Language competences for effective teaching practice

The importance of language competences forming in the classroom in order to get a perfect acquisition of the second language. What competencies a learner of English as a Foreign Language can develop while developing communicative competence in English.

Рубрика Педагогика
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 05.11.2018
Размер файла 43,1 K

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Pererva K.M.

Afanasieva L.V.

Purpose. The aim of this article is developing teaching strategy for language competences forming.

Methodology. The basic principle of this kind of teaching English is motivation of students who are not confident in their knowledge to use communication as an effective tool to improve their English competence.

Findings. As the research showed, individual language competences development involves a complex interrelationship between various cognitive and individual factors, and varies between learners.

Originality. The findings of this study have implications for teacher educators and educational decision makers in bringing about higher levels of speaking ability among English language learners.

Introduction. Many authors have long reviewed and commented on what competences are and how they are categorized since McClelland first introduced the term in 1973. Initially, the study of competences started in the Labor Psychology field, searching to better select and improve human resources in firms and companies. Over time, the concept has broadened and it has reached educational and environmental contexts. Breshneh A., Richards, J.C., Wong, C. Y., Barrea-Marlys, M. categorize competences as:

a) generic, the ones that can occur in any of the positions of an organization and can be easily transferred from one profession to another, which means they are common to different professions. They include knowledge, skills, attitudes and personality traits; and b) specific: the ones that occur to certain professions within the organization, or with particular performance levels [1, p. 436; 4, p. 46; 5, p. 72]. They are non-trans- ferable. Nowadays, the competence concept in education concerns with the capacity of students to analyze, reason and communicate effectively as they pose, solve and interpret problems in a variety of subject areas and it has been considered important due to its relevance to lifelong learning. Being able to do so in one's mother tongue is by itself one of the aims of public education policies, leaving behind the very basic objective of teaching literacy and numeracy and including today information technology as well as the learning of a foreign language. Thus, the role of education in school is seen as to provide the generic skills needed to acquire new knowledge and specialist skills in the future: learning how to learn. General competences are those not specific to language, but which are called upon for actions of all kinds, including language activities, which include:

a) declarative knowledge: it comprises knowledge of the world (which derives from experience, education or from information sources, etc.), sociocultural knowledge, and intercultural awareness.

b) skills and know-how (savoir-faire): everything that has to do more with the ability to carry out procedures than on declarative knowledge. This skill may be facilitated by the acquisition of `forgettable' knowledge and be accompanied by forms of existential competence (for example relaxed attitude or tension in carrying out a task). It comprises practical skills and know-how (social, living, leisure, and occupational skills) as well as intercultural skills and know-how.

c) `existencial' competence: it may be considered as the sum of the individual characteristics, personality traits and attitudes which concern, for example, self-image and one's view of others and willingness to engage with other people in social interaction. Attitudes and personality factors greatly affect not only the language users'/ learners' roles in communicative acts but also their ability to learn. It consists of attitudes, motivations, values, beliefs, cognitive styles, and personality factors. This type of competence is not seen simply as resulting from immutable personality characteristics. It includes factors which are the product of various kinds of acculturation and may be modified.

Ability to learn: it mobilizes existential competence, declarative knowledge and skills, and draws on various types of competence. Ability to learn may also be conceived as `knowing how, or being disposed, to discover otherness' - whether the other is another language, another culture, other people or new areas of knowledge. The Communicative Competence The taxonomic nature of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) inevitably means trying to handle the great complexity of human language by breaking language competence down into separate components. This confronts us with psychological and pedagogical problems of some depth. Communication calls upon the whole human being. The competences separated and classified below interact in complex ways in the development of each unique human personality. Users and learners of a language draw upon a number of competences developed in the course of their previous experience in order to carry out the tasks and activities required to deal with the communicative situations in which they are involved. In return, participation in communicative events (including, of course, those events specifically designed to promote language learning) results in the further development of the learner's competences, for both immediate and long-term use. In that sense, all human competences contribute in one way or another to the language user's ability to communicate and may be regarded as aspects of communicative competence. Communicative language competences are next defined as those which empower a person to act using specifically linguistic means. The language activity required to perform communicative acts always occurs in a context that imposes conditions and constraints of many different kinds (also called domains of language use: public, personal, educational and occupational). Thus, for communicative intentions, users/leamers of a language bring to bear their general capacities as detailed above together with a more specifically language-related communicative competence. Communicative competence in this narrower sense has the following components: linguistic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic. Each of these components is postulated as comprising, in particular, knowledge and skills and know-how. a) Linguistic competences include lexical, phonological, syntactical knowledge and skills and other dimensions of language as a system, independently of the sociolinguistic value of its variations and the pragmatic functions of its realizations, b) Sociolinguistic competences refer to the sociocultural conditions of language use. Through its sensitivity to social conventions (rules of politeness, norms governing relations between generations, sexes, classes and social groups, linguistic codification of certain fundamental rituals in the functioning of a community), the sociolinguistic component strictly affects all language communication between representatives of different cultures, even though participants may often be unaware of its influence, c) Pragmatic competences are concerned with the functional use of linguistic resources (production of language functions, speech acts), drawing on scenarios or scripts of interactional exchanges. Communicative acts comprise language activity, which is divided into four kinds: reception, production, interaction and mediation. Reception entails understanding language produced by others, whether in speech or in writing, while production entails producing speech or writing. Interaction refers to spoken or written exchanges between two or more individuals, while mediation (often involving translation or interpretation) makes communication possible between individuals or groups who are unable to communicate directly. Clearly, interaction and mediation involve both reception and production. While learning EFL for general purposes, all language activities are stressed, but when focusing on developing business competences, interaction becomes an essential aim.

