The Communicative approach is a learner centred approach. It gives the learner not only grammatical competency but also a sort of skill as to what to say, how to say, when to say, and where to say in order to satisfy his/her daily needs or larger aims.
In the communicative approach apart from fluency of saying something, accuracy and appropriateness are equally important. Of course an efficient user of language needs to produce grammatically well – formed sentences. The teacher has to develope in the pupils both rules of use (what to say & how to say) and rules of usage (grammatically correct sentence).
This approach pays attention to functional as well as structural aspects of language and combines these into a more fully communicative view. It emphasizes that the goal of foreign language teaching is to develop “communicative ability” among the learners.
This approach considers language not only in terms of its structures (grammar & vocabulary) but also in terms of communicative functions that it performs.
Aims of Communicative Approach
@ To develop both accuracy and fluency from the very beginning of language learning.
@ To tolerate the mistakes or errors as stepping stones to correct learning .
X The learner is helped to acquire language forms to their potential functions and /or social meaning
X The learner is placed in situations and he must use language as an instrument for satisfying communicative needs. Here the criterion for success is functional effectiveness rather than structural accuracy.
X The learner can be helped to use language as an instrument for social interaction. Ex: Role play
Communicative ability can be achieved through communicative activities in the class. They are learner – directed activities. They can;
W Provide structural ‘whole task practice’
W Improve motivation
W Allow natural learning
W Create a content which supports learning
Types of communicative activities
There are two main categories;
Functional communicative Activities
The teacher creates a situation in which learners must solve a problem with whatever language they have at their disposal. It may not even matter whether the language is grammatically incorrect. The main purpose of his activity is that learners should use the language they know.
For example a small talk on a particular topic for just three minutes is an activity for functional communication. Success is measured primarily according to the immediate situation.
Social Interaction Activities
The learners chooses language which is not only functionally effective, but also appropriate to the social situations he is in. Learners pay greater attention to the social content in which their interaction takes place. Simulation and role play are important techniques for creating a wider variety of social situations.
Teacher’s role in Communicative Approach
The teacher must;
¶ Be a perfect model in speech
¶ Stress on oral communication not bothering about systematic grammar rules
¶ Create situations in which pupils express their ideas and suggestions
¶ Insist on meaning in speech activity more than any thing else
¶ Mediawares like TV, video and audio cassette player can be used often
¶ Give language exercises which will bring out the originality and creativity of pupil’s ideas
¶ Let the pupils observe lexis and structure unconsciously
¶ Create where the pupils speak more on his own
¶ At a later stage, make pupils describe things and explain functions of certain organs, machines, etc.
C By interacting in pairs and small groups, pupils feel confident and do better.
C Learning will be self- generating exercise
C They get more language practice because nobody feels inhibited by grammatical rules and definitions
C They acquire fluency and accuracy and appropriateness of English use
C Co-operation in language learning is a great motivating factor and helps each individual to shed his shyness and show his individuality in using English.
D Our overcrowded class rooms and unwidely benches make group work and face to face discussion very difficult to organize.
D An average teacher with limited language skills cannot make a success of their approach
D When the students can well communicative in their mother tongue, there is no genuine desire in them to talk in English and take part in elaborate discussions in English.
D Detailed classroom techniques integrating the textual lesson and communicative tasks have yet to be evolved for the benefit of the teachers of English
In the present global village, English is a growing and living language. This has created awareness among the people to learn the language in its time form and manner. It is in this respect that the language skills are to be developed, nurtured, cultured and harnessed.