Relation between the teaching practices and the material used with the development of the communicative competence in higher education students
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Palacios Torres, Diana del Carmen
Colombia’s general Law of Education enacted as mandatory the learning of a foreign language. To serve this purpose, several initiatives have been established by the Ministry of Education, related to curriculum redefinition, material development, and teachers’ development programs. These initiatives have mainly been addressed to elementary, middle and high school levels. No explicit directions have been drawn to orientate foreign language teaching at tertiary education level. Since 2004, The government has released several macro-plans to meet the 1994 mandate regarding foreign language learning. These plans have positively affected foreign language teaching in elementary, middle and high school levels. Therefore, it may be assumed that orientations addressing tertiary education would also benefit language learning and teaching processes. Therefore, this study intends to characterize the existing relationship between teaching practices displayed inside 6th level classrooms, and the type of activities the textbook promotes, to determinie the influence these elements have on learners’ communicative competence development, in the absence of quality indicators, in a private university in the northern part of Colombia. To meet the research purpose, lesson observations, questionnaires, and checklists were devised and applied. Results obtained show both teachers and the textbook approach teaching and learning from a very traditional grammar-oriented method, which does not promote learners’ communicative competence development. In addition, in the absence of general guidelines from Macro-plans designers, each institution makes isolated curricular decisions, which affect the method English is taught like in the case of this study. These findings are expected to contribute to raise awareness about the English language teaching processes that are carried out at university level and how they affect the attainment of the goals established by the government.