CHALLENGING ENGLISH LEARNERS TO COMMUNICATE IN CLASS THROUGH ACTIVE CLASSROOM PROCEDURES: AN EXPERIENCE INVOLVING UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
University of Valencia (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2011 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Spanish education policies nowadays aim towards a plurilingual education in which the role of English, in general, is particularly relevant as globalization conceives English as the lingua franca among its members. However, within a university educational context, providing students with the appropriate environment to communicate in English is still on hold, as it seems difficult to engage students to communicate in English, maybe due to their lack of self-confidence about their real skills degree of knowledge or even due to their low proficiency in English language.
This work presents an study about first grade university students perception of their language proficiency level, engaging students towards a more efficient way of achieving language command and communicative skills by means of an active methodology that involves learners on communicative situations within classroom environment.
In this work the reader will find some ideas about the importance of self-perception towards the study of foreign languages, as well as an evaluation of the language improvements perceived from a didactical point of view. It intends to provide a view of the main motives that induce our students to reject communicating with a foreign language. Its main implications within the foreign language teaching-learning process, specifically through a methodology that fosters the development of the productive skills, that is, the learning of contents by means of communicative tasks based on real situations.
One of the results leads us to the conclusion that our university students, after working with this cooperative and active methodology, feel that they have improved their English language proficiency particularly on the receptive skills and not on the productive skills as we would have thought they should have by the way in which content and language learning had been developed and used in classroom. This fact has a double reading as on the one hand they develop skills by learning the language through content, and on the other hand language itself is the vehicle of communication and way of instruction in class.
Students should develop a more positive attitude towards the learning of a foreign language in order to optimize their learning outcomes, as somehow students should change their way of thinking to achieve success in each of the skills potentiality.
Keywords: CLIL, English as a foreign language, commmunicative skills, university students.