The Feasibility and Difficulty of Implementing Communicative Language Teaching in the EFL Context

| December 28, 2009
The Feasibility and Difficulty of Implementing Communicative Language Teaching in the EFL Context

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Kun-huei Wu
Department of English, Aletheia University
32 Chen-Li St., Tamsui, Taipei, Taiwan

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The world has become more and more competitive and interdependent than before, economically and politically. Economists regard English proficiency as a form of human capital in the workplace (McManus, 1985). Kachru (1997) presents his concentric circle model to analyze the spread and diffusion of English. Asian countries, including Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and China, have been categorized in the expanding circle, where English is used primarily as a foreign language. Although there are different voices vis-i -vis the idea of English as the lingua franca, the global spread of English in the past decades is remarkable. It is particularly striking in the increasing number of users of language and in the range of functions. For example, Crystal (1997) estimates 90% of published articles in academic fields are written in English, and the percentage is growing year by year. English appears to be the universal language of communication. Affected by the trend of global English, the English users and learners will soar undoubtedly. Taiwan aims to be one of the competitive partners in the global village, in which English is the major communication medium. Hasman (2000) notes that there is no major threat to English in its global popularity. The impact of English as a global language has compelled the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Taiwan to reform English education. Before September 2001, there was no English course in the elementary school curriculum. Since then, students from elementary to university level are requested to take English as one of their compulsory or elective courses before graduation. Although students may have studied English for several years, many of them have difficulties communicating with English speakers. Huang (1990) notes that the majority of the language learners in Taiwan are capable of learning to read the target language with varying degrees of success, but when it comes to oral communication, most of them become hopelessly dysfunctional (p.54). This phenomenon has sparked widespread attention, and caused voices for improving students communicative competence to become louder.

[private] See page: 97 – 110

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 11 Issue 5