With the rapid development of politics, economics, science & technology, direct contact among nations has become more and more frequent, people are forced to seek perfection, simplicity and practicality in learning. The coming of information era has shifted people’s attention to language function from language structure in a way that language is a communicative vehicle to convey information. Studies on FLT methodology must focus on the social and vocational or academic needs of adult learners of foreign languages, rather than on the psychological procedure of learning or simply on language structures or forms. Most researchers in FLT methodology concentrated their studies from social-linguistic perspective upon the Social features of language and social needs for language learning. This ideological trend in theory is the seed out of which the communicative Approach grew. The goal of learning a language is to help learners master the communicative competence but not merely get high marks in exams, In modern times, it is well-known that a foreign language is playing an important and passive role in international exchange. In order to develop economics, cooperate and compete with others, every country must first be able to share its ideas, information material quickly with one another. Naturally, it has an urgent need for its personnel to get rid of language barriers and to master a commonly –used foreign language. English is just the very representative that best suits the situation. Thus, the communicative Approach was first used in its teaching. This method appeared in Western Europe in the 1970’s, which helps learners improve the capacity of communication. During the process of its coming into being, it had some other nicknames. Because it laid emphasis on the social function of language learning, it was once called the Functional Approach. Moreover, it advocated using notion to organize teaching, which was named the Notional Approach. As time went by, especially, language was using to communicate with each other, function and notion were in harmony. Therefore, it was called the Functional-Notional Approach. For instance, where is the post office? The inquiry is function, and the location of this post office is notion. Like any scientific invention history, the communicative approach has experienced a long history of maturity and it had been surveyed by many people before it was formally known to the world. From the appearance and historical facts mentioned above, to some extents we do know that to learn a foreign language is to acquire a vehicle to communicate. Emphasis should be laid on its practical use, learning must meet the needs of students, who are led to learn in use or for application and that verbal actions of language can’t be divorced from situations and situations stay with social and cultural lives .The rise of the communicative approach benefits from the development of modern social psychology, morphology, sociology and linguistics. That is to say, their experimental research becomes the firm and solid theoretical foundation of this method.
After World War II, some super national groups were formed for economic reasons, such as European Economic Community (EEC), council for mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and so forth, kinds of people with professional skills are in great demand. At the urgent time, most schools adjusted their syllabus and pedagogy. The communicative approach is characterized by such facts that language teaching is based on communication and opposed to systematization and gradation, texts are well constructed and can meet the needs of different students, i.e English for Special Purpose (ESP). The teacher’s leading role is to prepare teaching materials so as to instruct students to communicate in practice consciously and create some language situations to practice language freely. This means considers the students’ mistakes in grammar to be normal. They are like inter-language when we began to learn our native language, which marks the levels of language learning, Thus, when we find the students made mistakes in language learning, we don’t have to point them out hastily or hurriedly so as not to bother their attention. In actual fact, the final and essential purpose of learning a foreign language is to communicate with others. Maybe some people want to ask if it is necessary to explain grammar in high schools. As an effective & reasonable approach, grammatical explanation is unavoidable, including mother tongue and translation.
Correspondingly, China began to introduce and applied this method to the university classes. The procedure of communicative teaching method can be divided into three steps, contact, imitation & drill and free expression, The Communicative Approach is composed of may elements, such as the social, cultural, psychological elements and that of daily life. Most of them do not belong to the category of language itself.
Teaching English should follow the principles of English language teaching. From the viewpoint of dialectical materialism, the principle of English teaching, which highly reflects the methodological theory and the norm concerned must agree with the objective laws existing in English teaching activities, and be looked on as a generally acknowledged truth. The system of English teaching principles involves at least five aspects.
②The general teaching principles;
③The teaching principles of foreign languages;
④The principles of English teaching ;
⑤The principles of teaching English knowledge and skills
In short, we should try to create various situational dialogues to arouse students’ interest and desire to speak out so as to develop a good communicative ability in an all-round way, morally, intellectually and physically.
Frankly speaking, the communicative ability should include five abilities, listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating.
Listening and speaking are important methods for training the students’ abilities to listen and speak as well as the means of consolidating their booklore and improving their abilities to read and write. Oral reading and narrating including questions and answers and other oral drills are mainly for listening practice. The teacher speaks while showing pictures, slides, or performing an action, the students listen while watching and imitating the action or recognizing the corresponding pictures, Then, the teacher speaks only, the students listen while making corresponding action or holding up the relevant pictures, tell the students silently to recall the English language. When some students miss a whole sentence or fail to repeat more details about your listening material, the teacher should remind them to put down some key words on a piece of paper. When they are requested to express the similar meaning, they have to use their own words. In this way, they can improve and maintain the communicative competence.
In addition, some games and dictation can be involved in listening, speaking, while reading the dictation material, the teacher should repeat several times rather than slow the speed excessively or read over again ad again word by word and sentence by sentence. In class, the teacher may organize some games to practice English. The whole class can be divided into several groups. Every member is given a specific role to play. Role –playing can help students not only master certain expressions but also explore his/her intelligence. Of course, kinds of out –of –class activities also play a significant part in English learning. Soliloquy, Narration, dialogues and report are other effective ways of practicing listening, speaking.
In the Middle school, no separate reading course is set up. It does not matter where the reading material comes from as long as the difficulty degree is in degree is in agreement with students’ reading knowledge. The teacher should introduce some excellent methods of reading to them, such as scanning skimming, extensive or intensive reading and the like. When the students find some new words in their papers, the teacher should teach them how to guess their meanings through the context. This method works very often. Every week, a proper period for reading is needed, which is a good chance for timed reading. This is also prime time to enlarge the quantities of new words. So, the teacher shows some essays written by people from English-speaking countries to them. The presentation helps them master more communicative skills as well as deep understanding of the context and English culture.
Writing and translating should be based on reading and speaking lessons. From basic sentences to composing essays, writing is a long process. The teacher is supposed to work from simple to complex, such as using given phrases to make sentences then link the sentences into paragraphs. The students must remember some important structures and own some amount of vocabulary, especially, the usage of five kinds of simple sentence. In the beginning, the teacher may advise the students to imitate, retell or rewrite some learned materials. In another way, the sentence translation is necessary, the students may write an essay on a given situation or on a certain topic when we find some versions useful, we can ask the students to recite some fabulous expressions. Each week, the teacher may get them to accomplish a composition and give them a detailed evolution, particularly error –correction .In fact, the students who are experienced at writing and translating are also good at grammar and language.
The Communicative Approach is becoming popular, whose trend of being adopted in China is under the way. Whereas, there are still many obstacles to the implementation of it .The popularity of this approach must result in the improvement of the English teacher’s quality. An English teacher must have standard oral English, rich knowledge of linguistics and terrific experience in the use of teaching methods or aids. What’s more, the redcation of a suitable textbook is necessary. Nowadays, This is the turning point from exam-oriented education to quality-oriented education. The concept and policy for education should be transformed without any delay.