The communicative method precisely defines objectives headed by free communication through conversation, reading, listening comprehension and writing. For those aims, the communicative method uses contemporary elements of tele-, radio communication, etc. which are natural in the world of exchanging information. Nevertheless, a book remains the main but not the only tool of language learning at school. A teacher can choose any book which corresponds to his/her purposes and defines his/her methodological approach towards language teaching. But a book should be both interesting and accessible for students. A textbook should help learning the language, but not give interesting or boring facts about it. On the other hand, even the most attractive textbook will not give any results, if its contents (drills, exercises, rules, etc.) are separated from the communicative learning with the help of a teacher as a professional counsellor. An English language teacher must know English as well as his mother tongue. The teacher must be aware of the laws according to which language functions. The teacher must be acquainted with the last methodological points of view, but he is not to be obliged to acquire those if they do not conform to his purposes and aims. The teacher ought to know the difference between general linguistics and pedagogical linguistics in order not to convert lessons at school to linguistic seminars.
What is communication? It seems to me, communication is first of all exchanging opinions, information, notions of social, cultural, political and other aspects of everyday life. Communication always has associations with written and oral discourse. But communication includes a surprised face, a smile, a nervous movement or a smoke above the fire of Indians, as well. Communication is also advertising the colour of the president's suit, flags, posters or a whistle of a boy under the window of his sweetheart. The world around us is the world of communication in various spheres. And only at language lessons the only means of communication are textbooks and the lecturing teacher. In the classroom, the teacher is the source of information. And this communication is under control rather than free. In this case, the purpose of a teacher is to transform the communication with students to a pleasant, attractive and emotional lesson.
Real communication is always informative, unpredictable and unexpected. If the teacher is always informative, interesting and unexpected, then even before the beginning if the lesson students will be disposed for a good lesson. But if the previous lesson is just the same as the next one, students will be bored with it before the lesson start.
Even the most trivial dialogue can be transformed to a communicative one if no one knows a word of what will be said about. If the dialogue starts
A: - How are you?
B: - And you?
then it all can be boring, definite and predictable. This dialogue is not informative, and rather similar to those which the students must learn by heart in terms of a prepared situation recipe. Byy contrast, the dialogue below is unpredictable, interesting and informative:
A: - How are you?
B: - Is it true, that you ... or
A: - What is the result of the match?
B: - Tell me, where I can get repaired my Japanese TV set? It broke down in the middle of the match.
The answer is unexpected and related to the questions only associatively. During a language lesson, such dialogues can reflect spontaneous situations. Those unexpected dialogues are really communicative and built according to the scheme "stimulus - response". This principle stimulates active thinking process, intuitive thought and use of language in the frame of fixed communicative habits.
Working on their own, students fulfil the task of a communicative intercourse, and the best way of it is a free dialogue between students but excluding the teacher who is always correcting and evaluating. There are a lot of students who can and know how to speak English but they happen to keep silent facing the criticizing teacher. At free work, however, students are more willing and ready for decision-making and to ask the teacher for his advice.
When a teacher is not a dictator, students try to learn language themselves. In small groups, even the shyest students engage in communication at the same level as a "non timid" students. It never happens, however, if the teacher stands in front of the all class. Work in groups which transform a student into the main person of the language lesson is the kind of work which develops the communicative abilities of students.
A language teacher can not limit himself only to textbooks or teaching aids, even the poshest or the most contemporary, but he must be in constant relation with the language by the modern means including television, video, etc. It can also be a
newspaper, or a recorded telecast or a radio report. The more variety is in aids of learning and the more up-to-date reflection of the mass media influence is shown by them, the more successful will the communicative intercourse be.
Speaking about communication, it is necessary to take into account a specific national character and specific type of communication in English. Students ask: "What is the English for it" when they want to know the equivalent of some Lithuanian gesture. Born in Lithuania, children acquire specific gestures which are common to this country, or a city, or a community. The language is acquired in the same specific logical-emotional communicative system as well.
Can a child or the children acquire not only nominative forms of a second language but the whole complex composing the language of communication, as well? In other words, can a learner communicate with the native speaker at the same level? N. Chomsky defined the ability to speak with the native speaker in the same terms as competence. He claimed that real competence in studying a language could be developed in intuitive language of native language conditions.
