With the advent of the communicative approach and the rise of functional-notional syllabi in language teaching, the units of communicative textbooks have begun to be organized around communication situations related to cultural themes. The language objectives of the unit, on the other hand, have largely been specified in terms of functions and notions. Thus, all the unit contents logically serve these functional-notional objectives of the textbook units. At the end of the units of such communicative textbooks, the students are presented with communicative simulations or role-plays, whose function is to enable them to reuse the functions and notions, the relevant language content, oral and written comprehension, and production activities presented in the textbook unit. With the action-oriented approach, however, the coherence of the textbook unit is not provided through communicative simulations and role-plays but through mini-projects, which have the double function of both enabling the students to reuse the functions and notions, the relevant language content, oral and written comprehension and production activities of the unit (actional reuse situations), and educating for social action. This educational dimension of mini-projects is what mainly differentiates them from both the communicative simulations and role-plays offered to the students at the end of the communicative textbooks. It should also be noted that the other difference, namely the different status of communication (both the means and the goal in the communicative approach, only means in the action-oriented approach) is also important in distinguishing between miniprojects and communicative simulations and role-plays. In this article, I discuss two models of reuse situations in language textbooks and argue that only the mini-projects have the potential to train students capable of acting in a foreign language-culture as social actors.
ASSOC. PROF. DR. AHMET ACAR | Head of English Language Teaching, Buca Faculty of Education at Dokuz Eylül University