Communicative Competence in Teaching English at Secondary Schools. A Critical Investigation in Yaff'ae District of Yemen

Doctoral Thesis / Dissertation, 2016

279 Pages








Key Words

PH.D. VIVA- VOCE Examination Report

List of Tables & Charts

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

1. Chapter One
1.0 Introduction
1.1 English Language Teaching in Yemen
1.1.1 South Yemen
1.1.2 North Yemen
1.1.3 Education System in Yemen after (1990)
1.1.4 English Language Curriculum in Yemen
1.1.5 Crescent English Course for Yemen
1.1.6 Techniques and Procedures Used for Teaching CECY
1.2.1 Challenges of Learning and Teaching in Yemen The Political Conflict Dark Future Cheating Unemployment
1.2.2 Challenges of Teaching English in Yemen
1.2.3 Challenges of Teaching English at Yemeni Secondary Schools
1.3.1 Communicative Competence in Yemen
1.3.2 Communicative Language Teaching in Yemen
1.4.1 Statement of the Problem
1.4.2 Significance of the Study
1.5.1 Objective of the Study
1.5.2 Hypotheses of the Study
1.5.3 Questions of the Study
1.6 Research Methods
1.6.1. Sample
1.6.2 Design and Procedures Used
1.6.3 Description of Data Gathering Instruments
16.3.1 Questionnaire Observation Tools and Techniques of Data Collection
1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Research
1.7.2 Limitation
1.8 Chapters Scheme
1.8.1Chapter One
1.8.2 Chapter Two
1.7.1 Chapter Three
1.7.2 Chapter Four
1.7.3 Chapter Five
1.9 Definition of the Terms
1.9.1 Communicative Competence
1.9.2 Linguistic (Grammatical) Competence
1.9.3 Sociolinguistic (Pragmatic) Competence
1.9.4 Discourse Competence
1.9.5 Strategic Competence
1.10 Conclusion
1.11 Works Cited

2. Chapter Two: Literature Review
2.0 Introduction
2.1 Communicative Competence
2.1.1 Definition
2.1.2 Background
2.1.3 Competence and Performance
2.2 Theories on Communicative Competence
2.2.1 Chomsky’s Theory of Universal Grammar
2.2.2 Hymes’ Theory of Communicative Competence
2.2.3 Widdowson’s Theory of Use and Usage
2.2.4 Halliday’s Theory of Potentiality
2.3 Models of Communicative Competence
2.3.1 Canale and Swain’s Theoretical Model
2.3.2 Bachman and Palmer’s Framework of Communicative Language Ability Knowledge
(a) Grammatical knowledge
(b) Textual knowledge Pragmatic Knowledge
(a) Functional knowledge
(b) Sociolinguistic knowledge
2.3.3 Celce-Murcia, Dornyei, &Thurrell’s Model Socio-cultural Competence Discourse Competence Linguistic Competence Formulaic Competence Interactional Competence Strategic Competence
2.3.4 The Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) Linguistic Competence Sociolinguistic Competence Pragmatic Competence
2.3.5 Usó-Juan &Martínez-Flor’s Framework of Integrating the Four Skills Discourse Competence Linguistic Competence Pragmatic Competence Intercultural Competence Strategic Competence
2.4 Communicative Competence Coverage
2.4.1 Linguistic Competence Graphology Phonology Morphology Syntax
2.4.2 Sociolinguistic Competence Rule of politeness Knowledge of genre Sensitivity to difference in dialects or variety Sensitivity to difference in registers Sensitivity to naturalness Ability to interrupt cultural references and figures of speech
2.4.3 Discourse Competence Cohesion Reference: (anaphora, cataphora) Substitution/ellipsis Conjunctions Lexical chains/ Parallel Structures Coherence Conversational Structure Deixis
2.4.4 Strategic Competence Types of communicative strategies Avoidance or Reduction Strategies Achievement or Compensatory Strategies Stalling or Time-gaining Strategies
2.5 Previous Studies on Communicative Competence
2.5.1 Pedagogical Focus for Developing Students’ Communicative Competence
2.5.2 Studies Relating to the Importance of Intercultural Communicative Competence
2.5.3 Communicative Competence and Language Skills
2.5.4 Communicative Competence and Input
2.5.5 Communicative Competence and Motivation
2.5.6 Assessing Students’ Communicative Competence
2.6 Teaching Communicative Competence
2.6.1 Linguistic Competence
2.6.2 Sociolinguistic Competence
2.6.3 Discourse Competence
2.6.4 Strategic Competence
2.6.5 Teaching Communicative Competence through the Four Skills Teaching Listening Skill to Develop Learners’ Communicative Competence Teaching Speaking Skill to Develop Learners’ Communicative Competence Teaching Reading Skill to Develop Learners’ Communicative Competence Teaching Writing Skill to Develop Learners’ Communicative competence
2.7 Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
2.7.1 Theoretical Basis of CLT
2.7.2 Principles of CLT The Goals of Language Teaching How Learners Learn a Language The kinds of Classroom Activities that Best Facilitate Learning
2.8 The Roles of Teachers and Learners in the Classroom
2.9 Curriculum Components of CLT
2.10 Implication of Communicative Language Teaching in Classroom
2.11 Conclusion
2.11Works Cited