Is there a pedagogical norm in defining competence? N. Chomsky (1965) considers people who do not know grammar or cannot read and write as non-competent. If we take for an example a man from a countryside who can neither speak nor write, we can say that in these communicative conditions there is no need for writing or reading, and that is why he is completely competent in justifying his everyday communicative needs. Then, we can say that competence is personal verbal perfection which corresponds to the personal communicative needs.
Teachers always seek to fill the heads of students with various grammar rules and to transform them to a source of language perfection. This purpose can not be achieved in most cases. At the same time, it is not useful since it is impossible to grasp a lot of. The English teacher should fix flexible aims which could vary in every single case. Communication is a necessity in order to keep contact at a certain level and at a certain communicative frame.
What are the relations between communication and competence and which determines what: whether communication defines competencies or vice versa?
In fact, I used to correct every students mistake. But later on, I understood that not in every case we need to pay attention to wrong usage of language, and if we do it this must be done in the same way which does not disturb the course of communication,
Which is better:
How can I find Studentu street ?|
Where is Studentu street ?
Do you happen to know Studentu street ?
Every from the three examples above will direct to Studentu street. Thus, norms of language are supposed to assist communication but it is not necessary to use . it in the standard perfection. And if we have to make a choice between perfection and communicative result, we would choose the last one. No doubt, perfect communication preferred but not compulsory. A communicative teacher must pay attention to typical mistakes, those which he often comes across with, to distortion of logical and grammatical forms. Normative language is to remain on example of imitation, but not in all cases it must be the goal of active studies.
Attention must be drawn to one more element of communicative intercourse. It is spontaneity. In many cases normative rules will not allow to evaluate colloquial situation and respond to communicative stimulus. Many times a teacher can spot a student not finding the right word. That happens when the student thinks not about what to say, but how to say.
Structural exercises, which had spread in methodology in the middle of the century, were determined to teach topics which must extract words from students active memory according to the situation. But these exercises did not teach free usage of language in unexpected situations. In fact, knowledge of the topics appeared to be non communicative because it was impossible to predict the situation with all its unexpected moments. Dialogues and topics must be a part of teaching process, but they are to carry unexpected elements, spontaneity and situation, which require immediate and logical solution of communicative problems. Dialogues must help to understand situation. They are useful in case when they involve ability to practise it in a free manner.
Questions of practical liberty and personal necessity are the key ones not only from linguistic point of view, but from social and political one as well. This question must be presented to every student personally. Even in primary school, students should know why he is learning English. Then they will be highly motivated.
A teacher can learn the student's attitude towards the English language by means of questionnaires which he can design himself. It can be following:
I study English because||
a) it is necessary in everyday life,
b) it is necessary for my future career,
c) it is necessary for my personal contacts,
d) it is a nice language,
e) we live in Europe,
f) all around us study English,
g) I need to read special literature in English,
h) it easier to live knowing English,
i) I am forced to learn.
Analysing every point, a teacher can define motives of language studies in every particular case. Then the teacher can structure his strategies according to the needs of students.
2. Communicativists, audiolinguists and structuralists.
Their attitude towards language teaching
The teacher with a respectful pedagogical experience would say: "We did not teach in vain. There are generations which can speak English". Yes, but how many efforts it took.
In the second half of the XXth century behavioural approach emerged. Behavioural linguists covered methodology with their ideas and defined language teaching methodology as a mechanical reflection of language reality. This automatic and drill-based language learning relied on right understanding of primary language of a growing child who is being brought up in a natural language atmosphere. But it is difficult to compare the perception of English by a child in an English speaking family and the perception of it in a non-English one. Behaviourists claimed that the only way of language learning was a mechanical repetition of semantic and grammatical forms. And what is true in a natural way of language perception, here becomes senseless. A "behavioural" student cannot achieve natural language usage and he isolates himself by situations which cannot be universal in every case.
Structural linguists claimed that direct language atmosphere is essential for acquiring the studied language. By this statement, oral discourse was the only means of communication. Creation of a language atmosphere was considered as compulsory condition for learning a second language.
Mostly oral discourse is to be the only means of communication or at last the dominating means. But very often foreign language is used in a written form.
Differently from behaviourists and structuralists, uses of communicative method suggest every teacher should define the importance of every language discipline and teach language in correspondence with local solutions. Communicative thinking does not provide a strict ideological structure and does not give a chance for a teacher to define what is main and what is subordinate.
