexical items or grammar structures. One reason for the lack of any real listening in the grammar-translation approach was that students were learning dead languages, so the purpose in learning those languages was to be able to translate and read literature, and not to communicate. Another reason was that the teachers of Latin and Greek had no training in how to teach listening. And in the early days of language teaching, there were no electronic means of recording. In American universities prior to World War II, the learning of foreign languages held little importance. This was a direct result of a study which was conducted in the US in the 1920s which culminated in what is known as the Coleman Report. The report concluded that it was impractical to try to teach American university students oral foreign languages in the time available, and that universities should switch to a focus on reading skills, which led to a return to Grammar-Translation. The implied message behind such a method is that pure language is the written word, and in fact this was the common belief at the time. Further implying that spoken language is an impure or more primitive form of language. In actuality, the purpose of such language courses was not to teach a language in the sense of gaining communicative competence, but to benefit from the intellectual activity of translating scholarly texts, or in the words of W.H.D. Rouse, to know everything about something rather than the thing itself. Following this approach, the role of the teacher is that of a strict authority, whereas the students are only passive receivers of the new information. There are many aspects criticisable regarding this method: -Sentences are disconnected from real life -Grammar analysis is confusing -Oral skills do not exist -It involves too much memorizing, and no motivation

DIRECT METHOD The direct-method approach to language teaching came about as a reaction to the grammar-translation. Whereas grammar-translation was organized around a step-by-step method of learning the rules of a language, often through the use of the first language, the direct-method was based on the idea that learners can best learn what is natural to them and that an aural/oral system of teaching them was appropriate for this purpose. This aural/oral method relied for its effectiveness on the lone use of L2. According to Richards and Rogers, its principles are: -Classroom instruction was conducted exclusively in the target language. -Only everyday vocabulary and sentences were taught. -Oral communication skills were built up in a carefully graded progression organized around question-and-answer exchanges between teachers and students in small, intensive classes. -Grammar was taught inductively. -New teaching points were introduced orally. -Concrete vocabulary was taught through demonstration, objects, and pictures; abstract vocabulary was taught through association of ideas. -Both speech and listening comprehension were taught. -Correct pronunciation and grammar were emphasized. Gottlieb Heness and Lambert Sauveur were two of the first teachers to adopt the direct-method in their teaching in the late nineteenth century in the United States. They opened a language school to teach German and French using a system similar to that described earlier. They did not use course books. It was adopted and made popular by Maximilian Berlitz (18521921), who founded a chain of language schools, prepared teaching materials, and had the native-speaker instructors in the schools use a direct-method approach in teaching the students. The idea behind what was called the Berlitz method was that it was simple, systematic, ordered, and replicable It appears that the direct-method approach truly focused on teaching listening skills first and other skills later. However, it seems that although the target language was used for all purposes in the classroom, there was no systematic attempt at teaching listening or at developing listening strategies in the learners. The teacher assumed that the students could hear what was being said and that comprehension would follow later. A second problem with this approach is that although it seemed to be effective at encouraging low-level learners to make use of the target language, it was a difficult method to use above intermediate level, as the complexities of the language became too challenging for the approach. For instance, as grammar had to be learned inductively, learners wasted a lot of time trying to work out complex rules for themselves, and teachers who could speak the learners L1 wasted time trying to convey abstract meaning using only the L2, when a simple translation would have been more efficient. Another drawback is the fact that it is only useful working with small groups. The direct method has had a significant effect on English language teaching over the past 100 years, and many of the methods that followed it contained some elements of the direct method, most notably the communicative method.

AUDIOLINGUAL METHOD A need for personnel skilled in oral languages during World War II prompted the government to commission universities and applied linguists to develop a training program which could quickly and effectively train foreign aural/oral language skills The method developed involved a trained linguist, a native speaker and the language learner. The linguist was trained to elicit common language structures from the native speaker which were then studied by the language learner. This method was modified and used by the government in what became known as the Army Method. The students were highly motivated and received many hours of intense training and the Army method received quite a lot of positive press and some impressive results. At the same time, Behaviourist psychology was being applied to education in general. It states that all behaviour including communication is the result of habit formation. It must be stressed that the underlying mindset or philosophy of the time absolutely refused to consider as relevant anything that could not be verified or falsified by empirical means, through the senses. As Freeman Twaddell clearly illustrates The scientific method is quite simply the convention that mind does not exist. Thus the design of language teaching methods which follow logically from such an approach will operate on the assumption that the learner contributes nothing to the learning experience, except for previously acquired and observable behaviours which can be built upon in the construction of more complex behaviours. When the Army method was combined with Behaviourist psychology the result was the Audio-Lingual Method, which was said to transform language teaching from an art into a science, as it had a strong foundation from both linguistic research and psychology. In Charles Fries (its linguistic theorist) structural view, language is speech, what people say, not the written word, for the obvious reasons that children learn to speak long before they learn to read and write, and that some languages of the world have no written form. This view was a break from the traditional view which assumed that written text was pure language and that verbal language was a primitive imperfect form of the written word. Fries also advocated that grammar is a description of language not a prescription for language, thus correct language is the way we speak. However, Fries rejected approaches that exposed students to large amounts of input to meaningful language, believing that the basic sentence patterns are the foundation and key to language learning which must be isolated and presented using only enough vocabulary necessary to illustrate the structures and patterns. B.F. Skinner supplied the theory of learning for the Audio-Lingual Method. In 1957 Skinner published his book Verbal Behaviour, in which he applied his behaviourist theories specifically to the learning of languages. Skinner concluded that verbal behaviour was in no important way different from other forms of behaviour, so that language needs no knew principles to explain it and it should be taught in the same way as non-verbal behaviours. In 1964, Nelson Brook, who coined the term Audio-Lingualism, outlined some of the basic objectives he felt should be incorporated in the method. He stated that the long-term objectives should include native-like communication, and to achieve this, the short term objectives should centre on training in listening comprehension and accurate pronunciation. These objectives lead to the more specific objectives of a competence in the languages forms, structure and order, and knowledge of enough vocabulary to give meaning to the structures.

