Teaching of Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) : a study of the communicative approach in relation to Arabic
The study is concerned with the problem of how to improve the teaching of Arabic as a foreign or a second language. It lays down some of the essential foundation-work necessary for bringing about systematic and constructive improvements in the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language (TAFL) by investigating the contributions of modern linguistic sciences (such as applied linguistics, educational linguistics, psycholinguistics and sociolinguistics) to the development of foreign language (FL) teaching and learning. A survey of the literature indicates that a 'revolution' is currently taking place in FL teaching and that a new approach, known as the Communicative Approach (CA), has begun to emerge and influence the teaching of FLs in general, over the last decade or so. Since the CA is currently being adopted to the teaching of most major FLs and since this revolution has not yet had much impact on TAPL, the study explores the possibility of the application of the CA to the teaching of Arabic as a living language. The thesis is divided into 7 chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the importance of viewing the nature of language and FL teaching from a multidimensional point of view. Chapter 2 outlines the general nature and importance of the subject matter (i.e. the Arabic language) in a wide context. In order to understand what has directly or indirectly influenced the teaching practices of TAFL, Chapter 3 provides an overview of the development of views of FL teaching approaches and methods in recent times, from formalism (teacher-centred learning) to functionalism (student -centred learning). Chapter 4 concentrates on providing an interpretation of the current 'state of the art' of TPPL in Britain. A theoretical outline of the CA is presented in Chapter 5. This chapter provides a working hypothesis of a proposed integrative model for communicative competence that can be used as a practical reference tool in the relevant areas of communicative language development In TAPL. Chapter 6 focuses on one of these areas; communicative syllabus design, in which the stages in Arabic language programme development and types of communicative syllabuses are discussed. The last chapter concludes with a suggetion of specific further research needs in TAFL: communicative teaching methodology, communicative materials development, communicative testing techniques and communicative tea cher training.