The Communicative Approach - the early theoretical background to CLT
Competence and performance - Chomsky's terms (1965) used to refer to: a) the native speaker's idealised knowledge of the abstract system of rules of the language, knowledge that can produce and understand an infinite number of sentences.
Performance - the actual use of that language inconcrete situations.
Communicative Competence : the relationship and interaction between the native speaker's grammatical competence (or knowledge of the rules of the language) and Sociolinguistic Competence (or knowledge of the rules of language use). It is distinguished from communicative performance which is the realisation of theses competences in actual speech in real situations.
USAGE and USEa) the ability to produce correct sentences, or manifestations of the linguistic system = USAGE.
b) the ability to use the knowledge of the rules for effective communication = USE.
SIGNIFICATION and VALUE:
A) the meaning attached to a sentence as an instance of language usage, isolated from context = SIGNIFICATION.
B) The meaning taken by a sentence when it is put to use for communicativepurposes = VALUE
E.G. Question: Could you tell me the way to the bank?" Answer: The rain destroyed all the crops". The response has signification but no value!
Other contrasting concepts - Linguistic categories v Communicative Categories: usage/use; signification/value; correctness/appropriacy; sentence/utterance; proposition/illocutionary act; cohesion/coherence; linguistic skills/communicativeabilities; speaking & hearing/saying, listening & talking.
CLT and the Task-based Syllabus
Task: a piece of classroom work which involves students in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target language (LT) while their attention is mainly on MEANING rather than FORM.
THE COMPONENTS OF A TASK:
4. TEACHER ROLE
The starting point for task design should be the goals and objectives which are set out in the syllabus or curriculum guidelines which underpin the teaching programme.
The next step is selecting or creating input for Ss to work with. The use of authentic input is a central characteristic of communicative tasks. Where possible, it is desirable to build up a "bank" ofdata.
Texts, audio or video recordings can be classified and filed under topics or themes (e.g. Work/Jobs; Holidays; Future Plans; The Media), and provide a ready-made resource to be drawn on when designing tasks.
One should work from the data to the teaching/learning objectives, rather than the other way round - i.e. it is better to derive communicative activities and other exercises such asgrammatical manipulation exercises, from input, rather than say, deciding to teach a particular item, and then creating a text to exemplify the target feature or item.
Communicative Language Teaching
"The appeal and poverty of CLT" by Robert O'Neill [March, 2000]
" the belief, so widely held and so frequently repeated that "language is (a means of) communication" is wrong in a way that hasbeen devastating to any adequate conception of what humans are and how they differ from other species. Communication is just one use to which language can be put (and distinguishing between a thing and its uses should surely form the most basic step in any analysis.)"
Derek Bickerton; Language & Human Behaviour (London, UCL Press, 1996)
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has enormous intuitiveappeal. Despite this, I have come to believe that at the heart of CLT - especially in fundamentalist versions of it - we find a native, even impoverished view of language. To demonstrate what I mean, let me examine six propositions upon which I think CLT is based. I am going to argue that if these propositions are true at all, they are only superficially and trivially true - and true only in...