A comparison of different ways of teaching ESOL to Polish migrant workers who are residing temporarily in London
Relevant methodological approaches to ESOL teaching; Specific techniques methods and approaches to language teaching; The sociolinguistic context of migrant labour, specifically focusing on Polish experiences, and living/working in London on a temporary basis; Qualitative and quantitative research methods, data and analysis.
Outline of Structure:
Introducing my topic, suggesting how I will approach this, what methodologies I will deploy, which secondary literature I will draw on and my interests in the topic, as well as initial thoughts and hypotheses. Reasons why I am interested in the topic of Polish migrants in London.
Literature Review: An outline and analysis of existing literature on the topic. This will focus, on one hand, on histories of and contemporary debates in various methodological approaches to ESOL, focusing in particular on two or three. On the other hand, I will also look at relevant literature on the specific sociolinguistic context.
Research Methodology: A focus on qualitative and quantitative methods I will use in my research. Justification and explanation for the methods I have chosen. Ethics
Research Results: Presentation of my primary data. An analysis of this data in relation to my research question and initial hypotheses.
Conclusion: I will draw out conclusions combining the analysis of my primary research, my reading and secondary research, in order to answer the questions raised and addressed during the research process. I will test my initial hypotheses, adopt a critical approach to my project and methodologies and suggest directions for further research.
A comparison of different ways of teaching ESOL to Polish migrant workers who are residing temporarily in London
PART ONE: Introduction
Since Poland became a full member state of the European Union in 2004 there has been a large number of Polish migrants coming to London, as well as other parts of the UK, for purposes of work. Home Office Figures from 2006 suggested that in these first two years there were nearly 600,000 new workers in the UK from Poland and the seven other new EU states (BBC 2006). This includes figures of 447,000 officially registered and estimates of those working on an unofficial, self-employed basis. As the figures do not account for those in the UK illegally, it can be supposed that the real number was even higher.
The increased movement of people has sparked a debate over social issues in London and across the rest of the UK. Some argue that the increase in population puts a strain on existing jobs and resources. In February 2009 for example, ‘British Jobs for British Workers’ protests were staged outside power stations in Nottinghamshire and Kent. Demonstrators claimed that the contracting company Alstom had discriminated against British workers by employing too many of its staff from new EU countries. This has led to new ‘employer guidelines’ such as the demand for “corporate social responsibility to use British workers where possible” (Hope and Whitehead 2009). Such protests can be seen as being fuelled by negative tabloid representations of new EU migrants. An anonymous ‘online reporter’ in The Sun for example, claimed that “UK Polish workers are illegally claiming child benefit in both the UK and Poland” (Online Reporter 2007). Other articles, for example Hickley and Roberts’ in The Mail, represent migrant workers as illegal and animalistic, “they are stopping legitimate users getting into the toilet” while also using the imagery of uncontrolled surge, “this is likely to be a huge underestimate of the influx” (Hickey and Roberts 2007), which has led to much popular misconception.
On the other hand however, others have argued that the increase in skilled workers has boosted the UK economy and should be encouraged. A report published in February 2009 by the Institute for Public Policy Research, ‘The Economic Impacts of Migration on the UK Labour Market’, for example, suggests a different view from those outlined above:
The economists say there is no evidence to suggest that large-scale migration from eastern Europe since 2004 has had any substantial negative impact on either wages or employment. Indeed they add that it is highly possible that there has been a small positive impact on both of these, or no impact at all. (Travis 2009)
The recent focus in the media has been on how these figures, and the resulting social debates, will be affected by the economic downturn. The same report suggests “some initial evidence [that] many workers who came to Britain from Poland and the other eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 will return” (Travis 2009).
Studies such as this, and Home Office figures released in February 2009 (Travis 2009) suggest that while there has been a massive boom in economic migrants traveling to the UK from new EU countries, we are now experiencing a slow-down as many return home. This provides a context where many people are in London and across the rest of the UK, residing temporarily, working to earn money and then moving back to their countries of origin.
Although many workers do not need English for their jobs, builders with a Polish supervisor for example, it can be argued that English Language skills are of vital importance to these people. The Audit Commission draws on research by the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education to emphasise the importance of English learning for migrant workers:
The ability to speak English is not essential for all jobs but is a cornerstone of wider integration and cohesion. Better levels of English help migrant workers, some employers, existing residents and service providers. (Audit Commission 2009)
The report is interesting as it points out the benefits of language learning not only from the learner’s perspective, but also how this could benefit employers, existing residents and services. Examples it gives include that “workers who speak English are less likely to be exploited, and more able to help themselves” and that “employers may be able to fill skills vacancies” (Audit Commission 2009). It also suggests a direct link between language learning and broader issues such as social cohesion and integration.