Audiolinguists pay distinguished attention to oral discourse. Their theory maintains that understanding what is heard takes significant place in language acquisition (as in communicative method). But audiolinguists give students some prepared language structures, while uses of communicative method allow students to use such language structures which seem suitable for students in particular circumstances. The difference between audiolinguists and uses of the communicative methodology is, in fact, that the former gives students books with some prepared logical structures in their memory while the latter direct and react to communicative stimulus spontaneously.
According to audiolinguists, study and learning dialogues serve bases for this system. In this way, like behaviourists and structuralists they create some optimal situations with prepared answers.
Audiolinguists will use criteria of English literature and culture for studies of English by Lithuanians. On the contrary, a follower of communicative approach does not limit himself by "English" situations. It is not necessary to read only about England. Students acquire a foreign language better when they are speaking about what is known, intimate and clear for them (even though at the first stage).
Audiolinguists require a perfect pronunciation which is not communicative. Oral form precedes reading but reading is to be the supporting element of oral forms of communication, the stimulus of discourse or the enrichment if vocabulary. Audiolinguists focused on functional sage of language, what sounds logically, but really it appeared to be thematically narrow in memorising the communicative form. Audiolinguists really achieved high results in correct usage of language structures, for this they use language laboratories, records of native speakers. But students need to turn to a free and easy communication.
Followers of the communicative method aspire to habit of right usage of language structures, but it is not over-emphasized. They also suggest paying attention to students' abilities to express their own opinions, feelings and not to spread language structures for its own sake. Thus, communicativists try to understand students cognitive nature, their personal and lifetime abilities.
N. Chomsky categorically rejected the notion that language was acquired through a form of conditioning dependent reinforcement or reward. He stressed that children come to the world with the innate language - learning abilities that takes the form of language acquisition device which proceeds by hypothesis - testing. Consequently, children acquire the language by making hypotheses about the form of grammar of the language. Then they compare it with their innate knowledge (Willgo Rivers). Thus, N. Chomsky rejects language learning which depends on language conditioning. He defines abilities of language studying as rudiments placed in a child at birth. Only at the process of growing, the child chooses the optional forms of communication suitable for him and society he lives in. In other words, students choose the most sufficient forms of communication themselves which corresponds to a community needs. They make communicative schemes and try their truth on their own. Everything is true for communicative idea of language teaching at school. But how can we agree with the statement about innate communicative abilities which can be vastly developed in certain conditions? It is true that there are students who have difficulties at mathematics or languages. But if we use right methodology, even the least able students can achieve good communicative results.
N. Chomsky's inner "code" has no relation to the cognitive approach in language learning and students without talent thus are doomed to a poor existence in a language class. Of course, if a class is frontal and the teacher's personal attention to every student is paid according to the number of the students in the class, minutes of the lesson and other factors, many students stay without any attention be it talented or less able student.
3. The relation of communicative exercises to communication in a wider sense
The assortment of communicative exercises is unlimited. But they can be classified. That is done by such researchers of communicative method of language teaching as Penny, Rivers, Widowson and others. Classifications are a kind of methodological care of communicative experience in teaching foreign languages. But teachers themselves can classify a system of exercises according to their aims, level of the class, etc. Relative classification of communicative exercises can be presented in following way:
1. The beginning and the development of relations.
This type of exercises can be adopted for beginners. It is known that these exercises tune up students to words communication. Axis of this type includes greetings, requests, simple dialogues for acquaintance, permissions or refusals. Such exercises can be carried out by one person but only in communicative intercourse.
2. Purposive search of information and report.
Such search works do not reacquire oral communication or focus on communication "a book - a person". It means comprehension of what is read. For many students understanding the plot of the book will be a significant element in communicating with the English speaking world in universities, correspondence, reading magazines, newspapers.
A report can be suggested as a topic for a month. During this time, students must prepare not only a report but also a plan according to a topic, which is handed to everyone student. It enables them to follow what is said in a report by a speaker, ask questions or supplement. The same topic can be suggested for two students. That can provoke a discussion in the class where all students are judges.
3. Work at practical projects.
That is reading and discussions of instructions. Model of discussion can be "Find the treasure", reading instructions how to make medicine, how to deal with deodorants, domestic appliance, type-recorders, etc.
4. Theater situations.
These can be scenes from fiction reading.
5. Reactions and intentions.
Free dialogues with unexpected ends, games with an alternative answers "yes" and "no", clearing up the real intentions, solving current problems, participating in the social life, charts on the telephone.
