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Communicative Approach. The main goal of learning a foreign language is successful communication. This means that when you speak, others understand you and you understand them. The language I have learnt these forty years, My native English, now I must forgo,

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communicative approach

Communicative Approach

The main goal of learning a foreign language is successful communication. This means that when you speak, others understand you and you understand them.


The language I have learnt these forty years,

My native English, now I must forgo,

And now my tongue’s use is to me no more

Than an unstringed viol or harp.

Or like a cunning instrument cas’d up-

Or being open put into his hands

That knows no touch to tune the harmony.

Within my mouth you have engaol’d my tongue,

Double portcullis’d with my teeth and lips,

And dull unfeeling barren ignorance

Is made my gaoler to attend on me.

I am too old to fawn upon a nurse,

Too far in years to be a pupil now.

(Shakespeare: Richard II, Act 1, Scene 3)

Because of his age, Mowbray feels that he will never again be able to express himself in a new language to the same degree that he was able in his native tongue.

  • To gain a better understanding of the main approaches, language teaching methods and techniques associated with them.
  • To become more aware of current views on communication, language, and language learning.
  • To be able to make informed choices of modern methods and techniques appropriate for their teaching situation.
grammar translation method
Grammar Translation Method
  • In the middle of the 19th century, modern languages taught in the way Latin and Greek were taught, language viewed as a system of rules, theory of learning-didactic (jug & mug). Goal-academic knowledge about language, literature, philosophy, language learning is a means of mental training.
direct method
Direct Method
  • Appeared in the 1920s as a response to growing trade and international contacts. Based on no single theory of language, through the development of phonology contributed to its appearance. Natural theory of learning (like a child learning Mother tongue) through direct association of foreign language and objects. Its goal is rapid practical command of a language.
audio lingual method
Audio-Lingual Method
  • Made its appearance in 1950s, resulting from the need for a more intensive method to teach foreign languages. Based on the structuralist view of language and behaviorist learning theory (stimulus-response). Learning is habit-formation through repetition and positive reinforcement. Goad- to master the whole language, to present the learners with an accurate model of the language.
communicative approach1
Communicative Approach
  • The communicative approach appeared in the early 1970s as a reaction to criticism of audio-lingual method with its limited view of language and learning.
  • The major developments in Theories of Languages - shift from the structural view of language to the emphasis of the viewpoint that language is a means of communication in the first place.
  • Cognitive code theory: learning is not just learning of habits, but also an active mental process. Learner is responsible for learning and using a language.
  • Second language acquisition theory: emphasis is on comprehensible input-language is acquired by understanding messages. Language learning comes through using language communicatively.
  • Learning another language may be the most ubiquitous of human intellectual activities after the acquisition of the mother tongue. It is therefore not surprising that research in this field has become one of the exciting frontiers of cognition science.

The need for meaningfulness in language learning has been accepted for some years. A useful interpretation of ‘meaningfulness’ is that the learner respond to the content in a definite way. If they are amused, angered, challenged, intrigued, or surprised the content is clearly meaningful to them. Thus the meaning of the language they listen to, read, speak, and write will be more vividly experience and, therefore, better remembered.

practical application
Practical Application

Administrative Considerations

Instructional Considerations

Needs Assessment

Logical Considerations

Psychological Considerations

Learning Objectives



Program Design

Method Approach in Design Procedure


practical application cont d
Practical Application Cont’d
  • Questions of immediate concern will focus on who the learners are, what their current level of language proficiency is, what sort of communicative needs they have, the circumstances in which they will be using English in the future, and so on.
  • Curriculum development requires needs analysis, development of goals and objectives, selection of teaching and learning activities, and evaluation of the outcomes of the language program.
  • Books:
    • Communicative Approach:
      • Betteridge, David; Buckby, Michael; et. Al. Games for Language Learning. Cambridge University Press. 1993.- Complete Text
      • Littlewood, William. Communicative Language Learning. Cambridge University Press. 1981.- Chapter 3 Communicative Activities.
      • Richards, Jack C; Rodgers, Theodore S. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge University Press. 1986.- Chapter 5 Communicative Language Teaching
    • Testing:
      • Bachman, Lyle F. Fundamental Considerations in Language Testing. Oxford University Press. 1990.- Complete Text
      • Spolsky, Bernard. Measured Words. Oxford University Press. 1995.- Complete Text
  • Internet Links:
  • It has been said that teachers who have been teaching for twenty years may be divided into two categories:
    • those with twenty years’ experience and
    • those with one year’s experience repeated twenty times.

In other words, sheer time on the job does not ensure fruitful experience and professional progress. Successful teachers are those who continue to develop throughout their professional lives.