By Tarun Patel
by Prof (Dr) Shefali Bakshi
Developing communication skills is not only the responsibility of language teachers but also subject teachers. Classrooms are set up for the purpose of communicating ideas and not to impose our ideas on young and growing minds. Teaching has to be innovative, dynamic, and most of all interactive. Teachers plan academic/language games to develop communicative skills in their Learners. These language activities are organised with the help of Course books so that they are well integrated with the Reading texts.
Therefore, these language activities must:
- Impart knowledge
- Develop skills
- Produce healthy competitive spirit
- Promote team spirit
- Activate group Dynamics
- Provide fun and interest
For instance: In “Achiever’s Course in English” an English text book by Orient Blackswan, a project is given in form of a Language Game. The learners use their creativity and the knowledge of Grammar to frame such kind of sentences, which require the construction of a sentence with nouns and adjectives. We observe an integration of many skills in form of Writing, Grammar, Creativity, Team Work, etc. Such kind of activities not only encourages communication but develops confidence in the learners. Moreover, it being a part of a text course can be completed within the syllabus framework and the stipulated curriculum. The teacher can also frame questions of such kind for her tests and evaluation. Projects and other activities can be assessed to make them more meaningful and purposeful. Moreover, these activities add variety to the classroom teaching and are more close to the learner’s environment. A concept takes the form of concrete representation, rather than remaining an abstract form. This adds to the meaning of the activity and becomes self-motivating. The learners learn to see the theory part from a different angle. It is more interesting and stimulating.
Thus these activities instill a spirit of competitiveness among the learners. Some other kinds of activities are:
INFORMATION GAP ACTIVITIES – An information gap in a situation where one person knows something, which the other does not. This cultivates curiosity/inquisitiveness, inventive nature, confidence, problem solving, phrasing questions, discovering questions, and above all communication.
Information Gap Activities
Why is information gap important?
- Requires free responses
- Creates interest
- Challenges learners to think independently
GIVING INSTRUCTIONS: Activities where learners learn to conduct experiments follow instructions and facilitate learning. It develops:
1. Coherence and Cohesion
- 2. Proper sequencing
- 3. Methodical working
- 4. Scientific approach
LOGIC PUZZLES – Logic puzzles develop language comprehension which can be correlated with logical skills.
REACHING CONSENSUS: – Consensus activities promote free and spontaneous use of oral communication which leads to the writing exercises. They develop:
Take for example, an activity from “Achiever’s Course in English”
In the above example, the students are guided by the teacher, who is their facilitator and then they plant the questions that are to be asked to the interviewee. A lot of discussion goes on and then the group reaches a consensus which is then concluded as an interview. This kind of an activity prepares the students to tackle a problem and then go about it in an organized way. It develops initiative taking habit, planning, confidence, team spirit, taking a decision, organizing and then conducting an activity.
Thus Communication skills can be developed by numerous activities, tasks, language games etc. inculcated in school subjects, which make our classes more creative and exciting to sustain the interest of the students. All subjects’ teachers have to be versatile and divergent enough to develop the communication skills among students.
About Prof (Dr) Shefali Bakshi
Prof Shefali Bakshi is at present Dy Director & Professor at Amity School of Languages, Amity University, Lucknow Campus. She has done all her education from Bombay. She has done her PhD in Beckett Studies from Lucknow University. She had been teaching at Yemen University and University of Hodiedah, Republic of Yemen. She has to her credit more than 23 years of teaching experience. She is also an ELT Consultant and has conducted more than 75 ELT workshops. Dr Shefalihttp://eltailko.blogspot.com/ is the President of Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow Chapter of elt@i, with more than 30 members. She is also a member of the Advisory Board of Lucid Colloids since last two years and member on the Advisory Board of ELTWeekly - INDIA’S FIRST WEEKLY ELT eNEWSLETTER.
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