Syllabuses used in the Audio-Lingual method reflected the objectives in that their content was linguistically based on language structures. In the words of Richards and Rogers, learning a language, it was assumed, entails mastering the elements or building blocks of the language and learning the rules by which these elements are combined, from phoneme to morpheme to word to phrase to sentence. It was felt that vocabulary would be picked up later. Language skills were presented in the order of listening, speaking, reading then writing. However, students would not be encouraged to read patterns until they had been mastered orally. Structure was everything; meaning was too closely related to mentalist concepts which were to be avoided at all costs. There was a strict control of the material, whose role was to help the teacher guide the students toward language mastery. In early stages, there was often no student text in order to allow the students to gain some mastery of listening and speaking before being presented with the printed word. When a text was provided it included the dialogues, patterns and vocabulary necessary. Tapes were also used both to provide modelling and controlled practice. An Audio-lingual lesson was the epitome of a teacher-controlled classroom; the teacher served as model, controlled the direction of learning, and provided feedback in the form of correction or reinforcement. Accuracy in pronunciation and grammar was considered essential in an Audio-Lingual classroom so the teacher had to be a native or near-native speaker in order to be able to model the language accurately. The role of the student was a fairly passive one. The students role was to be a responder to stimulus. At the beginning level the student was merely an imitator and comprehension of the imitated language was not considered essential. Since learning a new language was thought of as learning new habits, the students spoke only in the target language and only when and what the teacher requested them to speak. The Audio-Lingual method was not evolutionary; it was revolutionary, bringing together new principles, methods and techniques to the process of language teaching. During its peak, it was felt that this method would ultimately change the act of 2nd language teaching into a precise science, and that if any student failed to learn it could not be the failure of the method itself, it must be the result of improper implementation of the method. The decline of the methods popularity in the 1960s was the result of attacks on two fronts, its results and its theory. Despite the welcome this scientific method received in the language teaching community, the students trained using the method were not happy. Although they were able to reproduce many phrases and sentences, they were generally unable to transfer these capabilities to the real world. When faced with actual communication, they found themselves unable to understand or make themselves understood. In addition, the techniques students were forced to use, memorization and drill, were boring and repetitive, leaving the students frustrated and disappointed. Other drawbacks are the need for a fluent teacher required, and the little exposure to spontaneous speech CHOMSKYS REVOLUTION The Audio-Lingualism theory of learning bears the greatest responsibility for its downfall. Skinners optimism that learning a second language was no different than any other form of learning was unsustainable. Something of a revolution in linguistics took place in the late 1950s after Noam Chomsky published a review of Skinners Verbal Behaviour. In his review he introduced the idea that language structure, was largely

innate and that the brain is pre-wired for language acquisition. Furthermore, in this context, all languages are universal and they do not vary widely as was assumed by the Structural Linguists. With this in mind, Chomsky claimed that language learning could not be a process of habit formation, with the strongest evidence coming from what is now known as the poverty of stimulus which means that we are unable to account for all of the language structures that a child uses through the language exposure they receive; they perform behaviours that have never been modelled. In the words of Brown, a theory based on conditioning and reinforcement is hard-pressed to explain the fact that every sentence you speak or write -with a few trivial exceptions- is novel, never before uttered either by you or by anyone else! These novel utterances are nevertheless created by the speaker and processed by the hearer. Chomsky argued that our language offers an infinite amount of creative expressions through the use of a finite lexicon and phonology, which cannot be accounted for with a behaviourist theory of language acquisition, and whats more it cannot be investigated using a purely empiricist philosophy; we cannot understand language unless we concede that there is a mind and that there are processes taking place which cannot be perceived through the senses. Not all linguists immediately agreed with Chomskys assertions, but no one could ignore the evidence that a behaviourist learning theory could not adequately account for language acquisition. It was not total recapitulation, attempts were made to broaden the behaviourist learning theory to include concepts such as meaning, but the attempts all had to resort to unobservable processes taking place within a mind. The loss of Audio-Lingualism left 2nd language teaching in a state of crisis, because although Chomsky and others were able to convincingly dismiss behaviourist learning theories for 1st language acquisition, it was still quite unclear how these conclusions related to 2nd language learning, leaving educators with no model of learning. The fact that children do not need to be taught their first language but merely by exposure universally gain competence demonstrates that we are dealing with two different forms of learning; either the learning mechanisms available at that young age have been lost, or through interference or other factors the acquisition of one language somehow inhibits the acquisition of another. The greatest contribution from the crises was that it convinced many in the community of language researchers to realise that, regarding language, empiricist philosophy does not work. A rationalist approach began to be used, as rationalism has explanatory power, to answer the question of why a specific behaviour takes place. It implies much richer answers, but also that the strength of our arguments and cannot be affirmed or falsified by objective measurement. As would be expected from such a paradigm shift, a multitude of new language teaching theories and methods were spawned after the 60s, each proclaiming to be the most effective, and also as would be expected, each failing to completely live up to expectations. The principles of these approaches called humanistic, are: -Development of human values -Growth in a self awareness and understanding -Sensitivity to human feelings and emotions -Active subject involvement in learning and in the way learning takes place (this leads to consider that some methods are student-centred, in which the individual takes part setting goals and objectives. The teacher roles are as an advisor, helper)