3. Chapter Three: Research Methodology
3.0 Introduction
3.1 Research Design and Methods
3.1.1 Research Design
3.2 Sample Design
3.2.1 Nonprobability Sampling Snowball Sampling Quota Sampling Convenience Sampling
3.3 Method Design
3.3.1 Multi-methods Approach
3.3.2 Triangulation
3.3.3 Methods Triangulation
3.4 Quantitative Paradigm
3.4.1 Questionnaire Questionnaire Design Questionnaire Referee Questionnaire Piloting Questionnaire Administration
3.4.2 Classroom Observation Checklist Piloting the Observation Checklist Administrating the Classroom Observation Checklist
3.4.3 Validity and Reliability Reliability in Quantitative Research Validity in Quantitative Research Face Validity Content Validity Criterion (Related) Validity Validity and Reliability of the Questionnaire Test-Retest Validity and Reliability of the Observation Checklist Inter-rater Reliability
3.5 Ethical Consideration
3.6 Analysis of Data
3.6.1 Quantitative Analysis Preparing the Data for Analysis Analyzing the Data
3.7 Conclusion
3.8 Works Cited

4. Chapter Four: Data Analyses and Interpretations
4.0 Introduction
4.1 Questionnaire findings
4.1.1 Teachers’ Responses to/ or Teachers’ Perceptions about Linguistic Competence Items a) Teaching English grammar rules is necessary to secondary school students b) If you selected a positive answer, what is the best way to teach grammar? a) Teaching new English words is best through: b)Which of the above list do you usually use to introduce new words to your students? To understand and produce isolated sentences in English, students need to get knowledge in: Which areas of English phonology do you focus on?
4.1.2 Teachers’ Responses to/ or Teachers’ Perceptions about Discourse Competence Items a) To understand and produce English texts in writing or speaking, students need to get knowledge in: b) Please specify which of the above choices do you explain to your students? a) To organize a written paragraph or a spoken utterance in a logical structure, students need to get knowledge in: b) Which element(s) of the above choices do you make your students familiar with? To organize a written paragraph or spoken conversation in a meaningful way, students need to get knowledge in: To participate effectively in a conversation, students need to get knowledge in:
4.1.3 Teachers’ Responses to/ or Teachers’ Perceptions about Strategic Competence Items Do you motivate your students to use communicative strategies? b) If you selected yes, how often do you motivate your students to use communicative strategies? Which of the following strategies can help them keep the communicative channel open?
4.1.4 Teachers’ Responses to/ or teachers’ Perceptions about Sociolinguistic Competence Items a) To understand the intention of native speakers in their talks or writings, students need to get knowledge in: b) Which elements of the above choices do you focus during your classroom teaching?
4.1.5 Teachers’ Responses to/ or Teachers’ Perceptions about Fluency/Accuracy Items When students participate in classroom activities, teachers focus on: When students make mistakes in grammar during their talk in English: Which types of students’ errors should teachers correct directly?
4.1.6 Teachers’ Responses to/ or Teachers’ Perceptions about their Roles inside Class Items The roles of teacher change depending on the tasks or activity s/he is teaching to class Which role do you play mostly in your classroom?
4.1.7 Teachers’ Responses to/ or Teachers’ Perceptions about Communicative Competence/Communicative Language Teaching Items a) Are you familiar with the term " Communicative Competence"? b) If your answer was yes, where have you got that familiarity? The purpose of English Language Teaching is to enhance students’ communicative competence? Communicative Language Teaching is the best teaching method for developing students’ communicative competence Using technology in teaching English can motivate students to learn language better
4.2 Presentation of the Observation Checklist Results
4.2.1Teaching Grammar
4.2.2 Teaching Vocabulary
4.2.3 Teaching Areas of Phonology
4.2.4 Teaching Cohesion Elements
4.2.5 Teaching Coherence Elements
4.2.6 Teaching Conversation Structures
4.2.7 Focusing on Strategic Competence
4.2.8 Teaching Language Functions
4.2.9 Teaching Culture
4.2.10 Teaching Registers of English
4.2.11 Teaching Varieties of English
4.2.12 Fluency versa Accuracy
4.2.13 Teachers’ Role inside classroom
4.3 Summary of the Findings
4.3.1 Linguistic Competence Grammar Vocabulary Phonology
4.3.2 Discourse Competence
4.3.3 Strategic Competence
4.3.4 Sociolinguistic Competence
4.3.5 Fluency versus Accuracy
4.3.6 Teachers’ Roles inside Classroom
4.3.7 Communicative Language Teaching
4.4 Works Cited

