ERIC Number: ED297598
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Dec
Community: Prerequisite for Communication in Language Classes.
Little, Greta D.; Sanders, Sara L.
Linguists have recognized the need for appropriateness, sincerity, non-obviousness, and cooperation between speakers in naturally occurring conversation. It is assumed that the speakers listen to each other and in some sense "care" about one another at the time of interaction. In the second language classroom such a sense of mutual concern may not exist. The concept of communicative competence has created a lively, communication-oriented style of language instruction, but a crucial difference between natural talk and classroom conversation has been overlooked. In natural talk, speakers enter the discourse because they want to and stay in it because they have some common ground with the other speaker. Language classrooms often lack such motivation, even when the activity meets the requirements of good communicative teaching. A comparison of experiences as ethnographic participant-observers in beginning French and German classes illustrates that a sense of classroom community is a crucial prerequisite to meaningful language practice. Teachers can provide a classroom environment conducive to eye contact in all exchanges, frequent use of student names, use of meaningful questions, reinforcement of all target language use, and reduction of individual competition. (Author/MSE)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (San Francisco, CA, December 27-30, 1987).