TOTAL PHYSICAL RESPONSE James Asher felt that 2nd language learning paralleled that of 1st language, so we can refer to his approach as a Natural Approach in that some of his techniques are an attempt to make the 2nd language learning environment as close as possible to the language environment experienced when learning the first. Its 2 main principles are: -listening should be learned before speaking. -children learn language by physically responding to it. His studies showed that the speech children are exposed to is often in the form of commands in which the child is expected to respond physically. He felt that once listening competence was attained, speech would come naturally. These principles indicate that language is in a sense innate, in that there is an optimal sequence to language learning determined biologically. This is the foundation of the method Asher developed based on his theory about the relation between brain lateralization and learning. It is well documented that language functions are located in the left hemisphere of the brain, through but the right hemisphere controls our physical behaviour. Most language learning approaches direct teaching to the left hemisphere, but Asher theorized that the right hemisphere must be activated first so that the left hemisphere learns from the right hemisphere activity. This is partially based on Piagets works whose studies on children indicated that they learn through motor activity. In addition, Asher observed that language learning in children was a non-selfconscious, low stress phenomenon, so attempts to help the learner revert back to this child-like state would lead to more effective acquisition. In Ashers writings we see the beginnings of the concept of an affective filter, which has the ability to block language acquisition. Simply put, the more stress, the less acquisition, so the methods involved must be designed in such a way as to lower the filters blocking abilities. TPRs main objective is to develop communicative competence in beginning language learners. Although much of the teaching is focused on listening skills the true objective is oral competence, which would follow naturally, as would grammar The role of a learner in a TPR classroom is to listen and respond, physically respond. The teacher gives commands to the students which become more and more complex as the learning progresses. The teachers role is to plan the lessons around the commands that will be used, and to direct and control the learning. The teacher must also pay attention to affective factors, by trying to make the lessons fun and playful, and the students are not expected to speak until they feel ready. Materials are an essential part of the TPR lesson, used in conjunction with the commands to introduce and practice vocabulary and behaviour. The specific techniques used depend on the students level, but with beginners a teacher could have all of the students sitting in their seats, then give them a command to Stand up. At first the teacher will model the behaviour and when the students begin to catch on have them practice individually and together. As the lessons progress, as was stated earlier, the commands become more complex. As students begin to speak they take the role of the teacher giving commands to other students, but always after the commands have been introduced by the teacher and learned by the students. As the commands become more and more complex, the students are encouraged to make novel combinations

Although the use of TPR has declined since the 1980s many teachers incorporate TPR activities into their lessons. TPRs focus on meaning rather than structure, and the attention it pays to affective factors keep it in somewhat of the mainstream of modern language teaching, but the constraints put on the lessons through the prescriptive use of imperatives reduces its usefulness, and even Asher himself concluded that TPR should be used as an addition to other teaching methods. SUGGESTOPEDIA Continuing with the designer methods of the 70s and 80s we will next look at Suggestopedia, a method designed by the Bulgarian psychiatrist Georgi Lozanov. He was not a linguist, so it is not surprising that his approach focuses on psychology. Through the use of music and brightly coloured classrooms, Lozanovs goal is to access the learners unconscious ability to assimilate information quickly. The classroom environment is designed to unlock this unconscious state in a way that roughly parallels hypnosis, using the power of suggestion. Learner success hinges on learner confidence in the method; his basic philosophy seems to be that if the students think that the method is effective it will be, almost as if the content of the method itself is irrelevant. The goal of the method is quick conversational proficiency, which is accomplished through the memorization of vocabulary words paired with the students native language. The lexical focus of the lessons suggests that Lozanov believes that language is a database of memorized words, although he denies this stating that his method focuses on communication. The teachers role is central, in that it is the teachers responsibility to create the optimal environment for learning to take place, and to follow the method precisely for the presentation of material. As with TPR, there is a sense that the teacherstudent relationship should model that of a parent and child. The student has a passive role and is encouraged not to try to think too deeply about the techniques used; not to try to figure out why they are being used; just to surrender. The materials also are essential, using music and colourful classroom fixtures to create the proper psychological state, and prepared dialogues in both the native and target language to introduce vocabulary. The lessons are organized over the course of 30 days in which 10 dialogues are presented. Before presenting of new units, activities take place, which include role-plays and question-answer sessions to prepare students for new materials. The teacher along, with the accompaniment of taped music, reads the dialogues as the students silently follow along in their books. The texts contain the dialogues both in the native and target language. Students are asked not to study the material outside of the classroom, but to read it quickly once before going to bed and once upon waking up the next morning. Suggestopedia has been described as pop-psychology, because of its claims to unlock hidden abilities in the students minds. But Lozanov that the procedures air of science rather than the actual science itself is what makes it successful. Again we can see, as with TPR, the focus on the learners state of mind, but with Suggestopedia it seems that the pendulum has swung fully to the other side, making affective factors the only focus at the loss of a language learning theory. But again as with TPR there are elements of the design that could be incorporated to lessons.

