|Teaching Additional Languages (IAE - IBE - UNESCO, 28 p.)|
Classroom activities should encourage students to use the additional language for genuine communication.
Communicative-language teaching employs activities that prepare students for natural, appropriate additional-language use outside the classroom. Language is viewed as more than grammar drills and word memorization. The goal is to train students in language skills that enable them to function easily by themselves without their teachers. Students need to learn what language is effective and culturally appropriate in natural discourse. Errors in additional-language learning are a natural part of learning, but they should be detected and corrected early. Supervised by their teachers, students can practice with one another and detect and correct each others errors.
The teachers role is not to control and dominate the classroom. Instead, the teacher can present real-language models to the students (comprehensible input), provide information and focus to the language forms being studied, use a limited amount of controlled exercises so that students gain confidence, and then allow students to interact with each other by using language for natural communicative functions. Thus, the classroom should be neither completely learner-centred nor completely teacher-controlled; rather both contribute to learning. In addition to the general classroom implications below, we have included more specific teaching strategies in the sections that follow.
In the classroom
Teachers should not only use traditional language drills in the classroom; they should also:
· Employ freer, open-ended activities (with more than one possible solution) that allow students to experiment with language to develop oral and written fluency.
· Use materials that represent real, natural language, not artificially constructed textbook language that presents patterns that no speaker would ever use in natural situations. The learning tasks presented by the instructor should mirror real-life language use.
· Provide meaningful feedback to students on how they performed the communicative activities and provide suggestions for improvement. Feedback should first focus on how well the students did on the communicative aspects of the task and then on the forms used by the student.
References: Brumfit, 1984; Nunan, 1991; Savignon, 1991.