Do you think that the communicative approach is CAPS compliant? Substantiate your answer.

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durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The communicative approach is particularly essential in the twenty-first century and in the global environment. It has a definite universal element although it may be used in different contexts depending on the country where it is applied. In most instances, the approach is used to teach language. The communicative approach intends to reduce learning time, thereby encouraging more efficient use of time and successfully integrating people sooner rather than later. It encompasses learning language in a useful, practical way and is learner-driven and contextual. The ultimate goal is to encourage interaction and a level of comprehension from the very first lesson.

In terms of its universal appeal, the communicative approach obviously complies with the basic tenets of language instruction as a learner is able to communicate effectively and quickly. However, the disadvantages of this approach lie in its potential to avoid some of the basic language rules and the essential mechanical structure of language. Language as a group of words is ineffective if those words are not grouped appropriately. The opposite then applies as misunderstanding results when a question or statement is misinterpreted because of an ill-placed phrase. There is no use communicating for communication's-sake. It is therefore essential to apply the communicative approach in a way that ensures a good grounding of basic principles. 

With the communicative approach, rote-learning is mostly avoided as learners do not need to have a whole litany of words at their disposal which they can neither use nor even say. The learning of useful vocabulary is seen as more relevant although not necessarily more important than learning grammar, which requires much time and practice. Additionally, learning all the forms of the verb is only useful if a learner already understands tenses and how to use them to designate time and place, etc. The names of tenses (such as present, past, progressive, conditional, perfect and so) become purely academic out of context. 

As far as being CAPS compliant and its use in schools and learning institutions (and depending on your intended meaning of "CAPS"), the communicative approach does achieve the ultimate goal of any learning and instruction because it ensures better communication. Although the potential exists for its misuse, the communicative approach places emphasis on comprehension. Communication is at the very center of any learning and two way communication is far more effective in a modern setting, making teachers and instructors accountable for the outcomes and making those outcomes more obvious. A good teacher cannot be measured by having a class of learners who can recite an English passage or conjugate a verb but by having a class of learners who can converse and interact effortlessly. The communicative approach then allows for learning to be an ongoing process long after any formal instruction has taken place. 

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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It seems to me that the first thing to do is to review what CAPS is so we can figure out if the communicative approach applies. In the United States, CAPS stands for the national Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement. They are the guidelines that replaced the Subject and Learning Area Statements, Learning Program Guidelines and Subject Assessment Guidelines for all of the different subjects in the national curriculum through senior year of high school. Considering the communicative approach is usually used to teach language, it is very appropriate for the CAPS assessment (as long as we mention a few important caveats).

The communicative approach is particularly important in reducing the time it takes for students to learn. Further, it encourages interaction between student and teacher and also between other students. In its most basic form, the communicative approach applies to the CAPS assessment in that conforms to the most basic ideas behind language instruction. The student is required to communicate both quickly and effectively.

My guess is, the reason why you're asking if the communicative approach is appropriate for CAPS assessment is because it helps students avoid particular rules and ideas behind the structure of language. Because the grouping of words in language is very important, that puts the communicative approach at a disadvantage.

In conclusion, the communicative approach is only appropriate for the CAPS assessment when it has a good grounding amid basic principles of language.

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