Achieving Genuine Communication in the Classroom Assignment Requirements
“Well prepared teachers have a large repertoire of activities for their classes. They can organise preparation and controlled output practice; they can direct students in the acquiring of receptive skills and organise genuinely communicative activities. This repertoire of activities enables them to have varied plans and achieve an activities balance.”
“The Practice of English Language Teaching” Harmer
Which of the techniques outlined in this module, and elsewhere in the modules on skills and materials, would you use in order to achieve genuine communication in the classroom?
This task should refer to other areas of the course. You should aim to write about 750 words.
Achieving Genuine Communication in the Classroom
Genuine communication forms the most important party of the learning environment among students of different languages studying English. As much as a teacher may stand before the classroom and share instructional components, it may not be a guarantee of learning among the students if they are not engaged in the learning process. Interactive learning has proven to be one of the most effective ways through which the teacher can make learning not just effective but interesting to his or her students. There are various techniques that could be upheld by the teacher in the classroom setting to achieve genuine communication among the students.
According to Jeremy Harmer, the first step towards achieving genuine communication involves the teacher creating an atmosphere that is supportive and friendly to the students and makes them feel at ease, thus encouraging them to engage in natural communication (Harmer). For the teacher to achieve in this, it is important for them to develop a genuine interest in the students, there needs within the classroom, and their outside lives. As such, it is highly beneficial for the teacher to know his or her students and to create a relationship that is both professional and friendly. One approach in initiating this could be through the use of “familiarization” activities and games during the beginning of the course (Harmer). This will allow the students to learn about one another and the preferences and interests of others. In addition, it is through such arrangements that the students can develop a clear understanding of the teacher.
As much as it is always good to begin by establishment of a friendly environment, it is important for the teacher to give more consideration to the sustainability of such an environment. If the teacher fails to adequately manage the classroom or offer the students a wide range of activities that would stimulate communication, then any pre-established friendly environment may die (Harmer). Thus, one of the other approaches that could be upheld to ensure achievement of genuine communication within the classroom is promoting good seating arrangements. Seating arrangements can enhance natural communication among the students and hence facilitate the learning process in entirety (Harwood 132). To properly arrange seating within the classroom, it is important for the teacher to consider if the class is multinational or not, the level of the group, and the size of the group. Evidence has it that small student groups, at the same level, are much easier to manage as compared to large groups at different levels. In cases where the teacher has small classes of ten or less students, the teacher can employ all the seating arrangements at his or her disposal. Nevertheless, for some cases, the teacher may be faced by large classes, an aspect that makes it difficult to monitor some of the seating arrangements like seating in pairs. During grouping of students in a multinational classroom, the teacher ought to avoid placing students from the same nation in the same groups (Harwood 156). Mixing students from different nationalities together confines them to the use of English in communication even if they such students are not certain about their use of grammar.
On the other hand, as much as the seating arrangement matters in determining genuine communication within the classroom, designing activities and materials within the classrooms to promote engagement of all the students is a highly important process. One of the approaches through which this could be achieved is through establishing a visual-auditory-kinaesthetic (VAK) presentation of the materials and activities (Harwood 172). As such, the teacher should make proper use of visual aids and texts, video and audio materials, and any other activities or games that would facilitate learning. It is important for the activities and materials that are chosen for each particular lesson to complement each other. Combining various types of activities makes the learning experience enjoyable and presents the instructions in different ways to allow for better understanding among the different students (Harmer). Case in point, the teacher could introduce the use of flash cards in a lesson that involves learning about body parts, which could be combined with introduction of a game that would allow the students to respond to instructions from the teacher with demonstrations, including touching the nose and touching the earlobe, among others. The teacher can then introduce the students to a listening exercise, which would require them to write down a summary of what they hear.
It is important to note
that as much as the teacher maintains a good relationship with the students and
allows the students to transverse the national or linguistic barriers that
exists between them, they will manage to initiate communication among them. As
much as the teacher has academic goals and objectives to achieve, establishment
of a social environment of learning that will ensure that the students easily
interact with others from different nationalities. Such an interaction creates
a language barrier that can only be broken by the use of English as a common
language of communication among the students.
Harmer, Jeremy. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, 2015.
Harwood, Nigel. English Language Teaching Materials: Theory and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010.