Page: 238-255 Author: Hanušová, S., Najvar, P., Adam, M., Najvarová, V., Homolka, S. Key words: communication in teaching, English language teaching, video studies, communicational approach
The study presents an analytical probe into the character of pupils’ utterances in practical lessons in English language at the second level of basic (primary) school. It sets itself the question of the extent to which teaching in Czech schools reflects the principles of the communicational approach, which is the method prevailing in the didactics of English language and the method recommended in current curricular documents. The communicational approach differs from earlier methods both in conception of the target category – which is competence in communication – and in the procedures and techniques recommended as ways of achieving the desired target. It canbe understood in terms of contrast with the so-called traditional approaches to the teaching of foreign languages: if the principles mentioned above are to be successfully introduced into school teaching, it is not enough just to get pupils to do exercises and to explain the different language structures to them, as was typical of the traditional approach; what is necessary is to consistently create opportunities for communication. The goal of the analysis presented was to describe the character of pupils’ utterances in the target language in public communication in lessons, and on this basis to judge the quality of opportunities for communication in the particular teaching situation. We start from the premise that if a teacher applies the communicational approach in teaching a foreign language, we will be able to observe a significant amount of pupil utterances of this kind in the target language, and this will be a basis for judging the level of opportunities created for communication by the teacher. The research sample consisted of transcripts of 79 lessons. The results indicate that there is a certain discrepancy between declared and realised curriculum (curricular documents versus educational reality). The fact that the pupils tend to communicate rather sporadically in the lessons may be because the teacher does not create opportunities for communication, or because the pupils do not exploit the opportunities for communication that the teacher has created. The analysis also drew attention to differences between teachers in the opportunities for communication that they offer their students. It shows that teachers differ in how (in which language), they usually tackle certain typical situations, e.g. instructions for a task, reprimand and so forth.