The communicative approach to language learning - Meeting stakeholder expectations
An increasingly global economy and multicultural society are affecting our everyday lives, and it is important that we adapt to the changes that accompany such growth. One of the most prevalent and public challenges we deal with is the language, or perhaps languages, with which we conduct our day-to-day affairs. This paper discusses the current status of foreign language teaching in the United States and the need to improve what the education system is currently offering. The author of this paper compares the Grammar-Translation Method to the Communicative Method, arguing that the latter of the two better meets student expectations and national standards created under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Both curricular approaches are explained in detail, bringing to light the advantages and disadvantages of each. The Communicative Method does not exclude learning grammar. In fact, a communicative classroom may follow a grammatical syllabus. The advantage is the added focus on finding meaning and use in the language. The author addresses how national standards are met and how students can be effectively assessed according to the Communicative Method. Student attitude and motivation are discussed in terms of being a positive influence in a communicative setting, yet a negative influence in the Grammar-Translation classroom. The author provides suggestions on how instructional methods and materials can change to provide a better communicative learning experience both in and out of the classroom. Textbooks, computer technology and communicative activities are each discussed. The author also makes a point of addressing how the learning environment extends beyond the classroom and beyond secondary education. At the same time, opportunities available in schools should be offered in earlier years. The paper is clear in its purpose: successful foreign language classrooms put an emphasis on communication in the target language.