Definitions, common phrases, bureaucratic aphorisms and other language elements of everyday life cannot be learnt from the textbooks. In language terms rapprochement with real life is understanding of the communication. Students can fill in the form:
4. Telephone number.....................
5. Date of birth.............................
6. Place of birth............................
8. Average mark............................
9. Favorite subject at school...........
10. Foreign languages....................
Such and similar forms can be required to fill in in real life. Teachers can construct forms themselves for various reasons: Kristian Anderson
1. Name and surname..................
2. Date of birth..........................
3. Place of birth.........................
4. Date of death.........................
5. Place of death........................
7. The most famous work.............
These forms can embrace famous persons of English history, literature and arts, and enrich simultaneously knowledge of students. Such forms have perception character. They can be of the following forms:
1. Name and surname......................
2. Your favourite art.......................
3. Your favourite actor....................
4. Your favourite actress..................
5. Your favourite writer...................
6. Your favourite painter..................
7. Your hobby................................
Work according to these forms can be done in groups. Students can ask each other and help each other with answers.
Forms are to spot various facts of the world. Forms and questionnaires can assist teacher not only to gather information but use it in oral form, as well. In foreign schools, universities, governmental institutions which carry out psychological examination for determinations of IQ cannot avoid a multiple choice test. This does not mean checking the writing abilities. This means checking the ability to find the right answer or logical decision. Answers to such questions take less time than written answers. Extent of material is deeper and vaster.
In order to develop students' abilities in a multiple choice test we can suggest our students answer some questions in a similar way:
1. Do you go in for sports?|
b) once in a week,
c) every morning.
2. Do you like eating meat?|
a) do not eat at all,
b) every now and then,
c) every day.
3. When do you go to bed?|
a) when tired,
b) at eleven,
c) at midnight.
4. Do you eat sweets?|
a) every day,
5. Do you do washing up?|
a) every day,
b) after parties,
c) hate it.
6. Do you present flowers to your mother?|
a) once a year,
b) when I upset my mother,
We can compose any form which will be suitable for various ability levels of students.
As much as communication is some kind of performance, playing roles and plots, it is possible to draw the lesson close to the theatre performance. Students like theatricalizing their answers. Students can use creative drama in filling in forms.
Every student gets a card, where he can read text about "himself. The content of the card is not familiar to other students.
The first student reads about "himself:|
"Now it is a holiday. I finished fourth form and 1 want to earn some money. My name is Vitas Andraitis. I am 11 y. o. I want to work 4 hours a day. I can see flowers, ice cream or books on the street.
The second student reads about "himself:|
" My name is Giedrius Pauliukonis. I am 20 y.o. I have many flowers in my garden. I need a student who can sell my flowers. I am a director of the "Flower" Garden-Center.
Now G. P. is employing V. A. and is asking the questions according to the form:||
1. Name and surname........................
2. Address and telephone number..........
When questions are answered, the form is filled in. How many language skills are involved and practised in this exercise? There are listening, writing, reading and speaking skills.
Very communicative is game with alternative answers "yes"/ "no". The teacher writes a word, the name of a famous person, an event and definitions - any he likes, and students ask the questions which can be answered in a way "yes"/ "no". These exercises can be used at various levels and in any form.
In our days, there are popular comic strips. In different ways some textbooks use comic strips. They are perfect visual means of communicative teaching. There are no strict rules of work with comic strips, that is why there are a lot of possibilities for improvisation which are connected to objective abilities of the class in every particular case and to subjective circumstances such as mood of the class after the lesson of physical education, etc. Such comic strips can be used in a group work. A teacher can choose sequences of strips and prepare titles for them on long streaks of paper. Students are to choose the right version to the comic strip. A teacher can do a lot of work, but we do not ask simply "what is it ?". In this case there is no communication.
The next type of communicative activity is working with a map. The map can represent a familiar city or strange places. Students work in groups, and the teacher can work with the same map on the blackboard. Students give name of streets. Every student can suggest his own name to the street. It can be funny, abstract or anything he chooses. Students can give names according to the topics:
a) 3 streets by the names of great English writers,
b) 3 streets by the names of rivers,
c) 3 streets by the names of historical places.
Students can play roles of a policeman, a tourist, a passer by, a stranger in a city.
