Teacher Forum

How to develop communicative ability

The ability to produce correct sentences is called linguistic competence. The ability to produce sentences appropriate in a particular context is called communicative competence.
Language is not in terms of grammar and vocabulary only but it is in terms of communicative functions.
For teachers of English it is a challenging task to develop the communicative ability of students. There are several ways using which a teacher can improve the communication skills of students

1. Integrating language skills - There are four skills of language. They are listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Listening and reading are called receptive skills by which we receive the language. Speaking and writing are called productive skills because we produce the language using speaking and writing skills. If we integrate these skills, we can easily develop the communicative skills of learners but there should be integration of one receptive and one productive skill. We can ask students to listen to a story and speak the summary or answer some questions based on the story. Furthermore we can ask them to write the story or summary based on the listening text. We can ask them to read a paragraph and answer the questions of comprehension in writing or verbally. We can ask the students to listen and speak, listen and write, read and write, read and speak and this way we can improve the communicative skill of students.

2. Using non-verbal means - Students can be given some picture sheets and they are asked to narrate what is happening in the pictures. They can also be asked to develop a story based on pictures. Visuals like symbols, signs, charts, posters can also be used to develop communicative ability.

3. Organizing debates, discussion, speech contest - It is a good idea to organize debates and speech contest regularly in the class. Students try their best to perform well and prove themselves in a class of competition. They can be given a reward also as an approval. Students should be taught the rules of debate, discussion and speech in advance. Students are in the habit of making discussion a debate. This practice should be avoided. Do’s and don’ts of G.D. must be discussed in the class before starting a group discussion. They must be clearly taught the difference between discussion and debate. Debate is a very successful activity with the young learners and teenagers.

4. Cramming dialogues, jokes and poems - Unless a student is competent enough to produce his own dialogues s/he should be asked to cram the dialogues useful for everyday situation. They can cut jokes and recite a poem in English and they get new words and environment of English. It improves the language level of learners.

5. Enacting roles in play or drama - Some short popular theme of drama from books can be taken for dramatization. Roles are allotted to the students as per their caliber. Dialogues can be simplified for the students. It can be even one act play or there can be a number of scenes in it. Even a short story involving 4 or 5 characters can be taken for dramatization. In the beginning the teacher can enact a role for the class with a bright student for example. Dramatization improves natural English as it involves body language. It is quite interesting activity to get rid of the same monotonous and routine work of the class.


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