Teaching English with the Communicative Approach has worked very well in Saudi Arabia. One good thing at my college here is that we are not required to limit ourselves to the standard textbook in our classrooms. Try thinking of the textbook as only a tool or a starting point. I use my imagination to improve the textbook with communicative lesson plans, and authentic materials that relate to the students’ own interests seem much more effective than old ESL textbooks.
My ultimate goal is to free myself from the textbook, relying more on my own command of English and my educational expertise. Changing materials regularly keeps me on my toes and makes learning more effective and enjoyable.
I use authentic resources (ei: magazine articles, poems, manuals, and videos) as much as possible, and I use these items in a variety of ways that recreate the community of a native English speaker in my classroom. My students generally find these more interesting and motivating than more traditional materials. My goal is to help students learn to use English in more creative and spontaneous ways, and teaching English with the Communicative Approach has helped me achieve this.
Thank you for letting me share my Saudi experiences with you on the TESOL Expert blog. I wish you good luck in your teaching endeavors, no matter which points of the compass you may follow, and no matter what country may welcome you as its newest English teacher. Below you will find more articles on using authentic material, supplementing the textbook, and teaching English in Saudi Arabia. Enjoy!
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