5. Chapter Five: Conclusions, Discussions and Recommendations
5.0 Introduction
5.1 Discussion
5.1.1 5.1.1 How do Teachers Teach Grammar?
5.1.2 How do Teachers Teach Vocabulary? The First Hypothesis
5.1.3 To What Extent do Teachers Focus on Developing Students’ Discourses Competence? The Second Hypothesis
5.1.4 To What Extent do Teachers Focus on Developing Students’ Strategic Competence? The Third Hypothesis
5.1.5 To What Extent do Teachers Pay Attention to Develop students’ Pragmatic Competence? The Fourth Hypothesis
5.1.6 To What Extent do Teachers focus on Students’ fluency/ accuracy?
5.1.7 What are the Roles of the Teachers’ inside the Classes?
5.2 Conclusion
5.3 Recommendations and Suggestions
5.3.1 Further Researches
5.3.2 Implications of the findings
5. 3. 3 Limitations of the Study
5.4 Works Cited

6. Bibliography
6.1 Primary Sources
6.2 Secondary Sources
6.2.1 Book
6.2.2 Journals
6.2.3 Dissertations
6.2.4 Others
6.2.5 Dictionaries

7. Appendices
7.1 Appendix (A)
7.2 Appendix (B)
7.3 Appendix (C)
7.4 Appendix (D)
7.5 Appendix (E)
7.6 Appendix (F)
7.7 Appendix (G)


To my parents, who left the comforts of a familiar life so I can discover mine.

Any success I have is a direct result of your success as loving parents.

To my brothers, Rami, Magdy, Fadel, and Ali, and my sister Jihad for their unconditional support and encouragements to pursue my interests.

To my beloved wife, Sonia, and children Rashad, Rawan and Abdulrahman.

To my extended family and the many friends, who have been so supportive and encouraged the fulfillment of this work. To all those who believed in me and pried for my success.


I, hereby declare that the work included in this thesis entitled, “COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE IN TEACHING ENGLISH AT SECONDARY SCHOOLS: A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION IN YAFF’AE DISTRICT OF YEMEN” is carried out by me under the guidance of Dr. S.S. Kanade, Asst. Professor, Department of English, Shri Madhavrao Patil Mahavidyalaya, Muurm Dt. Osmanabad. The work is original and has not been submitted in part or in full to any other University or institute for award of any research degree. The extent of information derived from the existing literature has been indicated in the body of the thesis at appropriate places giving the reference.