The report does propose basic methodologies of teaching in this context. It suggests a focus on ‘basic language teaching’, and proposes strategies such as using the teaching skills of those in migrant communities, and using English lessons to spread useful information. However, it does not go into this aspect of research in much detail. It is my argument here that as migrant labour becomes an increasingly large issue in the UK, especially in the context of the current economic downturn, ESOL becomes increasingly important, and it is vital to explore in depth different techniques, strategies and methodological approaches to English teaching in this context. I will do this by focusing my primary research on temporary Polish workers in London, and my secondary research on a range of ways of teaching. My personal interest in this is not only as a teacher, but also as someone who has come from Poland to live, study and work in the UK.
My research will include an investigation into practical ways of implementing teaching strategies, for example a focus on how language courses could be advertised, where, how and when they could take place as part of, say, community centre programming or existing migrant worker culture. This will include research with and case studies of groups and communities in London to establish what facilities are currently existing and how they could be improved.
My main focus though will be on the use and relevance of specific language teaching techniques and how these relate to broader EFL methodologies. I will consider for example the pros and cons of communicative versus rule-centred methodologies, and how they relate to aims of accuracy, fluency, functionality or community cohesion. As Paul Knight has argued of communicative methods, “The desired outcome is that the learner can communicate successfully in the target language in real situations, rather than have a conscious understanding of the rules governing that language” (Knight 2007: 155). Scott Thorbury goes on to consider the relevance of this:
For a long time language teaching operated on the basis that accuracy should precede fluency, and that the only speaking learners were allowed was the oral manipulation of recently taught grammar structures…
..A radical re-thinking of the relative importance of accuracy and fluency fuelled the evolution of the communicative approach.
(Thornbury 2008: 115).
I have considered how important this could be in the context I have described above, through a specific focus on techniques of teaching reading, speaking or writing, such as elicitation, drilling or information gap activities. My primary research will include interviews, discussions and data gathering with Polish groups in London. My secondary research will include a close reading of contemporary debates over ESOL methodologies, as outlined by for example Harmer (2001), Carter and Nunan (2007), Mercer (2007) and Knight (2007). I hope to bring all this research together in order to precisely address my problematic of what techniques and methods are most relevant, productive and appropriate for teaching ESOL to Polish migrant workers temporarily in London.
Literature Review: Approaches to ESOL
In this section, I will introduce and outline a variety of approaches to ESOL teaching, considering for each one their theoretical underpinning, histories and methodologies and potential problems.
2.1. Communicative Approach
2.1.1. Methodologies and History
Richards and Rodgers describe how communicative methodologies have been popular in ESOL since the 1980s. They describe them as “a major paradigm shift…whose ramifications continue to be felt today” (Richards and Rodgers 2007: 151). The paradigm shift they propose is that from Situational Language Teaching, where “language was taught by practicing basic structures in meaningful situation-based activities” (152). This approach, as its name suggests, was based on language in specific situations and developed by British linguists from the 1920s to 1960s such as Palmer and Hornby. In Situational Language Teaching (SLT), new language points would be introduced and practiced situationally, with a focus on spoken language and a graded development from simple to more complex forms. As can be seen from Frisby’s definitions of SLT, “Word order. Structural words…will form the basis of our teaching” (Frisby 1957: 134), it was an approach, which developed from a form of structuralism.
The communicative approach, on the other hand, rather than taking structure as its underlying assumption, focuses on “the functional and communicative potential of language” (Richards and Rogers 2007: 153), suggesting a different approach. The aim of ‘communicative language teaching’ is defined by Paul Knight:
The desired outcome is that the learner can communicate successfully in the target language in real situations, rather than have a conscious understanding of the rules governing that language. (Knight 2007: 155)
In other words, in classroom situations, the teaching focus would not be on fabricating a situation in order to analyse a particular grammatical structure, but on the pragmatic use of language in a more realistic setting. In a role-play situation for example, a student may be asked to apply for a job over the telephone. What would be important here would not necessarily be the conscious understanding of the structures used, but the ability to successfully understand and be understood, and make the appropriate application, as the student may have to in a real-life situation. Teaching practices could reflect this emphasis not only at the level of syllabus design and tasks set but also through teacher feedback, organization and grading at classroom level.
