The problems of implementing a communicative approach to English as a second language (higher grade)

Van der Merwe, Dawid Johannes (1994-12)

Thesis (MEd)--University of Stellenbosch, 1994.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In 1986 a new English Second Language syllabus for the Junior and Senior Secondary Course was introduced in the Cape· Province. The overall aim of the syllabus is communicative competence and it advocates a communicative approach (CA) to teaching English Second Language. At the inception of the communicative approach most teachers were i~rnorant of what it comprised and this study undertook to determine whether teachers understood what Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) was and if they applied it in their teaching. At first the demands of society and how this had influenced language teaching through the ages was investigated. Communicative competence was demanded at different stages in history and it is at these different stages where the CA has its roots. Many of the principles of the CA, it was discovered, had been applied by teachers and theorists many centuries ago. Teachers and theorists who teach language for communication see language in a different light. Language and its unique properties are investigated, and with an emphasis · on language as communication. Different ways of using language to communicate are investigated and questions like ''Where does meaning reside? What are the kinds of meaning?" and "How can we control meaning?" are discussed. Prior to the introduction of the CA, second language teaching had been devoted to mastery of structures. However, with the new insights gained about language and meaning, the focus shifted to meaning in coherent discourse rather than on discrete forms. With the shift in focus teachers also had to adjust their teaching to meet the demands. At this stage a brief discussion of the CA and the essentials of a communicative curriculum is provided. The comparison between traditional and communicative approaches is made. An account of CLT methodology is given, including exploration of communicative competence. Many practical examples of CLT are explained. In the empirical study a questionnaire was distributed to the ESL teachers at thirty schools in the Boland and Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. The aim of the research was to determine whether ESL teachers teach communicatively. The findings of the study were that teachers who were trained before 1986 and those trained subsequently have a limited view of the CA. Consequently they cannot apply it to their teaching and seem to revert to a structural interpretation of the syllabus. This study then, confirms that teachers do not have a full understanding of what the CA comprises and consequently teachers do not teach "communicatively".

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 1986 is 'n nuwe Engels Tweede Taal sillabus vir die Junior en Senior Sekondere Kursus ingestel vir die Kaapprovinsie. Die oorhoofse doelstelling was kommunikatiewe bevoegdheid en dit stel voor 'n kommunikatiewe benadering (KB) in die onderrig van Engels Tweede Taal. Met die bekendstelling van die benadering was die meeste onderwysers onbewus daarvan studie onderneem om te bepaal of die kommunikatiewe taalonderrig behels en onderrig toegepas het. en is daar met hierdie onderwysers verstaan wat of hulle dit in hulle Eerstens is die eise van die gemeenskap en hoe van taal deur die eeue beinvloed het, bestudeer. bevoegdheid is op verskillende tye deur die dit die onderrig Kommunikatiewe loop van die geskiedenis vereis en dit is juis aan hierdie verskillende tye wat die kommunikatiewe benadering sy ontstaan te danke het. Dit is ontdek dat van die beginsels van die kommunikatiewe benadering al van vroee tye toegepas is deur onderwysers en teoriste. Onderwysers en teoriste wat taal onderrig vir kommunikasie sien taal in 'n ander lig. Taal en die unieke eienskappe daarvan word ondersoek en taal as kommunikasie word beklemtoon. Verskillende wyses waarop taal gebruik kan word om te kommunikeer word ondersoek en vrae soos: "Waar is betekenis gesetel? Wat is die soorte betekenis?" en "Hoe kan betekenis beheer word?" word bespreek. Voor die bekendstelling van die KB is taalonderrig beperk tot die bemeestering van taal strukture. Helaas, met die nuwe insigte wat verkry is van taal en betekenis het die klem verskuif na verb~ndhoudende diskoers eerder as op sinsontleding. Met die klemverskuiwing moes onderwysers ook hul onderrig aanpas om aan die eise te voldoen. 'n Bondige bespreking van die kommunikatiewe benadering en die voorvereistes van 'n kommunikatiewe kurrikulum word gegee. Daar word ook onderskeid getref tussen tradisionele en kommunikatiewe benaderings. 'n Kommunikatiewe taalonderrig-metodologie word voorsien en kommunikatiewe bevoegdheid word ook bespreek. praktiese voorbeelde verduidelik. van kommunikatiewe taalonderrig Baie word In die empiriese studie Engels Tweede Taal in is 'n vraelys aan die onderwysers van dertig hoer skole van die Boland en Noordelike voorstede van Kaapstad gestuur. Die doel van die studie was om te bepaal of Engels tweede taal onderwysers kommunikatief onderrig. Die bevindinge van die studie was dat be ide onderwysers wat voor 1986 opgelei is en daarna, 'n beperkte siening van die kommunikatiewe benadering het. Gevolglik kan hulle nie die benadering toepas nie en wil dit voorkom of hulle 'n strukturele vertolking van die sillabus volg. Die studie bevestig dus dat onderwysers nie die kommunikatiewe benadering ten volle verstaan nie en gevolglik kan die onderwysers nie kommunikatief onderrig nie.

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