Listening, speaking, writing are of equal importance while learning English. English language teaching is frequently broken into the four domains of reading, writing, speaking and listening. My perspective upon English language acquisition is that each area of English is equally important and the development of one area tends to accelerate learning in another. For example, a student with fluent conversational skills will often learn to read and write more quickly than a student who is less fluent, whereas a student who is an avid reader may learn conversational skills at a rapid rate because they have increased levels of vocabulary. Therefore, exposure to all domains of English holds equal importance because each can accelerate the acquisition of language skills in the other's domain.

To get good at English quickly involves a huge amount of time and commitment from both students and teachers. If you want to get good at English, you need to find ways to read, write, speak and listen to as much English as you can. In an English learning environment this can be tricky, since the predominant languages, both spoken and written, are English and Ukrainian. As a result, many of students struggle to get enough exposure to English whether it be in the domain of reading, writing, speaking or listening.

Students are recommended to become active participants in their learning of English. For example, they can choose to work on their conversational skills in the lecture rooms, during classroom conversations, at foreign language events or on teams and clubs. Reading skills can be developed throughout the day in their free time (during the break, on their way home/work and at home) through materials borrowed from the library/internet. Students can choose to work on their listening skills by watching the news, television shows, movies, conversing with friends or listening to music. Writing skills can be fostered by taking care when completing homework to accurately convey ideas. Overall, it is acknowledged that the complex and interactive nature of English language acquisition encourage teachers and students.

Therefore, to become fluent at English students should read, write, speak and listen as much as possible. One of the best way is to find interesting books to read, people to talk to, extra-curricula activities to join and media to interact with. It is necessary to be proactive in learning to be genuinely engaged and enjoy the process of mastering a language! To become a well-rounded speaker of a language without building upon the four foundations of language learning is impossible It is similar with a house construction with a strong base if the one wants the house to stay upright in all weather! Reading, writing, speaking and listening - the four foundational skills of language learning which are the cornerstones ofleaming a language.

In order to become a well-rounded communicator one needs to be proficient in each of the four essential language skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing. These four skills give learners opportunities to create contexts in which to use the language for exchange of real information, evidence of their own ability (proof of learning) and, most important, confidence. Listening and reading are the receptive skills because learners do not need to produce language, they receive and understand it. These skills are sometimes known as passive skills. The productive skills are speaking and writing because learners are applying these skills in a need to produce language. They are also known as active skills.

Listening is a receptive language skill as already above mentioned which learners usually find the most difficult. Only a person who has a good ear in music is good at listening comprehension. Another one feels under unnecessary pressure to understand every word. The listener has to get oriented to the listening portion and be all ears. He/she is also required to be attentive. Anticipation is a skill to be nurtured in Listening. In everyday life, the situation, the speaker, and visual clues all help us to decode oral messages. In due course of listening, be in a lookout for the sign post words. Thirdly one should be able to concentrate on understanding the message thoroughly. Listening Skills could be enhanced by focusing on making the students listen to the sounds of that particular language. This would help them with the right pronunciation of words. To equip students with training in listening, one can think about comprehending speeches of people of different backgrounds and regions. This intensive listening will ultimately help a student to understand more on the accents to be used and the exact pronunciation of words. Language is a tool for communication. We communicate with others, to express our ideas, and to know others' ideas as well. We must take into account that the level of language input (listening) must be higher than the level of language production. In primary schools elocution and recitation are main sources to master the sounds, rhythms, and intonation of the English language through simple reproduction. The manifestations of the language in games and pair work activities are encouraging source to learn to speak the language. This assists the learners to begin to manipulate the language by presenting them with a certain amount of choice, albeit within a fairly controlled situation. This skill could be improved by understanding para-linguistic attributes such as voice quality, volume and tone, voice modulation, articulation, pronunciation etc. This could also be further enhanced with the help of debates and discussions.

