PETER BEECH (UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM NINGBO CHINA)

IMPLEMENTING THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH : ELT PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

There is widespread recognition that the communicative approach is highly effective in promoting language acquisition. This has led to many Asian countries, including China, moving to implement communicative methodologies, particularly task based learning, in schools. However, there are many obstacles to overcome, including large class sizes, traditional attitudes to learning and a focus on preparing for exams that do not focus on communication. This presentation reports on teacher development programmes for Chinese teachers of English designed to overcome these obstacles. Drawing on data from pre-course needs analyses, questions raised by participants during their courses and post-course feedback, we present some of the challenges that teachers face along with suggestions for meeting these challenges. We show how the books used in state schools can be adapted to allow a more communicative approach, and illustrate this with a detailed focus on effective ways to teach vocabulary.

Peter BEECH is an EAP teacher, teacher trainer and curriculum developer based at the Centre for English Language Education, University of Nottingham Ningbo China. His academic interests are centred on ways to make teaching more effective through the application of SLA research findings in the development of classroom methodology.