Such an approach can then be seen as emphasizing communication over structure, or as Littlewood defines it, “it pays systematic attention to functional as well as structural aspects of language” (Littlewood 1981: 1). Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) can be traced as developing partly from Chomsky’s critiques of structural linguistic theory. In Syntactic Structures (1957) for example, he argues that the creative and uniqueness of individual sentences could not be accounted for purely structurally. By presenting examples of, say, a sentence which is grammatical yet makes no sense, “colorless green ideas sleep furiously” (Chomsky 1957: 12), Chomsky illustrated limitations with a structural grammar approach which did not account for language use in context. This then led to an increased focus on the pragmatics of language, combining the work of British functional linguists such as Firth, American sociolinguists such as Labov and philosophers of language such as J.L. Austin. Austin’s work, such as How to Do Things With Words (1962) emphasized the performativity of language, or how, pragmatically, language does things through the act of speaking, which again, can’t be accounted for by a purely structural approach.
Richards and Rodgers suggest, as well as reading the shift purely linguistically, that external historical factors also influenced developments. They argue shifts in European boundaries, the development of The Council of Europe, and the rise of the European Common Market, which demanded a more practical and functional language ability for citizens of member countries, also had an impact. This is interesting in terms of the current economic and political situation in Europe, mass migration and a shift in English needs, which is the context for my own research.
Communicative Language teaching can be defined then as:
An approach (and not a method) that aims to (a) make communicative competence the goal of language teaching and (b) develop procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledge the interdependence of language and communication.
(Richards and Rodgers 2007: 155)
As it is not a prescriptive ‘method’ then the communicative approach is open to being interpreted in differing ways. Howatt, for example, contrasts a more standard ‘weak version’ , which stresses communication as part of a wider program of teaching, with a ‘strong version’, which “advances the claim that language is acquired through communication” and so would focus entirely on communication (Howatt 1984: 279). Finnochiaro and Brumfit make a table to contrast key features of communicative teaching with previous methodologies. This includes interesting points for teaching such as allowing errors as “language is created by the individual, often through trial and error” (Finnochiaro and Brumfit 1983: 93), the role of the teacher to “help learners in any way that motivates them” rather than “control” them (92), or a focus on students interacting with each other rather than just with machines or “controlled materials” (92).
Ways of implementing communicational methodologies have also been varied. Some have argued that the syllabus should be abolished entirely to allow a focus on the needs of individual learners (Richards and Rodgers 2007: 165). Others suggest a “grammatically focused syllabus around which notions, functions, and communicational activities are grouped” (165). As the focus is on communication, classroom activities emphasise processes such as “information sharing, negotiation of meaning and interaction” (165). How this is done is left open. An example would be to have one student describing an image which another would have to guess. This would be what Littlewood classifies as a ‘functional communicational activity’ (Littlewood 1981). However, the approach also included what Littlewood defines as ‘social interaction activities’ so could incorporate, say, role-plays or debates. An ‘information gap’ activity would be appropriate, when one student has some information, which they have to share with others in order to make a decision or solve a problem. What is important is that they are more focused on the information they are communicating than on the structures they are using to communicate it. Harmer expands on this, “They should use a variety of language rather than just one language structure. The teacher will not intervene to stop the activity” (Harmer 2001: 85). Information Gap activities have also been used in contemporary teaching methodologies alongside developments in technologies. Joanna Norton for example developed an activity “that involved learners using mobile phones to send pictures and using email attachments” (NATECLA 2008b: 4).
As Raptou points out:
These types of activities are extremely effective…They give every student the opportunity to speak in the target language for an extended period of time, and students naturally produce more speech than they would otherwise. (Raptou 2001: 1)
2.1.4. Role of the Teacher
Rather than a ‘teacher-centred’ scenario where the teacher is the main speaker and leader, while students mainly listen and respond, here the teacher plays the role more of a ‘facilitator’, allowing a more student-centred model. These scenarios may be more fun for students than, say, the repetition of drills, and allow for an aware teacher to notice where problems lie and help students in appropriate ways, which may of course be different for each student. Raptou describes another advantage of this approach in that “students are forced to negotiate meaning because they must make what they are saying comprehensible to others in order to accomplish the task” (Raptou 2001: 2). This, she claims, leads to increased motivation, even participation, and an acceptable level of accuracy. Breen and Candlin have emphasized the role of “learner as negotiator” (Breen and Candlin 1980: 110), and the focus in this approach is definitely on the learner and the way they can negotiate the classroom procedures and activities to get meaningful results.
