Research Proposal into English Language Teaching Methods. CA in the colleges of Bangladesh

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RESEARCH PROPOSAL                

CA in the Colleges of Bangladesh


This section of introduces the research topic along with its explanation that followed by the background information.

Research Topic

There are mainly two types of education system existing in Bangladesh: (a) Bengali Medium, and (b) English medium. In secondary and higher secondary level of Bengali medium, there are three systems: (a) General education, (b) Madrasah education, and (c) Vocational education. In Bangladesh, many foreign languages are taught e.g. English, Arabic, French, German, Urdu, Farsi etc. while only English is compulsory subject across primary, secondary, higher secondary and tertiary levels. Earlier in Bangladesh, Grammar Translation Method was used widely at every level to teach English. But recently, curriculum developers of Bangladesh have impressed by CA that sees language learning as a means of communication. They introduced CA of teaching English by the late 1990s in Bangladesh. Since the introduction, CA became the most popular approach of teaching English in Bangladesh.

Linguists and researchers are always trying to find out effective methods of language teaching and learning by inventing new method or modifying the existing one. Starting with Grammar Translation Method [GTM], linguists and researchers came across many methods: Direct Methods [DM], Audiolingual Method [ALM], Total Physical Response [TPR], Community Language Learning [CLL], Suggestopedia, Communicative Language Teaching [CLT] and so on. Among these methods, CLT is the modern and most popular method that focuses to develop a learner’s four skills [Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing] in English or any other target language. Despite of this, students who complete their higher secondary education cannot use English for the purpose of communication. Moreover, context of learning and teaching is very important in ELT. “To be appropriate, a methodology must be sensitive to the prevailing cultures surrounding any given classroom” (Holliday, 1994, p. 161). Therefore, a question is lies that whether the newly adopted CA is suitable in the context of colleges of Bangladesh. So to examine the appropriateness of CA, I have selected “The aptness of CA in the context of Colleges of Bangladesh” as my research topic.

The Background Information

CA was introduced in the syllabus of Bangladesh with the aim of giving students ample opportunities to practice English inside and outside the classroom in interesting situations that will build up students’ communicative ability. The developers of CA in English syllabus believe that the use of pictures, stories of real life situation with practical dialogues may arose students interest, therefore, they will use the language more and more what will develop their ability of using English in a variety of situations. CA of language teaching or CLT [Communicative Language Teaching] focuses on the communicative competence of language teaching. The goal of this method is to develop a learners skills over the four language skills, i) listening, ii) speaking, iii) reading, and iv) writing, in English. Hymes (1972) argued that the goal of language teaching is to develop communicative competence (quoted in Communicative competence, 2012, para. 1). It focused on functional view of language teaching that the aim of teaching English is to enable students to use the language in practical life situations. Richards and Rodgers (2001) identified CLT as a learner-centered and experience-based view of L2 teaching (p. 158). They summarized the communicative view of language as:

  1. Language is a system for the expression of meaning;
  2. The primary function of language is to allow interaction and communication;
  3. The structure of language reflects its functional and communicative uses;
  4. The primary units of language are not merely its grammatical and structural features, but categories of functional and communicative meaning as exemplified in discourse (p. 161).

The basic principles of CLT are—

  1. Learners learn a language by using it.
  2. The best way of learning a language is through the process of struggling to communicate.
  3. Developing the ability to use the language effectively and appropriately is the desired goal.
  4. Communication involves the combination of different language skills.
  5. Language is a process of construction and therefore, it involves trial and error.

  1. Teachers need to motivate students to work with the language (pp. 156-157).

The CA emerged as the most popular method in today’s world that emerged from the past methodologies in second language teaching during the 20th century. At that time, European countries became inter-dependent for trade and commerce what led the Council of Europe to sponsor International Association of Applied Linguistics to develop an alternative method of language teaching with high priority on communication. Depending on the Wilkins (1972) functional and communicative definition of language, linguists developed CA (Cited in Richards & Rodgers, 2001, p. 154). Chomsky (1965) differentiated linguistic competence from linguistic performance. He opines that linguistic theory is concerned with an ideal speaker-listener in a completely homogenous speech community who knew the perfect use of the language. He found that the focus of linguistic theory was to illustrate the abstract abilities of a speaker that enables him to produce grammatically correct sentences. Hymes challenged this theory and emphasized both on the knowledge of language and on the ability of using the language to communicate. He coined the term communicative competence that represents the ability of using the language in a social context. Later, the term ‘communicative competence’ became the central theoretical concept of communicative language teaching (cited in Richards and Rodgers, 2001, p. 155). Communicative competence includes the following aspects of language knowledge:

  1. Knowing how to use language for a range of different purposes and functions,
  2. Knowing how to vary our use of language according to the setting and the participants,
  3. Knowing how to produce and understand different types of texts,
  4. Knowing how to maintain communication despite having limitations in one’s language knowledge (Richards, 2006, p. 3).

Communicative competence enables a native speaker to interact effectively with other speakers. It refers not only to the knowledge of the grammatical rules of a language and how to form grammatical sentences but also know when, where and to whom to use these sentences in a speech community (Richards, 1985, cited in Sam, 1990, para. 4).

“Communicative language teaching can be understood as a set of principles about the goals of language teaching, how learners learn a language, the kinds of classroom activities that best facilitate learning, and the roles of teachers and learners in the classroom” (Richards, 2006, p. 2). This approach is more-learner centered approach of teaching that sees language as a system of communication. Communicative language teaching includes “the development of language learning or teaching from form-based to a meaning-based approach, the move towards as eclectic approach from a rigid method, the shift from teacher-fronted to learner-centered class” (Nagraj, 2008, p. 48).

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Richards and Rodgers (2001) summarized the communicative view of language as:

  1. Language is a system for the expression of meaning;
  2. The primary function of language is to allow interaction and communication;
  3. The structure of a language reflects its functional communicative uses;
  4. The primary units of language are not merely its grammatical and structural features, but categories of functional and communicative meaning exemplified in discourse (p. 161).

Scope and Objective

This research seeks to investigate the applicability of newly adopted communicative approach of teaching two English papers of the class XI-XII in the colleges of Bangladesh. By ...

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