illustration not visible in this excerpt


This is to certify that work embodied in the thesis entitled, “COMMUNICATIVE COMPETENCE IN TEACHING ENGLISH AT SECONDARY SCHOOLS: A CRITICAL INVESTIGATION IN YAFF’AE DISTRICT OF YEMEN” being submitted by Wagdi Rashad Ali Bin-Hady to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad for the award of degree of Doctor of Philosophy in English is a record of bonafide research work carried out by him under my guidance and supervision, and has fulfilled the requirements for the submission of this thesis to my knowledge, has reached requisite standard. The results contained in this thesis have not been submitted in part or in full, to any other University or institute for the award of any degree or diploma.

illustration not visible in this excerpt


First and foremost, I would like to thank Allah, Al-Mighty for helping me in doing this research study, without His help, I could not have done it. Next, my sincere thanks to the many people who helped with this research, and without whom this thesis would never have been completed. In particular, I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. S.S. Kanade, for accepting me to be one of his students and for his motivation, endless help and greatest patience.

I am deeply grateful to all those who support me financially in producing this work, my special thank would be sent to my greatest parents, and brothers, Rami and Magdi, and my friends Adel Ali Seb’a and Yasser Nasser. I also owe my uncle Zeed Hady and my cousin Samed for their supports.

I would like to thank Dr. Rafiq Al-Shamiry, Dr. Adnan Saeed, Dr. Nabil Assomiate, Dr. Nancy Zingrone, Dr. Abdullnasser Alnakeeb, Abla Bella, and Mr. Aref Nassi for the many hours they spent while proofreading my first draft chapters.

I owe a particular debt of gratitude to Prof. Pat Bazeley, (Macquarie University) for all her excellent tips about my conclusion.

Special thank would be acknowledged to all the following doctors: Nancy Zingrone, Doris Molero, Janet Salmons, Reza Mobashshernia, Abdul Nasser Alnakeeb, Fowzia Bin Othman, Adel Khaleq, and Adnan Saeed, for referring my questionnaire.

I would also want to thank Dr. Donna Butler, and Prof. David Morgan (Portland State University) for their guidance about the research methodology and design. I owe my friend, Abdo Saeed for all his help and appearance on my behalf in front of the university.

A special thank is also acknowledged to all secondary school teachers in Yaff'ea, who participated by giving their opinions as well as allowing me to attend their class to observe them.

Finally, I would like to thank all whosoever helped me with any kind of help to make this work fulfilled and existed.


Communicative competence globally becomes the aim of English language teaching and learning. So far, the aim of any English course should develop students’ communicative competence to the extent that they will be able to express themselves naturally, proficiently and appropriately. This study is conducted to check English language secondary school teachers’ knowledge about communicative competence elements and to what extent they are able to teach communicative competence elements to secondary school students. The researcher uses a non-probability sampling, taking into account the representativeness of the whole districts of Yaff’ea. Seventy English language teachers (n=70) at secondary schools in Yaff’ea responded to the questionnaire. Moreover, the researcher observed fourteen English language teachers (n=14) to check their classroom practices. The researcher followed the multi-methods research design. Data were collected by using a semi-closed ended questionnaire and a structured classroom observation. Both data were analyzed quantitatively. The validity was checked depending on the pilot study and referees whereas the reliability was checked by using a test-retest method with an interval time of two weeks. The findings of this study showed that teachers have to some extent good perceptions about communicative competence elements. However, strict contradictions were found between teachers’ perceptions and their actual practice. Moreover, the study revealed that teachers face difficulties in teaching communicative competence with different levels of complexity among its elements. Teachers neglected teaching phonology which is a basic element of linguistic competence as well as they taught vocabulary and grammar using traditional approaches. With reference to sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence and strategic competence, the study reported similar problems whether in the contradictions between what teachers believe in and what they actually do, or the overwhelmingly neglection of sub-elements. Finally, the study reflects the dominancy that teachers play and the passive orientation for learners.


Communicative competence, linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence/pragmatic competence, discourse competence, strategic competence, intercultural competence, communicative language teaching, secondary school teachers in Yaff’ea district of Yemen. Model of communicative competence, communicative competence theory, teaching communicative competence, four language skills.

