hello there! i’d like to leave a commentary on the video above, if you don’t mind it ) i’m a school teacher in Moscow region and i try very hard to combine the traditional & communicative approach to ELT depending on the type or goal of the lesson according to the curriculum. i have groups of 12-15 teens who i personally love and appreciate as amazing persons (this is the basis of the teaching process and if it’s absent, first work on it, second — on the communicative approach :)). i so regret that my students haven’t practiced English before (all those … years at school) and really don’t seem to have studied that hard before or trained their brain and memory so hard as i try to get them to. i had plenty of unmotivated students last year (my 1st year at school), and this school year i am honestly a bit surprised to see that their percentage in my groups has lowered which means the number of the motivated students has increased. i try to follow most of the advice you have given in your video but still have to comment on that. you know, one should realise that a secondary school is a secondary school which means we have the programmes incl. student’s books & workbooks approved by the administration, and if we even occasionally put them aside to do a different type of task or just arrange doing an exercise from the SB or WB so that the students don’t sit stuck to the books, this kind of activities is not really welcome (the reasonability of the usage of an interactive communication game, additional materials and so on must be explained). let me explain why — it’s just because WE HAVE TO GRADE the students’ performance and progress ACCORDING TO THE CURRICULUM & SCHOOLING AGENDA, that is you have to make them acquire a certain skill within an extremely limited period of time. i should say that partly it IS possible to do it and to make students speak real-life English at the same time practicing it at least inside of school during the lessons. But that’s real hard work, and some teachers would more probably choose to give up school, others — the communicative approach. Still, I must state that my colleagues are talented teachers and great people who practice individual approach and what I’m driving at is as follows: it is not the school to blame when speaking about unmotivated teens or non-speaking adults coming to private schools or English language centres to speak English. A teacher is a person who has a group of people before him or her and a limited period of time to make the students get involved, speak out for themselves, and just have a 40-min experience meaningful for their own. Even if this very lesson is not brilliant, there will come another one, just remember all the time: your students and you are one team!! and yes, the speaking time at my lessons are about 50/50%, sometimes the figures do change in both of the directions 🙂 and i enjoy switching between pens of different colours, incl. red though. there’s a wonderful world around us with plenty of brilliant people to discover so we mustn’t stick our mind on the communicative approach only or blaming school teachers, we should be flexible enough to be able to do our job well wherever we are!
Katya,thank you for leaving comment here! it’s really appreciated. I know how difficult to work when your hands are tied with the school curriculum.
The thing is that there is no ideal approach suitable for everyone. Even when we use communicative approach,it’s not pure and has elements of previous methods like TPR(Total Physical response), Audio-Lingual even very rarely mature adults ask for Grammar-Translation. Everything should be kept in balance. On our webinars we usually describe and talk about more or less ideal lessons and of course I am fully aware of the fact that in real life teachers have to deviate a bit from these norms. Communicative approach can help you to get better results and train your students skills relevant to our modern world. It helps us to get rid of a language barrier (typical problem of all post-soviet union students who were taught grammar ad translation).
There is one method which has recently appeared Progressive electivism and the idea is «Fitting the method to the learner, not vice versa» http://blog.tjtaylor.net/method-principled-eclecticism/
Good luck in your teaching!
Dear Yulia, thank you very much for the feedback and more useful info! i second what you say and will surely check out the link. Doesn’t seem new though, have frequently been doing the «fitting» this way after i had already made many mistakes and failed to do the other way :)) still it’s always interesting what other people think and share! thanks again and take care!