Lade Inhalt...

Storytelling and communicative language teaching

communicative language teaching CLT

Hausarbeit (Hauptseminar) 2007 10 Seiten

Didaktik - Englisch - Pädagogik, Sprachwissenschaft



1. What is communicative language teaching how do I recognize it when I bumb into it?

2. Communicative language teaching on the bases of Storytelling

3. Pre-listening activities

4. Telling the story and While-listening activities

5. Post-listening activities

6. Conclusion


1. What is communicative language teaching how do I recognize it when I bumb into it?

Nowadays it is necessary to be able to speak english, because this language is getting more and more important and it is the basis of international communication. So pupils have to learn as early as possible to have a strong command of this language and to use it effectively. Communicative language teaching (CLT) emphasizes communicative skills and wants communicative practise at the centre of classroom learning. According to Savignon, communicative competence is the central theoretical concept of CLT (2004). She defines this competence with the terms of expressions, interpretation and negociation of meaning. Hedge says that it is important for CLT to encourage pupils to communicate their needs, ideas and opinions and also that they are able to operate effectively in the real world (2000:44-45). She writes that in the communicative language classroom pupils have to learn to use that language in certain settings and authentic situations. According to both authors, CLT helps to develop certain communicative skills and to come to terms with the language without any grave problems of expressing thoughts, wishes, opinions,etc.

The language learner has to indentify him with that language so that he can apply his knowledge without any fear and uncertainity. And it is important that the teacher applies grammar based exercises as an integral part of real live tasks. Otherwise the learners could get bored, detered or even overtaxed with grammatical units. Hedge claims too, that a teacher`s intervention to correct should be as minimal as possible (2000:58). We can integrate grammatical units in activities where learners are supposed to talk about their next holiday plans and therefore they need to use several future forms or even if-clauses to express themselves in a correct and cohorent way (Hedges, 2000:61). Such activities are both characteristic and essential for a typical CLT-lesson.

CLT tries to engage the learners to speak fluenty so that they don`t get afraid of beeing juged for grammar mistakes. Pupils should have the ability to speak with a good but not necessary perfect command of grammar, intonation or vocabulary. They should attend to produce continous speech without causing comprehension difficulties. It`s the task of the teacher to motivate his pupils for this and to integrate them in the shaping of the lessons. Hedge claims that a lesson, based on communicative learning, involves the teacher in a wider range of roles beyond that of providing and presenting new language (2000:63). This means, that the role of a teacher is different than in traditional classes or other school subjects. We learned in our seminar that the role of a foreign language teacher is more a moderator or an organizer than a leader. His new task is managing learning, setting up activities, organizing material recourses, guiding learners in groupwork, encouraging contributions, monotoring activities and also diagnosing the further needs of the students

( Hedge,2000:63). He has the task to create a learning process that is mostly based on the participation of the learners. It is a characteristic for communicative language teaching classrooms that the lessons are based on learner-centered activities. Therefore it is important to create and emphasize real live tasks and authentic situations like talking about wishes and needs or social interactions and role plays like acting a shopping scene or a dialogue between two friends, etc. The learners should not be dependent exclusively on the teacher or on given materials to provide the language (Hedge,2000:57). In a typical CLT-classroom, pupils should learn to be indepentend and to complete a task on their own. Therefore it is necessary to have group works or projects where pupils have the opportunity to develop responsebility.

There are many group works which are appropriate, e.g. the teacher divides the class in groups of four pupils and gives every group another different question about a book which they have just read and want now to start a final dicussion. The pupils have to arrange themselves and they have to dicuss about their assignment and collect different ideas and opinions. After discussing, they sum up their conclusions and present it to the other members of the class. It`s important not to ask complex questions or questions which can be answered with only yes or no. They should have about 10-15 minutes to discuss the questions. Possible questions could be: which character was the most interesting for you and why?, With which adjectives would you describe the book?, Which scene did you like most?, Which themes occur in the book?, How would the story end if you where the author?… After every presentation, the pupils should have some time to add something or to ask questions.

This lesson involves the gaps of opinion, reasoning, information and imagination and hence creates an authentic situation. Pupils have the opportunity give a response to a given situation and to express their opinions, they have to reflect about something and make conclusions and as well as they transfer information to an uninformed group and they also have room for giving free rein to their creativity and to bring in their own ideas. Here the pupils are supposed to learn how to present something to a certain group and to speak freely and convincing. When you recognize all the points and examples which are mentioned above and if you feel that you know more at the end of the lesson than before, you can be pretty sure that you are right in a CLT-classroom.

2. Communicative language teaching on the bases of Storytelling

To impart knowledge, it is always nessecery to practice one’s productive and receptive skills. Storytelling is a very good approach, especially for three to sixth graders, to get in contact with communicative skills. The opinion that storytelling is anything but communicative is not very convincing, because there are many different possibilities to create a storytelling lesson that can be for all intents and purposes communicative, especially for second language learners.

Children love stories and like to use their imagination in every way they can. The children get the opportunity to leave their own average life and to get know different life styles (Stein 1999:41-43). Stories can represent other cultures, so that the children get to know different conventions and patterns of life. Or they can present special complex problems in which a protagnist tries to cope with a certain situation. Sharing and creating a common experience in storytelling aids in the development of a child's ability to interpret events beyond his immediate experience (Baker, 1977:17). They can learn how to master problems or how to evade them. Petra Bosenius states in her essay Geschichten und Geschichten erzählen that stories in a foreign language classroom give an excellent opportunity for the children to create a whole comlpex learning situation, in which we can start meaningful communication (2005:3).

In our presentation, we chose the picturebook Monkey Puzzle, written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The story is about a little monkey who lost his mom. A butterfly tries to help the little monkey to find his mom and shows him always the wrong animals, because the butterfly does not know that the mother of the monkey looks like him. The butterfly could not know this because his children do not look like him. Finally the monkey finds his parents and gets happy.

I think this story is appropriate for language learning, especially in the third or fourth grade. It is a combination of catchy and rhythmic text passages with wonderful illustrations. So it is easier for children to keep the text and the plot of the story in their minds.

Furthermore the story is funny and includes a plot which can be comprehensible by every child. The children can identify themselves with the little monkey. I am sure that many children know the feeling of beeing apart from their mother and some of them might even get lost in a shopping center or the like.

Another reason for chosing this story was that it was written in an understandable way. We took into consideration that the story is written in an simple language so that thrid or fourth graders could understand the text with ease. We just changed some difficult words or word orders to make it more comprehensible. The story has a repetitive language, that means that some text passages recure. Lois Harrison writes in Let’s go digging for a story that phrases that come up again and again are easier to understand (2001:38) and asserts that one of the simple rules that should be considered while storrytelling is the repetitive language. Bosenius also writes that stories for primary school include repetition of keywords or keymoments which is a ideal assumption for language learning (2005:3).

Baker and Greene write about storytelling and the characteristics of a good story (1977:pp.28). They claim that a good story should include a single theme which is clearly defined and which has a well devloped plot. The text should have rhythm and pleasing sounds. In addition, they attach importance to the appropriateness to listeners. I think Monkey Puzzle includes all these characteristics for a good story and is a good bases for a good storytelling lesson.



ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Buch)
380 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main – Institut für England- und Amerikastudien




Titel: Storytelling and communicative language teaching