miércoles, 19 de mayo de 2010


By Fernando Tarazona

Nowadays, English has become a crucial and significant part of our lives. Consequently, English has started to become a lingua franca, which means that eventually we will all be speaking it. Therefore, English is an extremely useful tool in every event, e.g. international agreements or any online course taught. We have the need of knowing how to communicate using it.
Having given this fact, I am quiet doubtless many of you are wondering what the best way of learning English is.

Firstly, we always listen to people talking about their institutes and the “method” or “techniques” teachers are using to teach them English. Nevertheless, they do not have a clue of the definitions of those words. For this reason we are in the need of knowing them.

A method is a plan for presenting the language according to a previous selected approach. What is an approach? An approach is a group of beliefs about the nature of the language. In other words, an approach is a perspective of the language. At this point we only know the structure and why and how we use the language. And finally, a technique is the strategy used to accomplish a goal. They are derived from the method.

Throughout the years people have been in contact with different approaches; each one of them giving birth to a new one. One of them is the Communicative approach.

The Communicative approach emphasizes interaction as the means and the goal of learning a language. It has a constructivist view of language learning, which focuses on the social, cultural and pragmatic features of language. Students must feel the need of communicating, “real-life” interaction.
Moreover, in this approach both fluency (which is the ability of responding using the target language in a normal way) and accuracy (which is the ability of using the language appropriately when communicating) have the same importance, which differs from other approaches, where accuracy is the target goal, leaving aside fluency and as a result of that not getting communicative competence.

Another important characteristic is that teachers present the language through functions, which give the language the functional use. For instance, functions would be what language to use when you go to the doctor, or in a restaurant or airport, etc. By using them, the language becomes meaningful and we present it in a context. Hence, students realize the usage and importance of English in real-life situations. English teachers are in the enormous responsibility to have their students speak English during class. TTT (teacher talking time) must be decreased and STT (student talking time) must be increased (“The BIGGEST mistake in learning a language is not speaking enough”).

In Nivel A School we believe in this approach and make a huge effort to get our students able to communicate in English, not being afraid of using the language and not feeling embarrassed when making mistakes. What’s more, we want our students to use English as an important tool to success in life because as I said, the growth of English speakers is exponential and we must be prepared to confront the demands of this globalized world we are living in.

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