Concept of Communicative Method

Concept of Communicative Method

1.      Definition of Communicative Method

Bases on Marius (2005: 438) Communicative method is more appropriate than those asking students to only solve exercises with fixed pattern and in which imagination and the capacity of speaking is not challenged, therefore, not improved. The communicative method resorts to different techniques of teaching students. On one hand there is the part of restricted practice, and on the other hand is that of free practice. When talking about restricted task, we aim at exercises (written or oral) which focus on certain language topics or grammar problems.

Richards and Rodgers (2001) defines the communicative method in language teaching is generally regarded as an approach to language teaching and the primary goal is for learners to develop communicative competence, or simply put, communicative ability. In other words, its goal is to make use of real-life situations that necessitate communication.

According to Richards J (2006:2) Communicative as a set of principles about the goals of language teaching, how learners learn a language, the kinds of classroom activities that best facilitate learning, and the roles of teachers and learners in the classroom. In addition Canale and Swain (1990) Communicative competence is defined as the ability to interpret and enact appropriate social behaviours, and it requires the active involvement of the learner in the production of the target language.



2.      Features of Communicative Method

Communicative  Language  Teaching  is  most  often  defined  as  a  list  of general  principles  or  features.  One  of  the  most  recognized  of  these  lists  is David Nunan's (1991) five features of Communicative Language Teaching:

a.       an emphasis on learning to communicate through interaction in the target language,

b.      the introduction of authentic texts into the learning situation,

c.       the provision of opportunities for learners to focus, not only on language but also on the learning management process,

d.      an enhancement of the learner's own personal experiences as important contributing elements to classroom learning

e.       an attempt to link classroom language learning with language activities outside the classroom.

These  five  features  are  claimed  by  practitioners  of  Communicative Language  Teaching  to  show  that  they  are  very  interested  in  the  needs  and desires  of  their  learners,  as  well  as  the  connection  between  the  language as  it  is  taught  in  their  class  and  as  it  used  outside  the  classroom.  Under this broad definition, any teaching practice that helps students develop their communicative  competence  in  an  authentic  context  is  considered  an acceptable and beneficial form of instruction


3.      Types of Learning and Teaching Activity in Communicative Method

a.       Linguistic or Grammatical Competence

Linguistic or grammatical competence is commonly referred to as a set of grammatical rules that guide sentence formation. Canale and Swain (1980) find those rules useless since language users are unaware of the rules of language use. 

b.      Sociolinguistic or Pragmatic Competence

Since fours skills (reading, listening, writing, speaking) essential to language learning do not occur in isolation from the extra-linguistic reality, it is plausible that sociolinguist-tic competence addresses the extent to which utterances are produced and understood appropriately in different sociolinguistic contexts depending on contextual factors. The way in which children learn languages illustrates sociolinguistic competence. Children learn to communicate through socialisation in their surroundings. By means of various interactions with the external world, by learning family and social values, norms, conditions, culture, even the economic and political situation, a child develops its identity, as well as the world view of the individual. When it comes to the pragmatic aspect of this competence, language learners are supposed to engage in coherent communication on various occasions. Success is achieved by the correct use of grammatical and linguistic rules.

c.       Discourse Competence

As far as discourse competence is concerned, a language learner is supposed to make a connection between various sorts of discourses, in order to create a meaningful whole by an accurate use of grammar and fluent communication. Consequently, discourse com-petence is related to the ability of speakers to put language structures together coherently and cohesively. Discourse Analysis, which has become a popular approach to analysing spoken, signed and written language, focuses on several aspects of discourse which deal with conversational interaction (sentences, propositions, speech acts and turns-at-talk) (Gill 2000). Therefore, apart from the fact that the development of discourse competence leads to a successful utterance of meaningful sentences, it also enables learners to gain an insight into language, by experiencing different interactional patterns in varying socio-cultural and physical contexts.

d.      Strategic Competence

Strategic competence is believed to refer to critical and creative aspects of human mind, for it deals with the knowledge and effective and appropriate use of language by speakers in order to take an active part in communicative interaction. Strategic compe-tence illustrates how a communicator makes a completely new sequence of utterances from the prior knowledge of words and phrases, thus achieving the effect of novelty. In other words, strategic competence mediates between the internal traits of the user's back-ground knowledge and language knowledge and the external characteristics of the situ-ational and cultural context (Douglas 2000). 


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