Chomsky’s definition of competence was expanded to a broader notion of “communicative competence”, that means the ability to function in a communicative setting by using not only grammatical knowledge but also gestures and intonation. This notion of competence was based upon communication within a meaningful context. Discourse competence (the way inwhich language elements are arranged in order to express a coherent idea) is surrounded by sociocultural, linguistic and actional competence. So students need more than just grammatical or linguistic knowledge, a teacher should also include nonverbal factors and cultural background knowledge in order to amplify the student’s view.
Taking into account this concept, communicative competence isvery important for my teaching practice. Since we are social beings, interaction between us is vital. Life is based on relationships from friends and family to teachers, colleagues and employers, etc. My general goal is to help my students reach a high communicative level. I want them to be able to communicate successfully in any situation, to be able to express any kind of message and beunderstood as well as to comprehend, receive and understand any possible response. My students will be working on their communicative abilities and skills. Most importantly the target language (English) is a vehicle for classroom communication, not just the object of study, so I will enforce the use of English at all times unless there is an extremely important situation for using Spanish.
Krashen(1982) proposed further explanations of how language is acquired in his widely known “Monitor Model”. Acquisition is defined as a subconscious “picking up” of rules characteristic of the L1 acquisition process and it leads to spontaneous, unplanned communication.
Learning, by contrast is a conscious focus on knowing and applying rules. Acquiring a language is more successful and longer lasting thanlearning. Krashen maintains that acquisition can occur only in the presence of certain affective conditions: the learner is motivated, self confident, and has a low level of anxiety. I believe that the best way to motivate my students is by making them feel comfortable and relaxed in the classroom, being easy to talk to and allowing them to take responsibility on their own progress.
Languagehas to be acquired as the result of some deeper experience not just on the concentration of a grammar point. In other words my students won’t be taught on a need of formal instruction, they will be simply asked to perform communicative activities in which they have to use English, and while this goes on my students will learn grammar rules by experience not as a theory.
Specifically in thespeaking field, to achieve my general goal, I will use the Communicative Language Teaching Approach. With this approach students use language a lot through communicative activities such as games, role plays and problem solving tasks. Students can also help themselves by using body language, gestures, and movement when they don’t know how to express something in the target language. My major concernis to help my students to build up their confidence, help them to drop their fear when learning a new language.
Activities that are truly communicative, according to Morrow (in Johnson and Morrow 1981), have three features in common: information gap, choice, feedback. An information gap exists when one person in an exchange knows something the other person doesn’t. In communication the speakerhas a choice of what she will say and how she will say it. A speaker can evaluate whether or not his purpose has been achieved based on the information she receives from her listener, and this is called feedback. These three features can be practiced with this method in every activity.
I believe games are important because the students feel relaxed and they can learn easily. The input (the...