2.1.5. Problems with the Communicative Approach
There are also problems with such an approach however. Firstly, Richards and Rodgers point out that the “range of exercises is unlimited” (2007: 165), which on one hand may be good, but may also make implementation difficult, especially for teachers lacking imagination themselves. Secondly, communicational activities requires a certain level of knowledge of the language already, so would be harder to implement with students at a very basic level. Thirdly, it may be hard for the teacher, as ‘facilitator’, to have control over difficult situations which may arise . Fourthly, while a student-centred focus may be ideal for certain (positive-minded) students, it could be seen by others as offering the potential for laziness. Also, such emphasis on the learner may not be suitable for less able or less imaginative students. Fifthly, communicational activities are harder to assess than more grammatically focused exercises, and this may lead to more errors that go unnoticed or uncorrected. Accuracy may be sacrificed at the cost of communication. Bearing the advantages and disadvantages of such approaches in mind, communicative methodologies must be incorporated into the syllabus when appropriate but may not always provide an entire model of teaching. This requires an analysis of, say, what balance between communication and accuracy needs to be struck, abilities of the learners and the type of classroom situation.
Overall then, the communicative approach offers an important shift from the structure-based Situational Language Teaching. Influenced by developments in linguistics such as the work of Chomsky, it allows for the possibility of studying language as a form of pragmatic communication, rather than reducing it to merely a structured system. The approach is open enough to be interpreted broadly but I have outlined some of its main modes of implementation: student-centred teaching or social interaction and communication activities for example. It does raise problems of accuracy, assessment, motivation for poor learners and suitability for beginner students, but can definitely be drawn on in the implementation of teaching strategies in my chosen context. In contrast with the Communicative Approach, I will next look at the Grammar Translation Method. I have classified this specifically as a method rather than an approach to reflect the way it developed as a set of rigid rules rather than an open set of approaches.
2.2. Grammar Translation Method
2.2.1. Methodologies and History
The grammar translation method was established in the mid 19th century and based on the study of Latin. Its emphasis was heavily on the learning of grammar. Language was turned into a set of fixed rules, which the teacher would explain, students would copy and memorise. Titone describes the method as a way of “codify[ing] the foreign language into frozen rules of morphology and syntax” (Titone 1968: 27), emphasizing the prescriptive nature and fixity of the method, as well as its reductive approach to language, which pays no account of pragmatics or communication. According to this method, focus was on written work rather than spoken communication, and the purpose of work was mainly to drill in the application of learnt rules. Richards and Rodgers point out some of the main characteristics of this method. These include the focus on the sentence as the basic unit of teaching and language practice, an emphasis on accuracy, and teaching in the student’s native language (Richards and Rodgers 2007: 6).
2.2.2. Problems with the Grammar Translation Method
The method then can be seen in direct opposition to communication methodologies. It focuses on grammar, accuracy and writing rather than functional and communicative speech. It is teacher-centred, leaving little freedom for the student to adapt methods to their own particular needs, and it can be tedious, involving endless learning of lists and tables removed from informative contexts. As Richards and Rodgers point out, the method emerged mainly from a context where “the goal of language study is to learn a language in order to read its literature” (Richards and Rodgers 2007: 7), and it is still used today in contexts where literary study is important and there is no need for speaking knowledge of the language. Such contexts could include the study of foreign literature, or simply personal study in order to be able to read and underdtand literature (or other texts) in languages unfamiliar to the reader. Otherwise, it is uncommon and unpopular, “there is no literature that offers a rationale or justification for it” (Richards and Rodgers 2007: 7). As Scott Thornbury points out:
For a long time language teaching operated on the basis that accuracy should precede fluency, and that the only speaking learners were allowed was the oral manipulation of recently taught grammar structures.
(Thornbury 2008: 115).
However, this relation between accuracy and fluency has more recently been challenged, leading to the replacing of the grammar translation method by more communicative approaches. Overall, in the context of contemporary language teaching, increased focus on fluency or communication over accuracy, and on participation and engagement over prescriptive methods and unengaging teacher-centred practices, have led to the decline in relevance of the grammar translation method. It may still be used however, in collaboration with other approaches and strategies, at moments when accuracy is vital. I will now go on to look at the Functional Method Syllabus.