OTHER HUMANISTIC METHODS -The Silent way, by Gattegno (1972). There is more silence than usual in the course of the lesson. The teacher is silent. In the first lesson, the teacher introduces a small target vocabulary to talk about, a set of coloured rods using a few verbs (to take, to give, to pick up and to put), adjectives, pronouns, nouns and gradually extends the length of the sentence. Other communicative language forms are developed. The learner becomes self reliant to select their own sentences and to be in control of them with good intonation and rhythm. -The Community language learning, by Charles Curran: Its main aim is to foster strong personal links between the teacher, as counsellor, and the learners, as clients, and eliminate whatever is found threatening in the foreign language situation. There are no prepared materials. The learner speaks naturally in its language and seeks from the teacher foreign language equivalents for what they want to say. Each session is tape recorded and followed by a discussion with the teacher about what went on. -The Language from within, by B. Galyean. It encourages the learner to be introspective about his own needs, interests, values and favourite activities, and to talk about these emotional responses to others. The materials come from the students. LEXICAL APPROACH This approach concentrates on developing learners' proficiency with lexis, or words and word combinations. It is based on the idea that an important part of language acquisition is the ability to comprehend and produce lexical phrases as unanalyzed wholes, or "chunks," and that these chunks become the raw data by which learners perceive patterns of language traditionally thought of as grammar (Lewis, 1993). Instruction focuses on relatively fixed expressions that occur frequently, such as "I'm sorry," "That will never happen to me" rather than on originally created sentences. Michael Lewis, who coined the term lexical approach, suggests the following: -Lexis is the basis of language. -Lexis is misunderstood in language teaching because of the assumption that grammar is the basis of language and that mastery of the grammatical system is a prerequisite for effective communication. -The key principle of a lexical approach is that "language consists of grammaticalized lexis, not lexicalized grammar." -One of the central organizing principles of the syllabus should be lexis. Turning a Lexical Approach into an actual method is somewhat problematic, but several attempts have been made, such as the Collins COBUILD. The role of the teacher in most methods which focus on lexical items is that of provider of input in the form of teacher-talk, or the provider of a classroom environment where the learner can discover collocations through the use of texts or computer software. The materials are essential in a lexical method, in that they must provide opportunities for the student to be exposed to large amounts of language input. Techniques vary but they typically involve the use of activities that draw students attention to lexical collocations and seek to enhance their retention and use of collocations. And also, they typically are centred on the student as discourse analyst.

NATURAL APPROACH It is similar to the first two examples in that it is based on an approach to language learning, in this case developed by Stephen Krashen. Actually, the method is a collaboration between him and Tracy Terrell. It is based on the assumption that L2 should be taught in a naturally way that reflects how children acquire their first language. It has got inspiration from the works of Rousseau, Comenius and Pestalozzi. Krashen developed five hypotheses that clearly illustrate his approach to language learning. -The Acquisition-Learning hypothesis differentiates between learning and acquisition. In Krashens view learning is a conscious effort of study and analysis, but acquisition is a natural unconscious act, with both systems being autonomous -The Monitor hypothesis holds that the language we have learned, not acquired, can be used as a monitor or editor for applying what we have learned to what we have acquired at the point of production or reception, but the monitor is slow and communication is fast so it cannot possibly be used while keeping fluency. However, it can be used for correction when fluency is not essential such as in reading or writing. -The Natural Order hypothesis states that language has a natural order of acquisition that cannot be altered artificially. -The Input hypothesis, applies to acquisition, not learning and it states that for acquisition to take place the input must be slightly above the current level of the student. This is not a new idea, as can be seen in Vygotskys theory of a zone of proximal development -The Affective Filter hypothesis, states that the students emotional state can block acquisition, so that a low affective filter is desirable for maximum acquisition to take place. If true, the hypothesis could at least partially explain the difficulty adolescents and adults have in picking up a new language. These 5 hypotheses determine the design of lessons. Obviously the focus will be on high amounts of input slightly above the learners present competence level, the use of comprehension aids (pictures, realia), lessons designed to reduce stress and little emphasis on production skills. This approach is designed for building a beginning level of competence, focusing on the students needs, which will determine the syllabus used during instruction. The syllabus also has to lower the affective filter and will always be structured around communication needs, and not grammatical structure. The role of the learner in a Natural Approach classroom is to provide the teacher with his needs, develop comprehension techniques to maximize input and to decide when to begin speaking. The teacher must respond to the students needs, help them develop comprehension techniques and not pressure the student to speak until they are ready. He must provide challenging input in a relaxed atmosphere by using a rich mixture of activities. Materials used have the specific function of ensuring comprehensible input. Pictures and realia are an important part of them. Activities borrowed from other methods can be used as is, or modified to a Natural Approach, like Total Physical Response for beginning level. The drawbacks are the need for a fluent teacher and small groups.

2. THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH Chomskys ideas were followed and annotated by other educators and linguists who had also grown dissatisfied with the audio-lingual and grammar-translation, such as Hymes, Austin and Searle. Hymes thought that Chomsky had missed out some very important information, such as the Rules of Use. When a native speaks, he does not only utter grammatically correct forms, he also knows where and when to use the sentences and to whom. For Hymes the Communicative Competence had four aspects: 1) Systematic Potential: This means that a native speaker possesses a system that has a potential for creating a lot of language. This is similar to Chomskys competence. 2) Appropriacy: This means that the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation, according to: setting, participants, purposes, channel and topic. 3) Occurrence: This means that the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts accordingly. 4) Feasibility: This means that a native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language. They felt that students were not learning enough realistic, whole language. They did not know how to communicate using appropriate social language, gestures, or expressions; in brief, they were at a loss to communicate in the culture of the language studied. Interest in the development of communicative-style teaching raised in the 70s. In the intervening years, the communicative approach has been adapted to all levels, and the underlying philosophy has spawned different teaching methods known under a variety of names, including notional-functional, teaching for proficiency, proficiency-based instruction, and communicative language teaching. Communicative teaching makes use of real-life situations that require communication. The teacher sets up a situation that students are likely to encounter in real life. Unlike the audio-lingual method, which relies on drills, the communicative approach can leave students in suspense as to the outcome of an exercise, which will vary according to their responses. The real-life simulations change from day to day. Students' motivation comes from their desire to communicate in meaningful ways. In the words of Margie S. Berns, "language is interaction; it is interpersonal activity and has a clear relationship with society. In this light, language study has to look at the use (function) of language in context, both its linguistic context (what is uttered before and after a given piece of discourse) and its social, or situational, context (who is speaking, what their social roles are, why they have come together to speak)" Teachers in communicative classrooms will find themselves talking less and listening more, becoming active facilitators of their students' learning (LarsenFreeman, 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. 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).

CRITIQUES Through the years, some authors have criticised the Communicative Approach (Swan -1985-, Bax -2003-). It often seems to be interpreted as if the teacher understands the student we have good communication. What can happen though is that a teacher from the same region as his pupils understands them when they make errors resulting from first language influence. Problem with this is that regular speakers of the target language can have great difficulty understanding them. This observation asks to rethink and adapt the communicative approach. The adapted communicative approach should be a simulation where the teacher pretends to understand only that what any regular speaker of the target language would, and should react accordingly. 3. CONCLUSION Looking back through the developments in language teaching we can see that there is no consensus as we had in the days of the Audio-Lingual method, but the major trend is toward a communicative view of language rather than language as segmented structures and rules. The emphasis has shifted to meaning and authentic interaction. Language skills are much more likely to be taught in integrated lessons rather than separated and individually. The choices a teacher makes will be greatly influenced by real-life classroom situations, and not solely by abstract theories and assumptions developed in the insulated world of academia. Chomsky contends that linguistics is the study of an idealized human being, in an idealized world, not affected by the frustrations and vagaries of life. But the teacher of language does not operate in an idealized world. Linguists are concerned with developing coherent models of language and psychologists are concerned with doing the same for learning, but as language teachers we cannot afford to be specialists and must concern ourselves with both issues. 4. BIBLIOGRAPHY BREWSTER, J., ELLIS, G. & GIRARD, D. The Primary English Teacher's Guide. Penguin. (1992) BROWN, H.D. Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. Pearson (2000) CHOMSKY, N. Language and Responsibility. (1979) CHOMSKY, N. Reflections on Language. The New Press (1975) CRYSTAL, D. The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language. Cambridge (1987) HARMER, J. The Practise of English Language Teaching. Longman (1983) RICHARDS, J. C. & RODGERS, T.S. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge (2005) WIDOWSON, H. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford (1983)

TOPIC 14
METHODS AND TECHNIQUES THAT FOCUS ON THE ACQUISITION OF COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCES. SPECIFIC METHODOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS FOR TEACHING ENGLISH 0. INTRODUCTION 1. THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH Theory of Language Theory of Learning Principles of a Communicative Methodology The Role of the Student The Role of the Teacher 2. METHODS FOCUSED ON COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE Direct Method Communicative Language Learning Multiple Approach The Silent Way Audiovisual Method Other Methods 3. TECHNIQUES BASED ON COMMUNICATIVE METHODS Basic Features Techniques Organizational Principles 4. SPECIFIC METHODOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS IN TEACHING ENGLISH 5. CONCLUSION 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY 0. INTRODUCTION In describing methods, the difference between a philosophy of language teaching at the theoretical level, and a set of procedures and techniques for teaching in the classroom, is central. The American linguist Edward Anthony proposed a clarifying scheme in 1963, which was revised and extended by Rogers and Richards (1986). Following both He identified three levels of conceptualization and organization: -Approach: a set of proposals and suggestions formed by a theory of language and a theory of language learning. It is axiomatic. -Method: based on the approach, it is the global plan for the presentation of language learning. It is the first level of putting theory into practice. It includes the skills and contents to be taught, and the order of presentation. -Techniques/Procedures: they are the practical materialization of the method, that is, the classroom procedures. Nowadays, the main aim of the methods is communication, and their lines of approaching are more linguistic and psychological than the traditional methods. In this topic, we will review the foundations of the communicative approach, some methods that are based on it and the characteristics of s syllabus that follows it.

1. THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH THEORY OF LANGUAGE Looking back to the 70s, there was then a widespread reaction against methods that stressed the teaching of grammatical forms and paid no attention to the way language is used in daily situations. It was Wilkins who tried to show that language was organized around 2 systems of meanings: -National categories: Meaning and concepts the learner needs in order to communicate (quantity, time, location) -Categories of communicative function: requesting, denying He said that the emphasis when teaching should be in the communicative competence. It should be our goal. The communicative approach in language teaching starts from a theory of language as communication. The goal of language teaching is to develop the communicative competence. Chomsky defined language as a set of sentences, each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements. An able speaker has subconscious knowledge of the grammar rules of his language which allows him to make sentences in that language. However, Dell Hymes thought that Chomsky had missed out some very important information, such as the Rules of Use. When a native speaks, he does not only utter grammatically correct forms, he also knows where and when to use the sentences and to whom. For Hymes the Communicative Competence had four aspects: 1) Systematic Potential: This means that a native speaker possesses a system that has a potential for creating a lot of language. This is similar to Chomskys competence. 2) Appropriacy: This means that the native speaker knows what language is appropriate in a given situation, according to: setting, participants, purposes, channel and topic. 3) Occurrence: This means that the native speaker knows how often something is said in the language and acts accordingly. 4) Feasibility: This means that a native speaker knows whether something is possible in the language. These four categories have been adapted for teaching purposes. Thus, the Royal Decree 1006/1991 of 14th June, which establishes the teaching requirements for Primary Education nation-wide, sees communicative competence as comprising five subcompetences: 1) Grammar Competence: The ability to put into practice the system of grammar rules by which a language operates. 2) Sociolinguistic Competence: The ability to produce appropriate utterances in different sociolinguistic contexts depending on contextual factors such as status of participants, purpose of the interaction.... 3) Sociocultural Competence: This is understood to be the knowledge of the social and cultural context in which the language is used.

4) Discourse Competence: The ability to produce unified written or spoken discourse that shows coherence and cohesion in different types of texts. 5) Strategic Competence: The ability to use verbal and non-verbal strategies to compensate for breakdowns in communication, or to improve the effectiveness of communication, as for example, the use of paraphrase, tone of voices or gestures. THEORY OF LEARNING The Communicative Learning Theory states that the goal of language teaching is communication, and also the other way round, the most effective way of learning a new language is by using it to communicate. Different learning theories may be found in communicative language methods, but all of them share three main points: -Communication: activities that involve communication promote learning. -Task: activities in which language is used for carrying out meaningful tasks promote learning. -Meaningfulness: language that is meaningful to the learner supports the learning process. Learning activities, are consequently selected according to how well they engage the learner in meaningful and authentic language use. It is interesting to state that the mere adoption of a functional syllabus does not directly lead to communicative teaching, as communication involves much more than a simply knowledge of forms, the most important of which being to show our students that they can use the language they learn in order to communicate. PRINCIPLES OF A COMMUNICATIVE METHODOLOGY The main Principles of a Communicative Methodology are: -1st Know what you are doing: Every lesson should be focused on learning how to do something -2nd The whole is more than the sum of its parts: There is no point on analysing features of a language with no communicative purpose. Generally speaking, that happens if we analyse below sentence level -3rd The processes are as important as the forms: The practice of the forms of the target language can take place within a communicative framework. Lessons tend to be more communicative if we use a variety of exercises, such as: >Information gap: It puts a student in a position to tell another one something he does not already know, which equals communication. It is a basic activity in communicative teaching, as it encourages interaction >Choice: The student he must be able to choose what he wants to say and the appropriate linguistic form >Feedback: There should be and aim in the minds of 2 students that interact -4th To learn it, do it: Only by practising communicative activities we can learn to communicate. -5th Mistakes are not always a mistake: There are two views in this regard:

>Some teachers allow trivial mistakes as long as the student gets the message across. The problem is that those mistakes are not always so trivial, and can destroy communication; this kind of mistakes on already learnt contents militate against communication >Students should be allowed to make mistakes when forced into activities they have not been prepared for, as they are not really mistakes, and trying to express something you are not quite sure how to say is a vital feature of using a foreign language THE ROLE OF THE STUDENT When using a communicative methodology, we should always take into account factors like our students knowledge, economic atmosphere, family, community, character, attitude, age or learning capacity. The student has to be responsible for his own learning, and be the centre of the teaching process. Putting the students into communicative situations should always be our focus. THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER The teacher has 2 main roles: -Facilitator: He facilitates the communication process between all the participants in the classroom and between the materials used and the participants. -Participant within the group We, as teachers, must know our students needs in order to respond to them, and it is important that our students feel they are learning something which they will be able to use beyond the borders of the class, in other contexts, with other people. 2. METHODS FOCUSED ON COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE DIRECT METHOD More of an approach than a method, it has its origin on Montaignes experiments in learning Latin. According to Blackie, every normal person can learn a language in favourable conditions, and a natural method should: >Appeal to ear >Appeal must be repeated >Direct relation between sound and thing needed >Excite attention of hearer This method rejects any use of the mother tongue, and is based on conversation, discussion and reading, with emphasis on spoken the form. When possible, meaning is established by direct association. It is eminently inductive. The main advantages are: >Students are exposed to the spoken language >Language controls the content and speed of a lesson >More immediate correction