Lists of Tables & Charts

Chart (2.1) Bachman’s (1990) theoretical model

Chart (2.2) comparison between Bachman’s 1990 and Bachman and Palmer’s 1996

Table (No.3.1) demonstrates the representative of sample to each district

Table (No.3.2) illustrates the observed teachers in two districts


Figure (2.1) Canale and Swain’s theoretical models as appeared in (Johnson 91)

Figure (2.2) Celce-Murcia, Dornyei, and Thurrell’s (1995) theoretical model

Figure (2.3) Celce-Murcia’s (2007) theoretical model

Figure (2.4) Usó-Juan and Martínez-Flor’s theoretical model

Figure (2.5) Savignon’s communicative language teaching model

Figure ( 2.6) Farrell and Jacobs’ principle of communicative language teaching

Figure ( 4.1) Teachers’ beliefs about teaching grammar

Figure (4.2) Teachers’ approach to teach grammar

Figure (4.3) Teachers’ perceptions about teaching new words

Figure (4.4) Teachers reflections to teaching new words..

Figure (4.5) Teachers’ perception about linguistic competence

Figure (4.6) teachers’ focus about English phonology

Figure (4.7) Teachers’ perceptions about aspect Discourse competence

Figure (4.8) Teachers’ focuses on discourse competence aspects

Figure (4.9) Teachers’ perception about cohesion

Figure (4.10) teachers’ perception about their focus of teaching cohesion

Figure (4.11) teachers’ perceptions about coherence

Figure (4.12) teachers’ perceptions about conversational structures

Figure (4.13) Teachers’ perceptions about strategic competence

Figure (4.14) Teachers’ frequency in motivating students to use communicative strategies

Figure (4.15) teachers’ perception about using communicative strategies

Figure (4.16) teachers’ perceptions about pragmatic competence

Figure (4.17) teachers focus on teaching pragmatic competence

Figure (4.18) Teachers focus on students’ fluency

Figure (4.19) teachers’ focus on students’ grammatical errors

Figure (4.20) teachers’ perceptions on direct type of error corrections

Figure (4.21) Teachers’ perceptions about changing their roles in classes

Figure (4.22) teachers’ role inside class

Figure (4.23) teachers’ familiarity with communicative competence

Figure (4.24) teachers’ source of familiarity with communicative competence

Figure (2.25) teachers’ perceptions about communicative competence

Figure (2.26) teachers’ perceptions about communicative language teaching

Figure (4.27) teachers’ perceptions about integration technology in ELT

Figure (4.28) teachers’ actual focus on teaching grammar

Figure (4.29) teachers’ focuses for teaching vocabulary

Figure (4.30) teachers focus on teaching areas of phonology

Figure (4.31) teachers focus on areas of cohesion

Figure (4.32) teachers focus on elements of coherence

Figure (4.33) teachers’ focus on conversation structures

Figure (4.34) teachers’ focus on strategic competence elements

Figure (4.35) teachers’ focus on language functions

Figure (4.36) teachers focus on culture of English people.

Figure (4.37) teachers focus on registers of English

Figure (4.38) teachers focus on varieties of English

Figure (4.39) teachers focus on fluency/accuracy

Figure (4.40) Teachers’ focus on students’ error

Figure (4.41) teachers’ roles


illustration not visible in this excerpt


1.0 Introduction

People usually communicate with others purposefully. Light sets up four functions of communication: Initially, we talk to express our wants and needs. Then, we talk to achieve social closeness. Moreover, people talk to express their changeable goals and share information. Finally, we talk to achieve social etiquette (Light 62). Notwithstanding how efficient people are in achieving the four purposes listed above, they just talk. Efficiency and appropriacy differ from an individual to another. The more that an individual is competent in communication, the more likely that such purposes will be achieved. However, Light and Mcnaughton state that an individual’s competence in communication may differ from one setting to another “depending on the partners, environments, and communication goals” (3).

Communicative competence revolves around many areas of social life. It brings up understanding and coexistence amongst people of different language backgrounds. Being a competent in communication according to Zaščerinska participates in gaining others’ respect, making peace and even getting job opportunities to work, study and appointing higher positions in society (1). Moreover, it reminds us about the fundamentality of human life (Light 61). A competent communicator centralizes and correlates to social intelligence (Wilkinson 305). Communicative competence not only achieves individual’s interpersonal relations, but also strengthens social adjustment (Morreale, Osborn, and Pearson 2).