Writing provides a learner with physical evidence of his achievements and he can measure his improvement. It helps to consolidate their grasp of vocabulary and structure, and complements the other language skills. It helps to understand the text and write compositions. It can foster the learner's ability to summarize and to use the language freely. To write flawless language one should excel in the Writing Skills with the help of various methods. Importance should be given to composition and creative writing. One should also focus on coherence and cohesiveness when it comes to writing a language.

With these four skills addressed equally while learning English, the learners can be assured of having good communication skills, a great necessity in today's competitive world. All of them lead to a better improvement in foreign language speaking skills.

The integration of the four skills is the key for creating a classroom environment as authentic as possible in order to teach English in a way close to a real communicative situation. They propose that the English language should be taught in a way that mixes reading and listening comprehension with oral and written expression. The language teacher should give the proper emphasis to the specific ability that is being studied, but combining it with the others in order to create a communicative classroom environment that engages students to improve their language abilities. They propose that the English language should be taught in a way that mixes reading and listening comprehension with oral and written expression. The language teacher should give the proper emphasis to the specific ability that is being studied, but combining it with the others in order to create a communicative classroom environment that engages students to improve their language abilities. It is in consideration to this that the aim of this investigation is to identify the integration of the four skills of the English language in a non-native speaking classroom, and the way in which these skills are developed for students of English as a foreign language of second grade High School, regarding the Integrated-skill Approach.

Due to the gaps found in the adoption of grammar-based approaches for a second language acquisition ranging from a little emphasis on communicative fluency to the sole focus on conscious grammar and vocabulary learning as well as on the extensive reference to the mother tongue, the subsequent “direct method” aimed at aiding pupils to become competent in their learning of a second language. The latter method “advocated a natural approach: a language much in the same way we learn our first language” [3, p. 118]. Hence, its weakness resided in its belief in mastering a second language similar to the manner in which it occurs in the first language. The “direct method” placed little emphasis on reading and writing skills and tended to diminish vocabulary input. Weak learners at beginner levels are unable to achieve the desired level of proficiency especially since they cannot resort to translation. Furthermore, they state that the teaching process expects tutors to be qualified and professional in the utilization of the second language. This might not occur in foreign countries where the majority of native speaking teachers do not have nativelike skills and pronunciation.

It is customary to assume that the chief purpose of learning a second language is communication. However, to acquire speaking skills, pupils need to be prepared by being initially exposed to grammatical rules. Krashen and Terrell “Natural Approach” came to fill in the gaps found in grammar-based and communicative approaches through a system of that combines both methodologies gradually [3, p. 114]. Grammar-based approaches best fit in beginning levels; however, communicative approaches can be perfect pedagogies in more advanced ones. Wenquan Wu asserts that “communicating effectively in a language requires the speaker's good understanding of linguistic, sociolinguistic and socio-cultural aspects of that language”. Hence, grammar is an undeniable prerequisite skill to communication [6, p. 63].

Findings and directions for future research. In conclusion, the study suggests the need to teach, or at the very least raise learner awareness of, a variety of strategies for individuals to utilize those that meet their needs. Future research could examine why less-proficient learners tend to adopt distinctive bottom-up or top-down processing orientations. The research may serve as a precursor to investigating strategies approaches individualized to different learner traits, particularly that of processing orientation.

english communicative foreign language


1. Breshneh A. & Riasati M. (2002). Communicative language teaching: characteristics and principles. Islamic Azad University. P. 436-445.

2. Bygate M. (1987). Speaking. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Harlan, K. (2000). Foreign language Textbooks in the Classroom: Bridging the gap between second language acquisition theory and pedagogy. Illinois Wesleyan University. P. 1-23.

3. Krashen S. D. (1982). Principles and Practice in Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Pergamum Press. P. 202.

4. Richards, J.C. (2006). Communicative language teaching today. Cambridge University Press: New York. P. 47

5. Wong C.Y. & Barrea-Marlys M. (2012). The role of grammar in communicative language teaching: An exploration of second language teachers' perceptions and classroom practices. Electronic Journal of Foreign Teaching. № 9(1). P. 61-75.

6. Wu W. (2010). The application of input hypothesis to the teaching of listening and speaking of college English. Asian Social Science. № 6(9). P. 137-141.

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