The treatment of communicative competence in the “Common European framework of reference for languages” Janez Skela
Summary: The article focuses on communicative competence as the ultimate goal of foreign language teaching and learning. With the help of a framework for conceptualizing the contents of language syllabuses, the article traces the main developmental stages that have led to our current understanding of the communicative competence construct. The article then moves on to examine the most comprehensive treatment of communicative competence so far, as proposed by the “Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment” (CEFR or Framework) and the article also deals with the “teaching” of communicative competence. It has been established that today’s mainstream foreign language teaching pedagogy (i.e. the communicative approach) has not yet developed systematic methods for the teaching of communicative competence. Communication in a foreign language is, after all, something so complex that it will probably never be reduced to “a neatly packaged syllabus”. Due to the special status of English, which has emerged as a world lingua franca, and because of the need for more effective ways of “teaching” communicative competence, the concept of “best practice” is continually evolving. All over the English-speaking world, new hybrid models of ELT pedagogy are emerging, which, in their various guises, combine features of both EFL and ESL schools of thought and practice, thus bringing ESL into the ELT fold.