Many countries offer scholarships for students all over the globe for the sake of getting in touch with their cultures and acquiring competence in their languages (Jackson). Therefore, such students would come back to their countries as ambassadors of the host countries they lived in for some times. Moreover, communicative competence establishes bridges of understanding with remote nations, different religious belongings, cultural diversity (Bin-Hady and Kanade; Chen) and participating in resolving political, economic, humanitarian and environmental obstacles.

For EFL/ESL students, communicative competence in English might provide them with chances to express themselves fully (Al-magid 17) and boost them to pursue their study in whatsoever fields they are interested in whether in their countries or abroad. Many universities set tests for students to ensure that such students could pursue their lectures (Avineri et al. 254) when joining high study programs like Master’s and PhD’s. Such universities recommend students to pass tests like: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (NUS). Even doing the Master or Ph.D. in any fields of study in many Arabian countries requires passing the Proficiency Test in English or the TOEFL test.

The TOEFL/ IELTS/ or the proficiency test is aimed to test individuals’ repertoire in communication. Passing such tests requires; therefore, competence in linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse and communicative strategies that are responsible for keeping communicative channel open when facing any problems or misunderstandings. So, how important is it to build such competencies in our students from earlier stages of education! By doing so, we guarantee their dreams to be fulfilled and accomplish their higher education in various fields of sciences, arts, economics, medicine, politics, education, etc.

Therefore, the current research is an attempt to investigate the implication of communicative competence sub/components in English language classrooms at Yaff'ea secondary school districts of Yemen. Some of the reasons urged the researcher to conduct such a study are based on the apparent backward level of secondary school graduates in English. The researcher thought that learners might acquire considerable repertoire whenever English language teachers set communicative competence as the main goal of teaching English to their students. In addition, it is required that all components of communicative competence should be presented in classrooms and students should be motivated to participate in classroom communicative tasks or activities too.

The purpose of learning and teaching English is to develop students’ communicative competence (Jidong; Choi; Demo; Gilmore; Zaščerinska; Littlewood). English is taught in Yemen as a school subject for six years. It starts from the seventh grade of the preparatory school to the third year of the secondary school. “Crescent English Course for Yemen” (Henceafter CECY) is the English curriculum set by the Ministry of Education for Yemeni schools. CCFY is designed to meet the Communicative Approach “theoretical and pedagogical principles” (O’Neill, Snow, and Peacock 4). The CCFY according to O'Neill, Snow, and Peacock is a mixed syllabus which integrates both functional and structural approaches. Because the Crescent course for Yemen is based on the Communicative Approach, the present study is aiming to investigate secondary school teachers’ applicability and focuses on developing students’ communicative competence. More specifically, the present study orients secondary school teachers.

1.1 English Language Teaching in Yemen

English language is taught in Yemen as a foreign language. It was firstly taught in South Yemen in the 19th century (Al-Hammadi and Sidek 167). During the period of British colonization to South Yemen, English became the official language by which the British and the people in South Yemen communicate. Later on, English over spread to cover all the government offices, law, and regulations which more later internationally received higher attentions to be used in private sectors too (qtd, in AlTamimi, “Reading Comprehension” 10).

Teaching English in Yemen before 1990 was a structural oriented approach (Bataineh, Bataineh, and Thabet 859). Two Educational systems emerged before 1990 in Yemen primary and secondary schools: one of them in the south and another in the north. Both South Arabian and North Yemen were under domination. South Arabian or what is called later People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY) (South Yemen) was colonized by the British Empire for more than a century, while North Yemen which was under the Othmani empire control and later became monarchy by Imamate or what is called (the kingdom of Motwakily Hashmy) then (Yemeni Arab Republic) in 1962 (Al-Tamimi, “Reading Comprehension” 5). The researcher discusses them briefly below.

