The Communicative Approach - Why it works so well for our learners?

As a former language teacher, and now Manager of Training and Development with Prolang, I have a unique perspective of how trainings are delivered from both inside the classroom and behind the scenes. I’ve worked hands-on with learners helping them achieve their language goals and have also established company-wide programs that enrich the language learning for all involved. I’ve spoken with many learners about their specific language needs and have heard time and time again about the importance of practicing the target language.

Many language learners that come to Prolang have the language skills and knowledge but don’t have the practical implication of the language. They are interested in improving their communication related to their work to help them become more functional and comfortable in a foreign language but are not given the opportunity to speak and have difficulty developing their language skills. One of the strengths of language courses at Prolang is the flexibility and adaptability that we can provide our clients; we rely on our instructors to provide personalized, communicative lessons that will help learners to improve their language skills through dynamic, interesting activities that may be applied to their personal and professional lives.

The communicative approach is an ideal teaching method used to deliver the type of lessons described above. It is based on teaching language implicitly through structured lessons based on real life communication where learners can explore the language and learn how to use vocabulary and various grammar forms through context. The instructors act as facilitators and guide the learners to accurately use target language and help to solidify their knowledge of grammar.

The aim of the communicative approach is to promote interaction in the target language and to motivate learners to speak as much as possible. The instructor removes themselves from the discussion and allows the learners to speak without reservation or hesitation – first, developing spontaneous and natural speech and then working on accuracy. Developing oral fluency is not the only goal; learners may also use listening, reading, and writing activities in the communicative approach – so long as the comprehension and production activities also have an oral production component. The possibilities for activities are endless and so is the room to grow!
I encourage Prolang language instructors to use the communicative approach in their language courses and support them on appropriate usage and provide ideas of how to implement this approach for all levels. I do it because it works – I’ve seen it first-hand and from the testimonials of our learners and satisfied clients.

By Matthew King