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  1. #1
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    Default Question about the communicative approach.

    Hi everyone,

    I am not a teacher, but I worked in language education about five years ago. I've gone back to my old job but I am finding it hard to keep up with the current pedagogical trends and theories.

    I'm hoping that someone is willing to help me with a question I have:

    The communicative approach has been around for some time.

    Has anyone found any problems with it?

    Other than the grammar-translation method, are there currently any other good alternative approaches to teaching ESL/EFL students?

    Thank you very much for your help!

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Question about the communicative approach.

    The communicative approach has been greatly watered down, with virtually anything being labelled communicative. Many books, teachers and institutions take a pick-and-mix attitude, borrowing freely, which can be criticised for lacking a theoretical core, but allows greater freedom.

  3. #3
    ICAL_Pete's Avatar
    ICAL_Pete is offline Member
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    Default Re: Question about the communicative approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    The communicative approach has been greatly watered down, with virtually anything being labelled communicative. Many books, teachers and institutions take a pick-and-mix attitude, borrowing freely, which can be criticised for lacking a theoretical core, but allows greater freedom.
    I'd very much agree with this. The issue is not just about what method the teacher wants to adopt, but also what method the students are used to and what method the school might prefer.

    To take an example, a teacher might be heavily experienced with group work, student-centered lessons, communicative activities and the idea that teaching grammar paradigms is a no-go area. They arrive in a small school in a small town in China where the students have been taught in the most traditional way possible (choral repetition, repeating verb conjugations by rote, copying notes carefully from the blackboard, traditional dictation etc) and the teacher suddenly has to adjust their methods.

    Personally I try to be as communicative as possible (and as student-centered) with grammar on an as-needs basis only. But colleagues differ depending on both their background and the students they are teaching.

    So we end up picking and mixing!

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