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Students' communicative behaviour in a foreign language classroom

Flyman Mattsson, Anna LU (1999) In Working Papers, Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics 47.
Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to give a description of the communicativity in a foreign language classroom and also of students’ communicative behaviour. Since the beginning of the 80s communication has been widely discussed as one of the main features in instructed language learning. The focus on form, that traditionally has been dominant in the language classroom, was combined or even replaced by focus on meaning and situations similar to authentic learning settings. Immersion classrooms were created to fulfil this need for

natural communication and students learned the new language by using it as a means to communicate other subjects. After some time, however, several studies in the immersion classrooms showed that although the... (More)
The purpose of this paper is to give a description of the communicativity in a foreign language classroom and also of students’ communicative behaviour. Since the beginning of the 80s communication has been widely discussed as one of the main features in instructed language learning. The focus on form, that traditionally has been dominant in the language classroom, was combined or even replaced by focus on meaning and situations similar to authentic learning settings. Immersion classrooms were created to fulfil this need for

natural communication and students learned the new language by using it as a means to communicate other subjects. After some time, however, several studies in the immersion classrooms showed that although the students’ communicative competence was highly developed, their grammatical skills did

not measure up to those of a native speaker (Harley & Swain 1984). The traditional methods, however, did not provide students with the communicative skills that are necessary for the use of their second language outside the classroom. It is therefore necessary to find a balance between authentic communication and instruction in the classroom for the students to reach the highest possible level of L2 proficiency. Typical behaviours in traditional instruction are error correction, simplified input and a limited range

of language discourse types while in more communicative settings, meaning is emphasized over form with a limited amount of error correction as a result, input is simplified by the use of contextual cues and a larger variety of

discourse types is used (Lightbown & Spada 1993).

The teaching situation in Swedish upper secondary schools (senior high school, Swedish gymnasium), as far as foreign languages are concerned, is still quite traditional in many places and there is generally a lack of authentic communication, even though the curriculum emphasizes the importance of communicative competence and intercultural understanding (Skolverket 1996). The purpose of this study is, therefore, to describe communication in these classrooms and establish the students’ communicative behaviour. In the classroom, several different kinds of activities occur where communication varies considerably. Typical activities will, therefore, be categorised with the intention to describe the students’ communication as distinctly as possible. It is also relevant to compare the communicative level in these different groups of activities as it will be of importance in future studies of the role of communication in the acquisition of a foreign language. The method that has been used for this purpose is an observation scheme referred to as COLT. The scheme has been adjusted for the present study as

its original intention did not include the categorisation and comparison of different classroom activities. (Less)
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Working Paper
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published
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in
Working Papers, Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics
volume
47
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
f3684775-c579-4fdc-a412-e7c0c44b2054 (old id 528691)
alternative location
http://www.ling.lu.se/disseminations/pdf/47/Flyman.pdf
date added to LUP
2007-09-27 13:14:46
date last changed
2016-04-16 11:10:03
@misc{f3684775-c579-4fdc-a412-e7c0c44b2054,
  abstract     = {The purpose of this paper is to give a description of the communicativity in a foreign language classroom and also of students’ communicative behaviour. Since the beginning of the 80s communication has been widely discussed as one of the main features in instructed language learning. The focus on form, that traditionally has been dominant in the language classroom, was combined or even replaced by focus on meaning and situations similar to authentic learning settings. Immersion classrooms were created to fulfil this need for<br/><br>
natural communication and students learned the new language by using it as a means to communicate other subjects. After some time, however, several studies in the immersion classrooms showed that although the students’ communicative competence was highly developed, their grammatical skills did<br/><br>
not measure up to those of a native speaker (Harley &amp; Swain 1984). The traditional methods, however, did not provide students with the communicative skills that are necessary for the use of their second language outside the classroom. It is therefore necessary to find a balance between authentic communication and instruction in the classroom for the students to reach the highest possible level of L2 proficiency. Typical behaviours in traditional instruction are error correction, simplified input and a limited range<br/><br>
of language discourse types while in more communicative settings, meaning is emphasized over form with a limited amount of error correction as a result, input is simplified by the use of contextual cues and a larger variety of<br/><br>
discourse types is used (Lightbown &amp; Spada 1993).<br/><br>
The teaching situation in Swedish upper secondary schools (senior high school, Swedish gymnasium), as far as foreign languages are concerned, is still quite traditional in many places and there is generally a lack of authentic communication, even though the curriculum emphasizes the importance of communicative competence and intercultural understanding (Skolverket 1996). The purpose of this study is, therefore, to describe communication in these classrooms and establish the students’ communicative behaviour. In the classroom, several different kinds of activities occur where communication varies considerably. Typical activities will, therefore, be categorised with the intention to describe the students’ communication as distinctly as possible. It is also relevant to compare the communicative level in these different groups of activities as it will be of importance in future studies of the role of communication in the acquisition of a foreign language. The method that has been used for this purpose is an observation scheme referred to as COLT. The scheme has been adjusted for the present study as<br/><br>
its original intention did not include the categorisation and comparison of different classroom activities.},
  author       = {Flyman Mattsson, Anna},
  language     = {eng},
  series       = {Working Papers, Lund University, Dept. of Linguistics},
  title        = {Students' communicative behaviour in a foreign language classroom},
  volume       = {47},
  year         = {1999},
}