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Métodos y técnicas enfocadas a la adquisición de competencias comunicativas. Fundamentos metodológicos específicos de la enseñanza del inglés.



Autora: Raquel Martín Tena.



1. Introduction.

2. Specific Methodological foundations for teaching English




3. Methods and techniques focused on the acquisition of communicative competences.

3.1.Communicative competence.

3.2.Communicative language teaching.

      1. Types oflearning and teaching activities.
      2. Teacher-student role.
      3. The role of instructional materials.
      4. Procedure.

3.3. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

4. Conclusion.

5. Bibliography.



1. Introduction 

Changes in language teaching methods throughout history have reflected recognition of changes in the kind of proficiency learners needs, such as a move toward oral proficiency rather than reading comprehension as the goal of language study; they have also reflected changes in theories of the nature of language and of language learning. All these approaches differ one from other according to their underlying theories of language and language learning; the learning objectives, the syllabus model used, the roles of the teacher, learners, and materials within the method or approach; and the classroom procedures and techniques that the method uses.

Within this unit we will see the theory behind any method in language teaching, and then we will focus on the Communicative Language Teaching. We will also talk about CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning), a new approach where the learner learns new contents using the foreign language.



2. Specific methodological foundations for teaching english

When linguists and language specialists thought to improve the quality of language teaching in the late nineteenth century, they often did so by referring to general principles and theories concerning how languages are learned, how knowledge of language is represented and organized in memory, or how language itself is structured.

In describing methods, the difference between a philosophy of language teaching at the level of theory and principles, and a set of derived procedures for teaching a language, is central. In an attempt to clarify this difference, a scheme was proposed by the American applied linguist Edward Anthony in 1963. He identified three levels of conceptualization and organization, which he termed approach, method, and technique


2.1. Approach          

Approach refers to theories about the nature of language and language learning that serve as the source of practices and principles in language teaching. At the level of approach there are two components; 

  1. the theory of language 
  2. the theory of language learning. 


a) Theory of language: Richards and Rodgers (1986) describe three theoretical views of the theory of language:  the structural, functional and interactional. 

b.) Theory of language learning: A learning theory responds to two aspects: the psycholinguistic and cognitive processes involved in language learning and the conditions that need to be met in order for these learning processes to be activated.


2.2. Design

In order for an approach to lead to a method, it is necessary to develop a design. Design is the level of method analysis in which we consider the objectives, the content of the syllabus, the types of learning and teaching activities, the role of the learners, the role of the teachers, and the role of the materials. 


2.3. Procedure

Procedure focuses on the way a method handles the presentation, practice, and feedback phases of teaching. E.g. in the Silent Way:

  • The teacher points at meaningless symbols on a wall chart.
  • After the students can pronounce the sounds, the teacher leads the students to pronounce long numbers.
  • The teacher uses colored rods and gestures.

In conclusion, any teaching method can be described in terms of the issues identified here at the levels of approach, design, and procedure.



3. Methods and techniques focused in the acquisition of communicative competences.      

The method, or approach, that is considered most useful and suitable for  

the  attainment of Communicative Competence, is CLT (Communicative 

Language Teaching) which I will describe. But first, we will define the 

Communicative competence.


3.1. Communicative competence.

Communicative competence is a linguistic term which refers to a learner’s L2 ability. It not only refers to a learner’s ability to apply and use grammatical rules, but also to form correct utterances, and know how to use these utterances appropriately. The term unlies the view of language learning implicit in the communicatiave pproach to language teaching.The term was first coined by Dell Hymes (1967, 1972).


3.2. Communicative Language Teaching.

The origins of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) are to be found in the changes in the British language teaching tradition dating from the late 1960s. 

Communicative Language Teaching is best considered an approach rather than a method, which starts from a theory of language as communication. Thus although a reasonable degree of theoretical con­sistency can be discerned at the levels of language and learning theory, at the levels of design and procedure there is much greater room for individual interpretation and variation than most methods permit.

The CLT aims to (a) make communicative competence the goal of language teaching and (b) develop procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledge the interdependence of language and communication. 


3.2.1. Types of learning and teaching activities.

3.2.2. Teacher –student role

3.2.3 .The role of instructional materials.

3.2.4. Procedure


3.3. Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) 

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) involves teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a language other than that normally used. The subject can be entirely unrelated to language learning, such as history lessons being taught in English in a school in Spain. CLIL is taking place and has been found to be effective in all sectors of education from primary through to adult and higher education. Its success has been growing over the past 10 years and continues to do so.

Teachers working with CLIL are specialists in their own discipline rather than traditional language teachers. They are usually fluent speakers of the target language, bilingual or native speakers. The key issue is that the learner is gaining new knowledge about the ‘non-language’ subject while encountering, using and learning the foreign language. Ideally, the dual-focussed nature of CLIL-programmes fosters per se the usage of the foreign language as a tool to communicate and work on content matter; as such, students utilise the foreign language in a functional as well as authentic way and deal with the tasks and problems the subject raises.



4. Conclusion

In this unit we have seen the basis of any approach to the English 

language teaching and the most important aspects of the Communicative

Language Teaching, the most useful method for the attatinment of the

Commuicative Competence.

 All the methods differ in the way they address fundamental mehodological issues such as the syllabus, the objectives, and the type of teaching and learning activities. 

Nowdays, the Communicative approach is the one more used in our schools to teach English as a foreign language. Even though it is probably the approach that offers the best possibilities to achieve the communicative competence, we should not forget that when applying a method we should take into consideration the real situation and needs of our students. Any changes we make we should always consider variety and change of techniques when necessary. 

However, there is not a perfect method. We as teachers should have a knowledge and a criteria by which to critically read, question and observe methods. All methods have the need for evaluation and research. It is important to become informed about the nature, strengths, and weaknesses of them so we can better arrive at our own judgments and decisions.



5. Bibliography

  • BOE, 1 de marzo de 2014, Real Decreto 126/2014, de 28 de febrero, por el que se establece el currículo básico de la Educación Primaria.
  • European Commission Languages Language-teaching, 2012.
  • CLIL and Intercultural Communicative Competence : Foundations and Approaches towards a Fusion ,Julian Sudhoff (2010), University of Duisburg-Essen (Germany)
  • Language Teaching: Some Notes on Method  By Peter McKenzie-Brown, 2006
  • The University of British Columbia (2000). Retrieved December 10, 2000, from the World Wide Web: 

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