Communicative Competence

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Communicative Competence: The Goal of Language Teaching (Mother Tongue, Filipino, English):

Communicative Competence: The Goal of Language Teaching (Mother Tongue, Filipino, English)

Communicative Competence:

Communicative Competence is the learner's ability to understand and use language appropriately to communicate in authentic social and school environments. The term communicative competence was born out of resistance to the concept of linguistic competence introduced by Noam Chomsky (1965).

Four Aspects of Communicative Competence:

Four Aspects of Communicative Competence Michael Canale and Merrill Swain (1980) identified four components, namely: Grammatical Competence Sociolinguistic Competence Discourse Competence Strategic Competence

Grammatical Competence:

Grammatical Competence is concerned with mastery of the linguistic code which includes vocabulary knowledge as well as knowledge of morphological, syntactic, semantic, phonetic, and orthographic rules. The components of grammar include: Morphology - the study of the internal structure of words.


2) Syntax - the arrangement of words in a sentence. 3) Semantics - the study of meaning of linguistic expressions. 4) Phonetics - a branch of linguistics that comprises the study of sounds of human speech or---in the case of sign languages---the equivalent aspects of sign. 5) Orthography - the methodology of writing a language; it includes rules of spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, word breaks, emphasis, and punctuation.

Sociolinguistic Competence:

Sociolinguistic Competence This refers to possession of knowledge and skills for appropriate language use in a social context. In Hymes model, sociolinguistic competence is knowledge of rules and conventions which underlie the appropriate comprehension and language use in different sociolinguistic and sociocultural contexts. As noted by Elaine R. Silliman et al. (2002), "All speakers, regardless of the dialect they speak, tailor their discourse and linguistic appropriateness."

Discourse Competence:

Discourse Competence also called interactional competence which includes textual and rhetorical competence. It deals with cohesion and coherence in different types of texts both textual and rhetorical. Textual competence - is a measure of how well an individual can read different texts and understand them. Different kinds of text include fiction, nonfiction, narratives, instructional guides, procedural guides, expository texts, hortatory text and other types of written communication, like transcriptions of recorded conversations or technical materials.


Rhetorical or effective discourse competence - is often defined by how well an individual can contribute to a conversation, how well the individual can understand what is being said by a range of speakers, how well the individual can interject his or her own opinions and how well that person can express ideas to an audience within a general scenario.

Strategic Competence:

Strategic Competence This refers to "a speaker's ability to adapt his/her use of verbal and nonverbal language to compensate for communication problems caused by the speaker's lack of understanding of proper grammar use and/or insufficient knowledge of social behavioral and communication norms" (Brown, 1994). It is the speaker's use of techniques intended to preserve communication, repair breakdowns in communication, or prevent miscommunication.

The Principles of Language Learning:

The Principles of Language Learning


Brown's principles of language of learning are group into 3 domains: Cognitive Linguistic Socioaffective

Cognitive Principles:

Cognitive Principles 1. Anticipation of reward -- Learners are motivated to perform by the thought of a reward tangible or untangible, long or short-term. What are the implications of these to language teaching ? Provide genuine praise, encouragement and compliments. Remind students of long-term rewards in learning the target language. Encourage students to compliment and support each other.


4) For poorly motivated students, external rewards such as gold stars and stickers or issuing certain privileges may spark some interest. Enable them to make noticeable progress on difficult tasks. 5) Infect them with your enthusiasm for language learning.


2. Meaningful Learning -- Providing a realistic context to use language is thought to lead better long term retention, as opposed to rote learning. Here are some classroom implications: Make lessons meaningful by appealing to students' interests, academic and career goals. Link new topic or concept to something the students know to make the topic meaningful. This was cited in MTB-MLE.


