The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching
Developing Second Language Skills
Learning a language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning. And when learners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for second language acquisition will be used.
Communicative language teaching (CLT), is an approach to language teaching that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of study.
CLT focuses on the teacher being a facilitator, rather than an instructor.
If you, as the teacher, are speaking more than your students, you may be lecturing.
Lecturing is fine for imparting knowledge, but learning a language is a skill-based activity. And skills can only be developed from practice.
The communicative approach has been designed to get your students speaking and for them to use the language as much as possible so new skills are born.
"Engage, Study & Activate"
The ESA Methodology
The ESA methodology is one of the latest 'evolutions' under the communicative approach. It stands for Engage, Study, and Activate.
ESA gives the teacher the flexibility to conduct a classroom in an organized and productive way. ESA is important when it comes to teaching, because it keeps the students interested, motivated, and eager to learn more.
Many teacher trainers believe that the ESA is the most effective and logical of all the teaching methodologies for new teachers to learn and apply in the classroom. It has become increasingly popular within teacher training programs.
The video above will show you how a lesson can easily be done using the ESA method..
The Grammar Question
How much grammar do I need to know to teach English?
While English teachers need a good knowledge of grammar in order to show how the “rules” are applied to the language, grammar is not the ‘be all and end all’ of English teaching.
The most effective way to learn a new language is to have students using it to communicate in speaking and writing using topics that are relevant to their life.
In the communicative approach, classes are based around teaching topic-based lessons in which the grammar is used in context, not in isolation. That is, the topics provide a context for using the language.
An example of a topic-based lesson would be a class on Describing your Daily Routines. Here the Present Simple tense would be used. While the students are trying to describe their everyday activities, their focus is on communicating what they do rather than trying to construct an English sentence from a grammar-based formula.
In the ESA method, there is more emphasis on student-led grammar discovery, eliciting the grammar from students rather than giving a detailed (and often boring!) teacher-led presentation.
The Classroom—Where New Teachers Are Born
Vantage candidates undergo a minimum of 6 hours of observed teaching practice.
Called “The Practicum,” you will teach real non-English speaking students in a live classroom—and get valuable feedback from our professional trainers..
In Vantage's practicum, trainees apply the knowledge they have gained through controlled practice. It is where knowledge becomes teaching skills.
The practicum is the heart and soul of a professional TEFL certification program and it's one of most valued parts of the course. It’s also why many schools—particular the better ones—won’t accept a TEFL without a practicum.
The Communicative Approach Introduced to Thailand
A new way of teaching English already showing results.
The British Council and the Ministry of Education have teamed up to improve the skills of 17,000 primary and secondary English Thai teachers in Thailand through the Regional English Training Centres (RETC) project, which was started in 2015.
17,000 out of 40,000 of Thailand’s English teachers have been trained so far the results are overwhelmingly positive.
The research clearly indicates that 90% or 15,300 English teachers have more confidence in teaching English in the communicative approach and more confidence in using English in their classrooms.
The Nation newspaper published a great read of the RETC project.
Results on the Infograph as of October 2018
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