Communication means immediacy, involvement of the senses and expression of emotions.
Children talk most of the time. Divided into pairs – or into groups of threes if necessary – the children practise using the language they are learning, always under the discreet supervision of the language teacher.
The dialogues, the new vocabulary and the grammar are presented with several tools and techniques available to the teachers: interactive whiteboards, simple costumes and use of special optical materials such as flashcards, which show various real-life situations. Then, the students are invited and encouraged to practise using all their senses. To learn new vocabulary they are encouraged to practise by imitating situations and they use grammatical rules in situations reminiscent of scenes from real life, never sterile or isolated.
“In order to learn to speak a language, you have to practise speaking it and feel it.”
That is why children practise in pairs. They are the protagonists, in contrast to the classic class where the teacher was the dominant figure.
The use and effect of classical music
As children practise there is a sort of musical “carpet” of specially selected music that acts as a “safety net” in the delicate process of learning. The music not only relaxes the body and mind increasing concentration, but it also acts as a barrier and prevents the children from hearing the mistakes other pairs might make.
The myth of translation
No language can be learnt and used comfortably, if it has been taught with the use of translation. That is why no one learns their mother tongue by means of translation into another language. In a communicative class the teacher speaks only English – if the language to be learnt is English – and might use some words in the mother tongue only when necessary to solve specific problems.
The determining role of the teacher as a coordinator and facilitator
In a communicative learning environment the teacher cannot have another role than that of the person who encourages, coordinates, supports, inspires and guides. His class reminds one of a well-coordinated orchestra, a pedagogue, a conductor who is free, flexible and ready to “crumple” his image to become the “bridge to learning.”