3) Avoid pitfalls of rote learning such as: too much grammar explanation too many abstract principles and theories too much drilling and/or memorization -- thus the term "drill-to-kill" activities whose purposes are not clear activities that do not contribute to accomplishing the goals of the lesson, unit or course


f) techniques that are so mechanical or tricky that students get centered on the mechanics instead of the language or meanings (Brown, 1994). In other words, observe these Don'ts : Too much grammar explanation Abstract principles and theories Too many drills and memories Activities with unclear purposes Extraneous activities Distractions that take the focus off of learning


3. Automaticity -- This is subconscious processing of language or fluency. Automaticity is the road to fluency. Here are some of implications of this principle to the classroom (Brown, 2002): Automaticity isn't gained overnight. Don't overwhelmed your students with grammar. A large proportion of your lessons are focused on the use of language in genuine and natural context.


4. Strategic Investment -- Success in learning is dependent on the time and effort learners spend in mastering the language. 5. Intrinsic Motivation -- The most potent learning " rewards " to enhance performance are those that stem from the needs, wants and desires within the learner (Brown, 1994).

Linguistic Principles:

Linguistic Principles 1. Native Language Effect -- A learner's native language creates both facilitating and interfering effects on learning. Brown (1994) suggests some ways to counteract the interfering language affects. Acquaint the learner with the native language cause of the error. Help your students understand that not everything about their native language will cause error. Coax students into thinking directly in the target language and not to resort to translation as they comprehend and produce language.


2. Communicative Competence -- Fluency and use are just as important as accuracy and usage . " Communicative goals are best achieved by giving due attention to language use and just usage, to fluency and not just accuracy, to authentic language and contexts, and to students' eventual need to apply classroom learning to previously unrehearsed contexts in the real world " (Brown,1994). For Language teachers, this means give grammar attention but don't neglect the other components of communicative competence;


2) use language that students will actually encounter in the real world and provide genuine techniques for the actual conveyance of information not just rote techniques. 3. Interlanguage -- In second language learning, learners manifest a systematic progression of acquisition of sounds and words and structures and discourse features. What does this imply for Language teachers ? Language teachers must strike a balance between positive and negative feedback.

Socioaffective Domain:

Socioaffective Domain 1. Language - Culture Connection - Learning a language also involves learning a complex system of cultural customs, values and ways of thinking, feeling or acting (Brown, 2000). What are the implications of this to Language teachers ? Discuss cultural differences emphasizing that no culture is better than another. Consciously connect culture and language. Include among your techniques certain activities or materials that illustrate the connection between language and culture.


4) Don't be culturally offensive in the class. 5) Use appropriate language. Language appropriateness depends on: setting of the communication topic relationship among the people communicaing knowing what the taboos are what politeness indices are used what the politically correct term would be for something how a specific aptitude is expressed


2. Self - Confidence - This is self-esteem or "I can do it" principle. Success in a learning a language requires that the learner believe that they can learn it (Brown, 1994). "Learners' belief that they indeed are fully capable of accomplishing a task is at least partially a factor in their eventual success in attaining the task" (Brown, 1994). What should language teachers do ? Give ample verbal and non-verbal assurances to students. Sequence techniques from easier to difficult build confidence. Brown (1994) claims that the "eventual success that learners attain in a task is at least partially a factor of their belief that they indeed are fully capable of accomplishing the task."


3. Risk - Taking - Students who are self-confident take risks and accomplish more. What can Language teachers do to encourage both accuracy and risk-taking ? Carefully sequence techniques to ensure learners success. Create an atmosphere in the classroom that encourages students to try out language, venture a response. Provide reasonable challenges. Return students' risky attempts with positive affirmation. 4. Language Ego - Alexander Guiora, a researcher in personality variables in second language acquisition, defines language ego as the " the identity a person


develops in reference to the language he or she speaks." Brown (2007) notes that "Oneself-identity is inextricably bound up with one's language, for it is in the communicative process... that such identities are confirmed, shaped, and reshaped." The new language may sound funny and students laugh at funny pronunciation or mispronunciation during speaking tasks. Or students may feel silly or unable to learn the language and so do not participate in language activities. Or the students may percieve the learning of a second language to be tantamount to rendering their first language obsolete, an affront to their native-language-based egos (Brown, 1994)


In these instances, what should the Language teachers do ? Brown suggests the following: Display supportive attitude to students. Considering learners' language ego states, know who to call on; who to ask volunteer information; when to correct a student's speech error; who to place in small groups or pairs and how to be 'tough' you can be to a student.

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