4. Some peculiarities of communicative methodology
Testing is an integrative part of the process of learning. But testing must be done in terms of communication. For example, you give students the following text:
A trip round the lighthouse
"Tom and Mary are having a trip in a motor-boat. Every fine day in the summer the Skylark goes on a trip round the lighthouse. It is a windy morning and the sea is rather rough, but Tom and Mary are enjoying it. It takes half an hour to reach the lighthouse. Tom says he would like to be a light house keeper, but his Daddy just smile when he says this. Mary likes sitting in front watching the nose of the boat cuts its way through the water".
After reading out such a text, the teacher gives questions in jumbled order, aiming at problems of logic and grammar.
1. The sea is rough because
2. How do Tom and Mary travel?
- it is cloudy,
- the sun shines,
- it is summer,
- the wind is blowing.
- by bus,
- by ferry,
- by boat,
- by motor-boat.
Such grammar questions force students to think logically, and the grammar will be perceived as a natural part of the whole language complex.
If the text seems to be rather long, students read the text and answer the questions. Bit he must be informed that he scores +10 points for the fulfillment of all the work. It is good to give reinforcement during the testing.
Before returning the corrected tests, the teacher checks what remained in students' memory. The teacher can cover the same grammar material by asking questions according the text.
Testing must check all aspects of language: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and writing abilities. For example, if the teacher wants to check the perception of English sounds, which are not in Lithuanian language, he can apply the following test.
The task is to mark sounds which the students can hear. Every student given a sheet of paper:
| ||[ð] 123456789 |
Let's say the word which is heard by the students is "sister". They does not near neither [ ð ] nor [ i: ]. The second word is "father". And the students mark the place of the sound they hear.
Communicative system tests check what students know but it does not test what students do not know. That is why examination can be taken according to the students' level. Testing for groups can be adopted, facilitated or complicated.
B. Developing listening skills.
Oral forms of language communication are listening comprehension and conversation, which are opposite to academic reading and writing. Methodologists did not pay much attention to listening and abilities to start conversational intercourse. On the contrary, others consider oral forms of communication the only one communicative and focus only on the goal of stimulating conversation and listening comprehension. The truth lies somewhere in the middle between "academic" written language and "illiterate" oral language. The teacher must define the importance of every sort of communication. If spoken language is very stimulating, it can be base for complex and deep language learning. If students are interested in written language which they can show to parents, the teacher can start from writing which will be the base for the same complex and deep language learning.
How does perceptive language mechanism work? At first, The student perceive sounds in their verbal or idiomatic complexity, connects definite sound with definite meaning. Word used in one meaning and for one time is fixed in the primary memory. Primary perception is fixed logically with the help of associations with language and non language structures, and after such associative fixation it is consolidated in the deep memory. At the last stage, it is to appear free converting of
grammatical and logical forms at every .complex situation with endless variety of communicative solutions.
Perception of spontaneous speech and literally text gives different results and has different communicative purposes. Nevertheless, the teacher must teach to react immediately in both the cases. The teacher must take into account that listener cannot control speed of information but he adheres to it and makes efforts in order to understand the main idea.
Exercises for developing listening comprehension can be the following:
1. Listen and fill in.
2. Listen and continue.
Listening of some text can be broken off at the most interesting point. Then students must continue in oral or written form.
3. Listen and check. These exercises reacquire special attention to the details and logic.
4. Listen and find.
Students are given maps. In course of listening they must mark the places where the action takes place, or where murder happened, etc.
5. A dynasty.
Students are given a scheme of a family tree with empty places for grandparents, mother, father, sister, etc. One student is standing in front of the class and speaking about his family. Other students listen and fill in the family tree.
6. Listen and find differences. Students must find differences between the texts they will hear.
7. Listen and make a summary.
The text is read twice. At first time, students only listen while the second time, they make a summary or a plan.
C. Developing speaking skills.
Natural conversation forces adjustment of a listener to a produce, but talk and perception are mutually connected. Conversational acoustical contact must be a stimulus for a student's and a teacher's work. In the communicative class, it is necessary to support students' motivation showing their failures, success and progress. For that, the teacher can repeat some exercises, which guarantee success in advance, and then to proceed to more complicated exercises. The teacher must take into account the freedom in the frame of communicative abilities known to the students.
A conversation should teach the students how to use colloquial language at the most normative, optimum level. Students active participating at class conversations is essential if the class is the only place to communicate. Relevant and actual material is used in real life situations which are not fixed but can vary to different directions. Imitation starts from listening. As a rule, students have a lot of listening but they do not speak. The teacher must provoke them with a help of a situation, game or discussion. Primary stages of colloquial language take a course in imitating, retelling the plot.
