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Putting the Communicative Syllabus in Its Place

Florence Stratton
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 11, No. 2 (Jun., 1977), pp. 131-141
DOI: 10.2307/3585450
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3585450
Page Count: 11
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Putting the Communicative Syllabus in Its Place
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Abstract

The communicative syllabus has been developed as a result of dissatisfaction with the structural/situational approach to the teaching of English as a second or foreign language. Unlike the grammatically based structural/situational syllabus, its units are communicative ones, such as "advising" and "warning," and its objective is to provide the learner not only with linguistic competence, but with communicative competence as well. Although one wishes the learner to become both linguistically and communicatively competent, the development and use of a communicative syllabus are faced with a number of problems, some of which are: the present lack of knowledge about the constituents of communicative competence, speaking rules, and the relation between linguistic form and function; the heavy demands it places on the learner; and the difficulties of providing an effective context for a speech act and of dealing with cultural clashes between the speaking rules of the learner's first language and English. These problems raise questions concerning the viability of the communicative approach in some language learning situations and point to the fact that each situation must be considered individually. Four language learning situations are discussed.

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