1.1.1 South Yemen

South Yemen or (South Arabian) during the British regime, which later got its independency form the British colonization in (1967) under the name of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, offered English as a second language, specifically in Aden. Davis stated that even nowadays many of the Adeni people he met spoke English (55). AL-Ahdal mentioned that southerners received formal education during the British colonization and English was taught for them to work at the British offices in Aden whether as clerks or interpreters (“Enhancing Competence” 7). After the independence, South Yemen adapted a learning system where English was taught at early grades. Abdullah and Patil classified the pre-university education system in South Yemen into: unity schools and secondary school. The former includes eight years of schooling, where English is taught as a compulsory subject in this phase from grade five. Grammar and vocabulary were the basis of the instructional syllabus they offered, and the latter includes four grades. It starts directly after the eight unity schools. Students were studying a syllabus of English language called “The Yemeni Readers for Secondary Schools” (“Importance and Challenges” 2).

1.1.2 North Yemen

It was not before the (1962) till Northerners got some basic education, English was just taught as a school subject afterward (AL-Ahdal, “Enhancing Competence” 7). North Yemen offered three phases for pre-university education. Primary education which included six grades. English was not taught in the primary level. The second level was called preparatory education. It had three years of schooling, from seven to nine. English was taught in this level. The third level was the secondary school, where students had to spend three years of schooling. The first grade of secondary education was general for all students. Later on, students were given the opportunities to select whether to join the literary or the science sections from the second year of secondary school (Abdullah and Patil,“Importance and Challenges” 3).

1.1.3 Education System in Yemen after (1990)

As it has been noticed from the two classifications for the educational systems in the two countries before 1990, the new education system adopted for the Republic of Yemen follows the pre-unity system adopted in North Yemen. It has the same classification for the three level mentioned previously. It also offers English at the preparatory phase (7th grade). Furthermore, the secondary phase offers three years by which students study general subject in the first year and are given the chance to select between the literary or the science sections in the second year of secondary school.

1.1.4 English Language Curriculum in Yemen

As mentioned earlier, English is taught from the 7th grade of preparatory school to the 9th grade where students are required to pass a ministerial examination in this phase to be allowed to study in secondary school. Al-Hammadi and Sidek mentioned that the Yemeni ministry of education offered a curriculum called “The English Course for Yemen” (ECFY). It started for two years (168). Bataineh, Thabet, and Bataineh stated that the “English Course for Yemen” (ECFY) which was a structural based syllabus had been substituted by another communicative/functional syllabus, i.e., “English Crescent Course for Yemen” (ECCFY) in 1993 (15). A modification has been done for the course book and a new syllabus has been offered from then up to the time of writing this dissertation that is “Crescent English Course for Yemen”.

1.1.5 Crescent English Course for Yemen

Crescent English Course (CEC) is the syllabus offered for teaching English in the Arab world (O’Neill, Snow, and Peacock). Regarding to the limit of benefit that students received in English during the pre-unity phase, the ministry of education offered the “Crescent English Course for Yemen” (henceafter CECY) (Al-Tamimi, “Reading Comprehension” 16). However, the weakness of students’ repertoire in English still exists. As the present study concerns with secondary school, below is a brief description for the three course books taught in the Yemeni secondary schools:

Crescent 4: It is required for the first year of secondary school. It has materials for teachers (Teacher’s Book and Cassette) and materials for pupils (Pupils’ book and Workbook).

Crescent 5: It is designed for the second year of secondary school. It has the same materials as Crescent 4. In addition to that, it contains two sections (Art Reader and Science Reader). Students can choose at this year whether to select art section or science section.

Crescent 6: It is the last course book for the Yemeni secondary school students. It has the same material as Crescent 5 and it aims to prepare students for the ministerial final examination for the secondary school certificate.

1.1.6 Techniques and Procedures Used for Teaching CECY

Like any communicative curriculum, CECY adapts integrity amongst the four language skills. O’Neill, Snow, and Peacock state:

Since real communication generally involves more than one language skill, Crescent adopts an integrated skills approach. The materials and methodology are essentially pupil-centered, aiming to promote learning through meaningful individual and interactive tasks (14).

CECY not only pioneers integration amongst the language four skills, it also centralizes pupils in the learning/teaching process.