Very often conversation goes smoothly when students have significant vocabulary, logical and grammar structures, and trust that they will be understood. But conversation must start at the very beginning of the learning process and expand according to the lexico-grammatical abilities.
If the student is afraid of talking there will be any communication. He must join students of similar abilities and create positive conditions to developing conversation. Conversational skills must be developed step by step. A teacher must prepare students for conversations. At first, situation can be discussed in Lithuanian. Making contact with problem is stimulus and that will determine student's position. Now discussion can take place in groups in English. Structuralists claim that constant practice conversational exercises solve all problems. It does a lot but not all. Amount of conversational hours not always develop communicative abilities. Communicative approach is not interested in producing forms and sentences in their sterile correctness. Communicative method does not reject studies of grammar and sentence structure. Subordinate clauses, pronouns, comparative forms, etc. are studied, but communicative method supposes finding situations of a free contact in the course of studying the forms where rules are used practically. Structuralistic dialogues and other exercises are abstract and directed towards strengthening the material. That leads towards students' disability to react to an immediate change of the situation. In other words, the strategic level colloquial language of structuralists is a primitive from the point of view of the communicative direction, but not from the language knowledge. In a structural lesson, students must correctly react to grammatical forms. At these lessons, as admitted by R. Scott (????), focus is shifted from the correct usage of forms to the active selection of instantly reacquired expressions of a communicative character. Such students will care about correct usage for communicative purposes.
Communicative method determines purposes of oral conversation spontaneously, without preliminary preparation. A student has to define purposes of conversation at the very beginning or even in the course of it. Defining of conversational purposes is dictated by need to transmit some information or emotional state. The grammatical aspect has a secondary role if it does not confuse understanding and conveying the purpose of the conversation. Grammatical and phonetic correctness is developed not before the speech but in its course.
Structural principle determines strict grammatical laws by which topics are defined. These schemes are applied only id defined conditions. Structural idea persuades strict rules of communication and look after every mistake. In structural class, student first thinks how to say, and only than what to say.
In a communicative class the main idea of pedagogical strategy is playing a definite role, and then producing a speech is defined by situation. This means that forms are used in their grammatical correctness but this correctness is not the main task. If grammatical forms prevail in the class the student is willing to say something but he only emphasizes definite grammatical form which is required by the teacher. We defined some moments of studying conversation, they can be the following:
- Exercises for improving phonologic system, intonation, stress.
- Answer to questions about what was watched on TV or heard or read.
- Description pictures.
- Summarizing the paragraph or a novel.
- Narrating some event.
D. Developing reading skills
Reading perceives written in its logical forms. It means reading reproduces what is written. Written language differs from colloquial one. That is why a teacher has to choose such extracts for reading that the interaction "writing - reading" would not be difficult or disorientating the student. Reading techniques are both "silent reading" and "loud reading". Reading aloud is not the aim itself but a tool. It helps putting the right stress, improving the correct intonation. A weak student cannot as well as others students but he would not read at all alone. Taking into account arguments against loud reading, the teacher must choose a suitable material for loud reading. That can be newspaper news, short report, etc. Reading aloud, the student prepares himself to speaking because he accustoms to the audience which listens to him. Before students read aloud, the teacher can give some pre-reading exercises.
After students got acquainted to the text, it is time to read aloud. Reading is a cognitive form of perception through printed word. It is an individual form. Taking into account communicative principles, in every case teacher has to explain why he reads the text. Students have to be motivated. Stimulation of reading develops a habit of reading in studying language and gives positive emotions. The teacher must to pay attention to a context or a text and choose such a text which corresponds to the age and interest of students.
Reading must be purposeful when the student looks for the answer to the question which can be logical, which requires thinking about what is read. That can be filling up charts, plans or diagrams. That can be continuing the text. If we need to consolidate some grammatical structure, we can give some extract where the student has to insert the required grammatical forms and understand the plot, as well. Not only understanding is important in reading. Every reading leads to some logical conclusions and emotional impressions. Every reading enriches the vocabulary. The teacher must connect what is read with the students' personal experience and personal emotional impressions. It can be a topic for discussions in the class.