2.3. Functional Method Syllabus
2.3.1. Methodologies and History
A syllabus is made up of four main elements: aims; content; methodology and evaluation. Michael P. Breen defines the functional method syllabus as, “focusing on particular purposes of language and how these would be expressed linguistically” (Breen 2007: 152). This suggests a break with pre-1970 conventions by focusing on use of language rather than on linguistic knowledge. Their development was influenced by Halliday’s functional account of language use. Halliday argued for the importance of functionality in linguistics, as it is only when language is actually used that all of its functions and meanings come into play. (see for example Richards and Rodgers 2007: 159). Such syllabuses were common throughout the 1970s as Breen expands, “Special purpose syllabuses and teaching materials were quickly developed focusing upon language knowledge and skills needed for academic study or specific occupations, e.g. engineering or medicine” (Breen 2007:152). They could also be useful for other occupations such as catering or hotel work.
2.4.2. Problems for Functional Method Syllabuses
However, such development of syllabuses has also been criticised . Firstly, from a perspective of limitation:
The teaching of a repertoire of functions or special purpose language was considered by some as limiting the learner’s potential to certain fixed communicative situations or fixed social and occupational roles. (Breen 2007: 152)
According to this criticism, as proposed by Brumfit (1984),while more general syllabuses would allow learners to adapt knowledge to specific situations, those on functional method may be restricted to this particular situation, limiting the possibility of them adapting their language to other situations, and so leaving them trapped in a particular linguistic or social role. This criticism is relevant in the context of my research into teaching immigrant populations. On one hand, functional language use could be vital for workers to be able to undertake specific occupations. On the other hand, this could also restrict their participation in the culture to this occupation only, leading to problems if they have to change jobs, or take part in other activities outside of the occupational role. Liz Chiu, in her report on ethnic minority community centres, has pointed out the potential role of ESOL in addressing “social divisions between different sections of multi-cultural British society” (Chiu 2002: 2). Limiting migrant workers to functional relationships to language, may well lead to the problem of broader cultural and community cohesion remaining unaddressed.
Another contradiction pointed out by Chiu is that while it may be useful for workers to be trained in a functional occupational way, this may stop them being able to actually get these jobs, which sometimes have traditional grammar-focused entry tests. (Chiu 2002: 33). Her response to this is to propose the teaching of basic grammar at National Curriculum Entry Levels 1 and 2 as the foundation for all learners, including those who already have a functional fluency in the language. Such proposals show how demands of the ESOL National Curriculum such as “Writing EL2: Fill in / copy information, including personal details, accurately and legibly on forms” (Chiu 2002: 35) can be interpreted and directed towards functional use, but combined with more grammatical approaches to produce a more balanced syllabus.
Another criticism suggested that while functional method syllabuses differed in some ways from formal ones, they retained their ‘synthetic’ nature, meaning that learners had to accumulate knowledge in a decontextualised way, then ‘synthesize’ this knowledge in real-life situations (Breen 2007: 152). Further, they were seen as only ‘partial’ as “either formal or functional knowledge of linguistic structures or utterances were just two elements within broader communicative competence” (152). Breen suggests that they are restrictive as they focus too much on how linguists define language, rather than how language learning is actually done from the perspective of the learner. As my argument is situated mainly in a functional context, I must bear these criticisms in mind in relation to the context of my argument, making sure to strike a balance between linguistic theories, pragmatic language use and appropriate strategies of classroom implication.
2.4.3. Development and Implementation
Functional method syllabuses were largely replaced by ‘task-based syllabuses’, which drew on communicative methods in order to focus more on how language is learnt, on a broader context, and on language as a whole. As Breen argues, “the goal of the syllabus designer became the provision of suitable tasks to encourage interaction and, through it, negotiation for meaning” (Breen 2007: 154). Others have agreed with this, proposing that syllabus focus should be on task rather than form or function (Prabhu 1984). The notion of a task can be interpreted in a more modular and open way than a function. For example, the task of filling in a form could be used as a classroom exercise, and this could then be adapted to activities including job applications but also others such as, say opening a bank account.
Task-based learning seems a more open way then to approach teaching. Overall however, a combination of this with functional strategies, combined with an awareness of critiques and limitations, would be important in my context. Functional syllabuses are still very much in use today. Livia Faqirne Patel for example co-ordinates an ESOL for Work course which focuses on compulsory topics such as job search and interview techniques (NATECLA 2008b; 11). Such courses, and the Government ESOL syllabus, draw on histories of functional method syllabuses, which are therefore still important today. Finally in this section, I will now go on to examine The Callan Method.
