My assignment aims to explore the idea of a communicative model of teaching being used with Chinese learners. The model suggested is based on the Systemic Functional Linguistics and Socio-Cultural theory. The context with which I will refer to is as a contracted EFL English teacher with mainland Chinese schoolchildren. I teach low ability classes at a language school in Shanghai. To study at the best universities in China the students must eventually achieve well in the mandatory national tests which are in English, Maths and Chinese. The written English examinations that they will eventually face are the main motivation for the Chinese learners in my charge “For EFL learner’s communication in English may have a reduced value in comparison to preparing for entrance examination or tests or for securing employment”. Hinkel (2008) given this, the challenge is to develop creative extended writing skills in a communicative environment.
The problem with off the shelf published syllabuses
I recently acquired a new class with resources that allowed a change from using off the shelf communicative tasks. These are frequently used by many language centres in China and although an integrated approach to the development of the four skills is claimed by such packages in practice it is largely the skill of speaking which is taught through communicative tasks and games. Teachers are insightfully advised by (Edge) to be clear about whether they are using one of the language skills in order to teach the language system or teach the skill itself. Here I would argue that the syllabus is developing largely the skill of speaking.
The problem with such programmes can be their failure in developing the student’s grammar and their extended writing. Writing can be an added extra and the syllabus tasks are not sequenced in a way that allows students to create quality extended writing which for my students... [continues]
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