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In traditional, grammar-oriented second language classrooms, the most common classroom procedure is for the teacher to ask the student a question for which the answer is already known to both. Because no real information is exchanged, this is not a communicative practice. It is alien to the real communicative needs of students, involves no function teaching, teaches no improvisational or creative skills, and does not teach appropriate language usage. To teach communicative competence, information gaps should be used in classroom interaction. This can be assisted by use of gap language (heavy use of hypothetical and probability statements, requests for further explanation, restatement of ideas, and true questions, asked to gain information), varying ways of asking questions, transforming conventional drills to communicative drills (imaginable situations, guessing games, and true questions), and further transforming these communicative drills, which are structural and quasi-communicative, to communicative activities, which are functional and based on social interaction. In communicative activities, students use the gap language improvisationally and creatively to express communicative functions. Contains 7 references. (MSE)

Descriptors: Class Activities, Classroom Communication, Classroom Techniques, Communicative Competence (Languages), English (Second Language), Foreign Countries, Information Seeking, Language Patterns, Pragmatics, Questioning Techniques, Second Language Instruction

Autor: Liao, Xiaoqing


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