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Communicative Competence

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Vladimir, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    You misunderstand me. I do think that pupils are put off MFL but I don't think it's because of too many rules!
    I think that the UK is generally poor at MFL because we dumb down learning and allow pupils to think that what they've managed to do is good enough, when it isn't for many children.
    I think that MFL teachers in Secondary are undermined by so many arriving from KS2 with a poor understanding of basic English grammar and, in many case, an inability to even recite the alphabet in English. The latter prevents efficient dictionary use and thus militates against independence in the classroom.
    In some schools I'd actually say that some basic English grammar needs to be taught in MFL classes before anything except numbers, and vocabulary (nouns in the main) are tackled.
    I'm not saying that the toddler will be expected to say things perfectly from the outset but that the care giver should be countering any mispronunciation with lots of correct usage. Even tiny babies can be engaged in replicating sounds (not words) in an early type of conversation. You make a sound and the baby will try to copy it. They even learn to make a sound and then stop to allow you to repeat it back to them, or to introduce a new sound.
    My son used to say aminal and each time he did so, I'd find a way to respond that involved me in saying animal. Sometimes I'd break the syllables down and make him repeat a-ni-mal.
    When the health Visitor was doing the first assessment that recorded speech competence, she asked if my son had 8 to 10 recognisable words. I showed her a list of over 150 words (and two word phrases). My daughter was even more eloquent, perhaps because I spent even more time nurturing her language given her difficult beginnings as a 1lb 15 oz, 27 week gestation baby. She was signed off by the development unit monitoring progress in premature babies, when she completed a third of the tasks expected of an average 18 month old when she was only 12 months old (and only 9 months old biologically).
    With mother tongue you have the advantages of time, opportunity and necessity to build up correct speech. You don't have that in 2 hours of lesson time shared with many others. You therefore need to use short cuts to speed up the process and pronunciation rules are vital.

  2. spsmith45

    spsmith45 New commenter

    No, what I described is not the Krashen approach. I referred to a structured, graded approach. Krashen specifically rejects that, describing it as "skill-building"', not a comprehensible input approach. My approach with grammar school pupils still focused a lot on rules and form, but taught primarily through controlled practice in the target language.

    Krashen claims that only a focus on meaning produces acquisition. I would argue that this is unprovable and that even when you are focusing on form in the target language this is still good input.

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