>Modern and descriptive The drawbacks are: >Non-planed discourses can lead do confusion >Great demands on the learner to establish meaning >Excessive emphasis on phonetics >Grammatical rules, avoided here, help adult learners COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE LEARNING Its theory of language sees it as more of a system for communication, as it involves culture, educational and developmental processes. The learning involves the whole person, being a social process of growth, from child-like dependence to independence. There are no set objectives, apart from a near native mastery of the language, or syllabus, as it emerges from learners intentions and teachers reformations. Activities are a combination of innovative and conventional (translation, group work, recording, transcription, reflection and observation, listening or free conversation). There is no textbook, as it would inhibit growth. Materials are developed as the course progresses. The learners role is as a member of a community, and learning is considered as something achieved collaboratively. There is a parental analogy on the teachers role, as he must provide a safe environment for the students to learn and grow. MULTIPLE APPROACH Language is generated in a particular way in each book. The main characteristics of this method are inductive grammar learning, by dialogues, questions and answers, etc., with just one grammatical point each. It teaches the four basic skills The main advantages are: >Contextual and cultural presentation of the language >Usual vocabulary in real situations >Special linguistic interest working in pairs The disadvantages are: >The focus on the teacher can reduce students creativity >Exercises are almost completely reduced to question-answer THE SILENT WAY Each language has a particular rhythm and spirit. This spirit is composed by the functional vocabulary and the core structure. Learning a foreign language is a cognitive process different from the acquisition of the mother tongue. A silent awareness is the previous step for active trial. The objective is a near native fluency and pronunciation, with a basic practical knowledge of the grammar.

The syllabus is composed of structural lessons planned around grammatical items gradually introduced and related vocabulary. The main activities are responses to commands, questions and visual cues that encourage the learner to an oral response with no grammatical explanation. Unique materials are used, such as coloured rods and charts. The learner is responsible for his own learning, and must develop independence. The teacher should never model or assist, just teach, test and get out. AUDIOVISUAL METHOD Based on Saussares structuralist principles, it presents dialogues in real situations (travels, shopping), focusing on structures and bringing reality into the classroom. It pays special attention to teacher formation and permanent formation. This method insists on oral expression, avoiding translation, grammar presentation or massive vocabulary presentation. OTHER METHODS Other methods, although not directly concerned with the acquisition of communicative competences, can be helpful at some points in our lessons: -Structural-Logical: Inspired by Chomskys thoughts, focusing more on syntax than on meaning or pronunciation. Repetition is the main medium, with the student deductively producing new sentences by transformation and substitution. The main advantages are oral practice from the beginning, structural models graded and learnt, pronunciation before reading and writing, active participation and motivation. The drawbacks are emphasis on learning by heart, leading to parrots, boredom, manipulation without communication and spelling mistakes in the later writing -Total Physical Response: It follows a structuralist, grammar based view of language. The learning of a foreign language is viewed as the same as the mother tongues, with comprehension before production. The objective is to teach oral proficiency, in order to produce learners who can communicate uninhibitedly with native speakers The syllabus is sentence-based and focused on meaning, not form. It uses imperative drills, and no basic text. Initially, there is only voice and action, while materials have an important role later. The learner is a listener and performer, with little influence over the contents, while the teacher is like the director of a stage play. -Audiolingual: It views language as a system of rule-governed structures hierarchically arranged, and learning is a process of habit formation. It introduces oral language first, and uses analogy, and not analysis. The main objective is to control the structures of sound, form and order, to reach native-speaker mastery. Dialogues and drills are the main type of activities, using repetition and memorization. Tapes, visuals and the language lab are frequently used. The role of the learner is as an organism that produces correct responses after being directed, while the teacher provides the model and controls the direction and pace. This is a teacher dominated method.

3. TECHNIQUES BASED ON COMMUNICATIVE METHODS BASIC FEATURES Most communicative techniques are based in the information gap principle. In an information gap activity, one of our pupils knows something that another pupil needs to do the activity. By means of negotiation, interaction and information transfer techniques the gap is bridged. Littlewood (1981) distinguishes between functional communication activities and social interaction activities. Functional communication activities include such tasks as learners comparing sets of pictures and noting similarities and differences; working out a likely sequence of events in a set of pictures; discovering missing features in a map or drawing; following directions, etc. Social interaction activities include conversation and discussion sessions, dialogues and role plays, simulations, debates... Harmer has defined a set of characteristics that communicative activities share: -a desire to communicate -a communicative purpose -content, not form -variety of language -no teacher intervention -no materials control TECHNIQUES -Language Games: From the emotional point of view, games have an important role in motivating students, as language has an immediate use. A systematic use of games is very efficient as linguistic skills are carried out. Children react and act in the second language. The main advantage is that games allow a real use of the language. -Dramatization: This technique imitates a real and spontaneous usage of the second language by means of activities where children assume their own or another character in imaginative situations. Dramatization is different from language games in these aspects: >Language games contain competition, while dramatization considers participation as the main point >Language is very structured and controlled in games, whereas dramatization gives children more linguistic independence by choosing the language used >Dramatization chooses characters according to real life and develops the interpretative skill -Role-Playing: The student assumes the role of a certain character taken from real life. The students have facts (role cards), although they can choose the most appropriate expressions. Role-playing is more controlled than dramatization, and the teacher helps more with regard to linguistic production. -Problem Solving: The students discuss given information to solve a problem. This requires more skill in the second language. One example of a problem solving

