Queries from a Communicative Teacher by Peter Medgyes

Posted: April 26, 2014 by ozgurefl in Uncategorized

In English, there is a cliche saying “It is easier said than done”.  This is what Peter Medgyes is talking about in his article “Queries from a communicative teacher”, criticizing the proponents of Communicate Approach from different perspectives they tend to ignore.

The theory behind the Communicative Approach sounds great when a newbie teacher first meets with it; it talks about how a communicative teacher should be, about the importance of taking into account the needs of the group but also the learner himself at the same time in addition to how teachers should pay attention to meaning and form simultaneously, how their role should be in relation to their students and the use of text book. CA places a heavy burden on teachers and expects them to meet all the requirements of the approach while also dealing with the everyday problems of their job routine such as preparing lessons plans, finding suitable materials for the appropriate level and so forth.

But there is a big difference between the theory and the practice because the reality in a classroom is completely different from what the proponents of the approach may have dreamed of, though it may be true for the some selected few with fewer lessons, brighter students, and smaller groups. Medgyes even makes a comparison of this situation when he is describing a communicative teacher as “Wizard of Oz like superperson yet of flesh and blood”. As the author mentions, being a Communicative teacher requires to have “super-powers”; they must cope with a plethora of things, and also with their own deficiency as a non-native language teacher. This leads me to think that the proponents of CA may have read so many comic books in their free time from either DC Comics or Marvel, thus having some confusions in their theory and mixing the teachers with the invincible characters with superpowers in Ultimate Avengers or X-Men .

I definitely agree with the author in all the aspects he mentions. It is easy to theorize about something while sipping your coffee in the comfort of your house and office room if you are not in a real classroom and not coping with the difficult situations real teachers struggle everyday. Of course every newly graduated teacher would aspire to be Communicative teacher, but, in real life, only the selected few could actually teach by following a Communicative Methodology.


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