E. Developing writing skills
In developing writing skills, as well as in listening, reading and speaking skills, first of all it is necessary to pay attention to communicative purpose and then to the communicative technique. Structuralists and audiolinguists under the influence of the American immigration took into account the needs of immigrants and emphasised oral forms of communication and reading, but left writing at the last stage of learning. Today, writing is necessary no matter whether we use a pen or a computer.
At the beginning, Teachers teach only oral language forms. But elementary students are willing to write and show their works to parents. Writing is such a visual category which motivates the learning process, creates the feeling of progress. On the other hand, there is a category of students who does not like writing because it takes a lot of time, requires attention.
Teacher must take all into account and look at writing very carefully and define the place of writing in teaching process. The main points in defining place of writing are:
- Not all the students catch the language in oral forms and they require strengthening of what is heard, seen and read. Writing helps such students.
- Writing is a kind of proof of the learning process although not always reflects the real progress.
- Writing develops a special type of logical thinking which focuses thoughts on the main ideas.
Descriptive exercises can be based on a series of pictures. The teacher can choose any grammatical form for practise. The teacher can give sheets of paper with sentences and give a task to compose a story and write it. Exercises for developing writing can be varied not only in difficulties of using "clever" words, but in complexity making up of sentences. Every written complex must not be simply gymnastic grammar exercise but informative and emotional structure where grammar is a natural way of expressing ideas.
The teacher can give a task to write a story according pictures which are not connected thematically. That gives liberty of expression, interest and purpose in the course of work. Every story has some structures, so exercises can be built according to a principle of developing:
-at first................. -then.............
- and finally.................................
Description of objects, portraits, etc. does not require developing events in time. It focuses on visual state. Description gives us state of a static quality. Description is important when the teacher wants to teach adjectives. Description of places is similar to description of things and persons. Sources for description can be maps, cards booklets. Description can be official or personal. Description of places can be conveyed by an invented person, at a various seasons or a day-time.
A significant role in developing writing skills can be taken by questions and answers. Descriptive in details, answers will be very useful for this purpose. It can help to determine students' ability to communicate in a written form and also a correctness of such forms. Starting from a simple copying and finishing by compositions, teachers always have to stimulate writing by interesting tasks, texts, etc.
Communicative system must take account of the following features:
- Social interaction.
- Unexpected moments in forms of perception and addressing.
- Creativity in forms of perception and addressing.
- Reasons for perception and addressing.
- Personal and social elements of speech production including both emotion and information.
- Success in communication.
The communicative characteristics of a language are directly connected with the forms, and such language norms reflect amount of people for whom such norms are standard norms.
Standard norms of English denote such language which we hear on TV, in the street, but not the language which was used by great writes for example in the XlXth century. The first language type can be called strategic language and it is the aim of studies. Languages studies must always be defined by the strategic communicative aims. Thus, communicative methodology is to pay attention to the strategic language, active and affective. This does not mean that communicative methodology restricts language to the minimum of necessary phrases and does not pay attention to the aesthetic beauty of the language, its peculiarities and variety of forms. On the contrary, expending the strategic language, a person acquires not only the minimal colloquial categories, but picturesque elements, as well. The sociolinguistic language aspect is more powerful than the academic aspect because those who use language for communication improve themselves in language forms.
Mutual relations between the teacher and students have always been in the spotlight. The communicative system revises the role of the teacher in class and the main principles of mutual relations between the teacher and students. The teacher is to be a counselor, a professional adviser to whom students can appeal with questions.
Even in the most democratic countries, a school still remains, to put it harshly, the microcosm of a totalitarian system. In a communicative class, discipline and order is not achieved by instructions which are posted in a hall. It is done by understanding that studying is an aim worth of pursuit and perseverance in itself.
Disturbance of discipline most frequently occurs in classes where teaching is carried out only by the frontal method when the student's personality has no significance in the whole mass, and this mass must comply with the criteria of the given materials. Students cannot identify themselves in this mass and loose any interest in studying. The communicative system gives a chance to a student to express himself in a group which is composed of students with similar background. In a communicative class there are also examinations and tests, including the explanation of material by a teacher, calling the parents, or bad mark to students. However, everything is based on new pedagogical principles.
1. Alexander, L. Practice and Progress. Longman, 1980.
2. Cooper, D. Philosophy and the Nature of Language. London, 1973.
3. Chomsky, N. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, 1965.
4. Harmer, J. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Longman, 1994.
5. Richards, J. Language and Communication. Longman, 1983.