exercise is to reconstruct a story represented by different pictures. We cut the different scenes from a comic with no text and each pupil receives one. Through discussion, they decide the correct order. It can also be done with written texts. -Functional techniques: We distinguish the following: >Identifying pictures: In pairs, each pupil is given a picture, with both being similar but having slight differences, like position of objects, etc. The difficulty depends on the established differences >Discovering pairs: In groups, four students are given one picture each, and a fifth one receives the same picture as one of the others, and has to ask them in order to discover which one. Variations are Detective game (the fifth has a card with a stolen object or a Wanted criminal), Find your partner (with a bigger group and more than one pictures repeated), Find your missing friend (with pictures of people, one has to find another) >Discovering sequences: In pairs, one is given pictures or photographs of places in a particular order, and the second is given the same pictures in no order. The difficulty should be adapted >Discovering unknown information:. It can be presented as a survey, a questionnaire but we always need evident facts. The teacher can decide on the structures which have to be used >Discovering unknown features: In pairs, one student is given an object with some features, and the other one the same picture with some of those features missing. It can be done with maps, plans >Discovering secrets: The type of questions should be restricted (yes-no). The information can be a famous person, a profession, an object, a place The roles can be changed (a member of the groups goes out of the classroom and the rest decide about his personality). Sticking names of a famous person in the back of our students, so that they guess which one they are, is another possibility. -Learning by teaching: Centred on student voice, allowing pupils and students to prepare and teach lessons or parts of lessons. Learning by teaching should not be confused with presentations or lectures by students, as students do not only convey certain contents, but choose their own methodological approach. It should neither be confused with Tutoring or peer-teaching, because of the intensive control and supporting of the learning-process through the teacher by learning by teaching in contrast to the other methods. ORGANIZATIONAL PRINCIPLES In general, pair work provides more practice, although we should only carry it out once the students are sure of the structures to be practised. If not so, exercises for the whole class should be preferred. In groups of five or six students, each one has more opportunities to practice. A good exercise to be carried out in teams is identifying pictures by asking questions. If group exercises can be carried out competitively, motivation will increase. None the communicative exercises we have talked about should be overused, as motivation would then decrease.

4. SPECIFIC METHODOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES IN TEACHING ENGLISH When assessing whether our students have acquired a certain level of Communicative Competence, we should check their ability to: -Understand the real meaning of sentences in different contexts -Use the adequate expression in the corresponding situation -Know how to start and finish a conversation and organize their linguistic productions according to the function of the conversation From 1971 on, with the Council of Europe changing their views of foreign language teaching and learning, the focus in this process is on communicative methods based on linguistic functions, with textbooks orientated to useful vocabulary in real life situations. The syllabus has become more varied, and should aim to the acquisition of what the Council called the Threshold level in which the student is able to: -communicate in a range of everyday situations which require a mainly predictable use of language, -take part in simple exchanges of opinion on matters which are predictable and within their own area of experience. -understand most of the language on an ordinary menu, in adverts, brochures, and forms and follow simple instructions of use -describe experiences and events, and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans. -write short notes, messages, and basic personal correspondence -get the general meaning of a guided tour, a TV broadcast, or a simple phone message where the topic is familiar and predictable or a simple newspaper article Following this view, the main Parts of the Syllabus should have these characteristics: -Regarding the aims, some minimal ones should be proposed by the teacher. There are 2 types: >General aims: What the student must get at communicative level >Specific aims: Concrete points related to the contents. We should evaluate them. -As for the contents, they should be proposed taking into account the four basic skills. The structure should use 3 sections: attitudinal contents, conceptual concepts and procedure contents. -Activities should be varied and focused on the four basic skills. We should plan 3 types of activities: >General: Daily activities on explained contents >Reinforcement: They review particularly difficult aspects >Complementary: They improve the learning process

-As for the development of a unit, there should be an adequate level between the theoretical and practical aspects. A previous study of the students, in order to establish a purpose, is always useful. The lesson plan should follow this steps: >Warm-up activity >Stage board >Concept check >Controlled practice >Guided practice >Free practice -The evaluation allows us to know if the aims have been achieved. The three blocks of contents (conceptual, attitudinal and procedural) should be evaluated. Direct observation, works, studies, activities can be tools to evaluate. It is necessary to check: >The learning progress >Comparative students progress >Personal education >School syllabus 5. CONCLUSION There are many different methods that follow the communicative approach. Each one has its own Theory of language and Theory of learning. Combinations of them can be used when teaching English, in order to make the learning process more entertaining. The learning should be contextualized in real life situations that affect the students. It is important to create a friendly atmosphere, in order for the student not to feel pressed when using the language. 6. BIBLIOGRAPHY BREWSTER, J., ELLIS, G. & GIRARD, D. The Primary English Teacher's Guide. Penguin. (1992) BRUMFIT, C.S. The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching. Oxford (1979) COOK, V.J. Modern English Teacher vol.10 (1982) CRYSTAL, D. The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language. Cambridge (1987) GARDENER, R.C. Attitudes and Motivation in Second Language Learning. Newbury (1972) HARMER, J. The Practise of English Language Teaching. Longman (1983) WIDOWSON, H. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford (1983)