Learning and developing communication skills through conversation is one of the traditional methods. It is mainly aimed to improve fluency and prepare learners for real life situations. Arthur adds that the main purpose of conversation is the exchange of information among people. While communicating, our students may find themselves in different social situations playing various social roles and the main task for language teachers is to prepare them for these real situations they might participate in. This also includes leading students to develop the ability to initiate and sustain conversation whenever it occurs.
Here also Arthur mentioned some ideas on motivating students for speaking during the classes and in various activities with the help of some techniques as it is given here. When students learn a foreign language, they very often accumulate a lot of knowledge (grammatical rules, lists of vocabulary items), but then they find out that they cannot actually use this language to communicate when they want to. (Scrivener, 2005) claims that there seems to be some difficulty in moving language from passive knowledge into active usage. Without experience in using the language, learners may tend to be nervous about trying to say things. Partly they may fear seeming foolish in front of others, they may worry about getting things wrong they may want to avoid teacher’s comments or express themselves, which leads to long embarrassing pauses while learners are trying to find out how to say what they really want to say.
One of the best ways of helping learners to activate their knowledge is to put them in “safe” situation in class where they are inspired and encouraged to try to speak a foreign language. Teachers should try to create such activities in which learners feel less worried about speaking and less under pressure.
The communicative approach is a specific term which is mainly used for describing the methodology which teaches learners and students how to communicate effectively. It also refers to the emphasis on student’s responsibility for their own learning. It mostly includes cooperation with group, self-activity, pair and group work activities. When the communicative approach is concerned it is a way of learning a language through communication rather than self-study. In accordance to the opinions of Krashen, “acquisition is a natural process, which is similar to the way students develop their ability in their first language. It is subconscious process when learners are not aware of the fact, they are acquiring language but using the language for communication.” (Krashen, 1987, p.10).
The main principles of communicative approach are as follows:
- The classroom environment provides opportunities for rehearsal of real life — situation and provide role plays, simulations, surveys, projects — all produce spontaneity and improvisation;
- Within lessons students have to cope with a variety of everyday situations;
- More emphasis on active modes of learning, including pair work and group work;
- It offers communicative activity to students from early stages;
- Errors are a natural part of learning process;
- Communicative approach is not just limited to oral skills, teaching grammar is set in context, students are awarded of connection between communication and grammar;
- Use of idiomatic\everyday languages;
- Use of topical items with which students are already familiar in their own language arouses students’ interest and leads to more active participation;
- Usage of authentic materials, such as newspaper and magazine article, poems, manuals, recipes, telephone directories, videos, news, etc;
- To conclude, communicative approach refers to classroom activities in which students use language as a vehicle of communication, and the main purpose is to complete some kinds of these tasks. Students are required to use any and\or all the language that they know, and they gradually develop their strategies in communication. There is a place for both controlled presentation and semi controlled language practice, which bring optimal development of students communicative skills.
Except those traditional approaches mentioned above, there is one more approach which is called communicative language teaching approach (CLT). Unlike the traditional method of learning and teaching, in a communicative language teaching approach, learners a required to take part in number of meaningful and useful activities with different tasks. This is to improve learner’s communicative competence by encouraging them to be a part of the lesson themselves, Netwon (2001) refers to this approach as a way that can enable learners to manage their language and to develop their communication skills at the same time. Many experts of language teaching methodology also agree that playing games and implementing various communicative activities is a good way to learn communication, especially in CLT classes. With the help of these activities and games, the teacher can create various contexts in which students have to use the language to communicate, exchange information and express their own opinions (Wright, Betteridge and Bucby, 1984) Huang (1996, p.1) came to a conclusion that “Learning foreign language through activities and games encourage the operation of certain psychological and intellectual factors which could facilitate communication heighted self-esteem, motivation and spontaneously, reinforcing learning, improving intonation and building confidence. «Some language experts and language teachers have also realized that there some main characteristics of games and communicative activities that makes learning speaking stronger and effectively.