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Teaching ESL: Incorporating a Communicative, Student-Centered Component

Barry P. Taylor
TESOL Quarterly
Vol. 17, No. 1 (Mar., 1983), pp. 69-88
DOI: 10.2307/3586425
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3586425
Page Count: 20
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Teaching ESL: Incorporating a Communicative, Student-Centered Component
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Abstract

Current research in applied linguistics claims that most adult learners acquire a second language only to the extent that they are exposed to and actively involved in real, meaningful communication in that language. An ESL class which sets out to provide opportunities for such communication, therefore, requires at least two basic components: an environment which will encourage learners to exercise their own initiative in communicating, and activities which will motivate them to do so. This article explores these issues by briefly reviewing the research which supports incorporating a strong communicative component in language teaching. It then discusses five features of real communication which have implications for the design of such a component and highlights the need to consider not only curricular content but methodology as well. It stresses the importance of classroom atmosphere for the learning and practicing of communicative skills and discusses some of the potential benefits of student-centered teaching. It then outlines some principles for creating appropriate task-oriented classroom materials which promote real communication and can involve the use of any of the four language skills. This article concludes with a discussion of the role of explicit grammar instruction within the context of communicative, student-centered teaching.

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