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Guiding Principles of The Communicative Approach

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Guiding Principles of The Communicative Approach

The communicative approach is one of the most popular and famous methods used by instructors all over the world. It is covered in many publications and many educators and experts detailed it in their literature.

This approach is known for its effectiveness in making learning funny and motivating. It is characterized mainly with five principles. However; to cut it short in our article we will summarize them and highlight the features and hope this essay will serve as a guiding principles of the communicative approach.


1. Comprehension precedes production:

Students are introduced to the language item(s) before they are asked to use it. The presentation stage must precedes the practice. The teacher should prepare well in advance all the language items in focus. He / she plans an outline of the lesson also known as lesson plan.


The plan will be beneficial in saving time and keep the instructor out of surprises that may arise. And always remember without a map one could be lost and will not know where the journey would end. That’s why preparation is critical in this approach as pupils have more freedom compared to other approaches.


2. Production emerges in stages:


Production is the final stage after the presentation and practice stages (for more details about these stages check out this article). Pupils are asked to produce items or carrying tasks only after acquiring the targeted language items. Production will reflect the future needs of the learner.


3. The target is meaningful communication:


What matters in the communicative approach is a clear message conveyed by the learners. Thus, as long as the students can communicate clearly, all structure or grammar are tolerated. In this approach the theory of learning involves activities from real communication.


The tasks are oriented to carry out meaningful tasks and authentic activities. Using language which is meaningful to the learner is essential. Using language to create interactions with others. Thus, language is used to learn and to discover real situation and knowledge of the world (K.O.W).


Basic Principles of Communicative Approach




4. Affective filter is lowered:


The teacher would tolerate grammar mistakes. He /she would not interfere on every instance whenever there is a grammar or structure mistake while speaking. All this because the aim of this approach is to tolerate mistakes as long as there is a clear message conveyed and communication going on. It also Includes an affective level of interpersonal relationships which may consist of several functional skills as well as linguistic aims.


5. Language is acquired through interaction as well as learned from the teacher:


Students learn from peer-to-peer interaction as well as from their teacher. In the communicative approach acquisition does not only come from the instructor but it is a both way process: learners can learn from each others. The instructors should send positive feedback that serves as a motivation to the learners.


The student is a joint negotiator not just within the group and within the classroom procedures but also with the different activities which his / her peers carry out. The outcome is share whether successful communication as well as failed communication. This is a joint responsibility and not of speaker or listener individually.



By the end, we hope you now have a further overview of this popular teaching approach and its guiding principles. To share your experience in using it or comment on these feature, feel free to comment your precious thoughts below.

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Ezzeddine Yahyaoui

A Senior teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers. Teaching you how to navigate your way through balanced literacy brings me joy. My desire is to give you the tools needed to move your students forward! I have been creating high quality educational resources, tech tutorials, entertainment and training sessions and serving education & learning since 2009.

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