2.4. The Callan Method
2.4.1. Methodologies and History
The Callan Method was established in 1959 and, according to its website, claims to teach a language “in a quarter of the time” of conventional methods (Callan 2009), and to have been established as a more effective way to learn than grammar translation methods. It does this through a rigid fixed methodology focused around speech and speed. The teacher asks questions quickly and the student must respond. It focuses on basics of language so that, “students are never distracted by rare or complicated vocabulary” (Callan 2009) and claims to develop attention and memory. Its press materials repeatedly emphasise its efficiency, and how it is ideal for learning language for practical skills rather than intellectual pleasure. In this way, it shares aims with functional syllabus methods. Students are constantly involved in the process, and repetition is used as a key component of learning.
It is a ‘direct method’ of teaching and its oral focus can be traced as developing from the audiolingual method, based on assumptions such as, “foreign language learning is basically a process of mechanical habit” (Richards and Rodgers 2007: 57) and that target language items are learnt better if presented in spoken form rather than written form first. It is also open then to criticisms of audiolingual methods in general. Chomsky for example, questions its linguistic assumptions by arguing that, “language is not a habit structure” as innovation is also important (Chomsky 1966: 153). As Richards and Rodgers summarise, such methods may teach “language-like behaviours” but not “competence” (2007: 66). Despite these criticisms of its mechanization of language however, the Callan Method is still currently popular, and, according to its website, the Callan School in London is “the largest private English school in Europe” (Callan 2009).
As I have argued, The Callan Method can be seen as developing from audiolingual approaches, and sharing some of their strategies. It uses techniques such as ‘drilling’ for example, which is the use of repetition and imitation of chunks of language, generally in a mechanical way, after stimulus from the teacher or audio material. The purpose of it is to cement learned material into a student’s mind, and for the student to practice speaking in order for grammatical structures to seem natural. Scott Thornbury points out some of the benefits of drilling. Firstly, that “it may in fact be a useful noticing technique” (Thornbury 2008: 64). If repetitions are incorrect then the teacher can notice this and correct them. Secondly, he suggests that the use of repetition has an important effect on the memory of language:
Drilling may also function to move items from working memory into long-term memory, just as we tend to memorise new PIN codes or telephone numbers by repeating them a number of times. (64)
Thirdly, he suggests that drilling “provides a means of gaining articulatory control over language” (64). In other words, through repetition, students get used to actually pronouncing and properly articulating the words and phrases, rather than just seeing them written down.
2.4.3. Problems for The Callan Method
While drilling may have benefits, it has also been criticized. Paul Knight points out for example “that it promoted mindless repetition over communication” (Knight 2007: 152). This suggests that techniques of drilling fail to teach complexities of language, and ways in which language is used in pragmatic situations. It focuses on speaking rather than writing, and on grammar and unconscious absorption of information, rather than communication. It is also very ‘teacher centred’ giving no opportunity for students to respond in any other way than the drill requires. The drill allows little imagination or creativity on behalf of the student, which may lower motivation and willingness to learn. It also allows for little imagination or creativity on behalf of the teacher. These criticisms may indeed be directed at the Callan Method as a whole. While it may be effective in certain situations, it allows no space for creativity or imagination. Also, as it has been marketed as a rigid fixed method, it allows no possibility for change, leading its language use to seem dated.
In this section, I have considered four approaches to ESOL teaching. Communicative approaches focus on the use of language as communication, suggesting a shift from approaches which emphasise structure. Benefits of this included the way it is non-restrictive in its implementation, pragmatic in its language use, student-focused and open to imagination on behalf of the teacher and student. Negative factors included potential problems of accuracy and assessment. The Grammar Translation method allowed more focus on accuracy but allows for little participation or engagement beyond restrictive roles, and has now largely been superseded by communicative approaches. Functional Method Syllabuses raised interesting issues for my research. On one hand, educating migrants in language for specific occupations could be a useful approach. On the other hand, this could be limiting and non-effective in a broader cultural context. In this section, I also considered the role of task-based learning as a variation on functional approaches. Finally, The Callan Method claims to achieve a lot of success in its promotional materials but it seems open to criticisms leveled at audiolingual approaches as a whole, offering a restrictive approach lacking in potential for imagination or creativity. In terms of the practical application of ESOL strategies, these approaches need not be kept entirely separate. There are potentials for overlap including for example lessons which mix communicative tasks with grammatical drills. Using this section as the backdrop for my research, I will now go on to collect and analyse my primary data.
Methods of analysis
- Results of Interview
- Conclusion and evaluation
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language issues ref, get journal and check this