1.2.1 Challenges of Learning and Teaching in Yemen

Many challenges affect the learning and teaching process in the Yemeni educational field in general and secondary education in particular. Muthanna criticized the interference of nepotism in selecting candidates for job opportunities or accepting students in colleges. Likewise, the lack of teachers is reported as a crucial challenge to the learning and teaching processes. Moreover, Muthanna and Karaman asserted that the education policy makers in Yemen did not pay sufficient attention to apply their planned strategies. However, the researcher analyzes some of the obstacles from his point of view under four main categories: the political conflict, dark future, cheating, and unemployment. The Political Conflict

Globally, conflict usually affects education directly, for example the deaths or injuries of teachers and students, and indirectly like forcing people to leave their homes and interrupting education (Jones and Naylor 18). It is worth mentioning that the current political instability in Yemen is amongst the severe challenges that affect education. According to the Unicef’s 2015 August report, about thousands of schools have been closed and nearly about 1.8 million of children are out of schools in Yemen (3). Before planning to improve the educational system, politicians and decisionmakers have to resolve all the hanged up problems and obstacles which encounter the country since its birth.

It is very difficult to say whatsoever strategies or a five-years plan is effective to improve the education system, training teachers or writing the most efficient course books for students still be worthless, whenever students are living in a country overwhelmed by wars, corruption, marginalization and sometimes they are recruited in wars and their school buildings are usually used as shelters for homeless families. To conclude, students need to feel safe and observe a prospered future in front of them, therefore, they can be inspired positively towards curiosity. Dark Future

Feeling safe and secure is important though, it cannot bring up motivation for students to study hard unless a promising future is seen in front of them. Many Yemeni secondary school students are just studying to get certificates and planning to travel abroad to work. Such perception is increasing as secondary school students see their friends, brothers, or relatives who got university certificates stayed at home jobless and some of them work in teams with illiterate people. According to Muthanna, “the unemployment rate is currently dramatically increasing and this rather demotivates secondary school and higher education students, who might seriously, based on the status of the higher education institutions’ jobless graduates they daily meet, consider leaving schools and looking for other work opportunities” (536). To summarize, secondary school students might work hard and study for the aim of sharpening their repertoires whenever they are reassured to find respected jobs after getting their university certificates. Cheating

Like the political instability and dark future, cheating affects the learning and teaching processes in Yemen in general and Yaff'ea districts in particular. Yemeni students depend on cheating to pass the primary and secondary final examinations. Such bad habits, according to Abdullah and Patil, “Importance and Challenges” 6; Abdullah 18, usually occur with the help of teachers. Such practices were reported within the public schools. Similarly, regarding to the private schools, AL-Ahdal mentioned some discrepancies that private schools in Yemen have as:

[T]hey [private schools] are viewed by their owners only as money spinners, not as centres of educational excellence. They extract maximum amounts of money from the parents, but spend a bare minimum on teachers and modern educational equipment. There are even allegations that they encourage corruption in their bid to ensure good results in examinations (“Enhancing Competence” 4).

Thus, students’ addiction of such bad habits to pass their examinations might move into practicing them in their higher studies, even with high and skillful techniques. Secondary school students, teachers, parents, academic supervisors and the ministry of education contribute in overspreading the cheating habits. Srikanth and Asmatulu write “[w]ith the education system going more high-tech, cheating methods are also going high-tech” (138). However, in Yemen, just cheating goes high-tech. At the outset of emersion the cheating habits, which according to many people, started after the Yemeni unity by permitting students to use their books to answer the examination questions. Later on, students used to bring their academic professional friends to schools to help them with the tests. Unfortunately, teachers themselves get involved in such habits by coming to the examination halls and writing all the answers on the board to the students. Nowadays, with the overspreading of technology, students often take photos to the exam papers using their Cell-phone cameras and send the scanned photos to their friends wherever they are by WhatsApp application or Facebook. Moreover, the ministry of education encourages such phenomena by bestowing the professional cheaters scholarships to study abroad.

In order to quit cheating in secondary school examinations, it is suggested for the ministry of education to delete the final examinations. Therefore, students will depend on themselves as they usually do in the first and second year of secondary schools. It is then more legitimate to offer scholarships for the brilliant students who got the highest percentages in every schools. Unemployment

As the political instabilities increase in Yemen many sources of incomes which were providing the country with foreign currency like tourism and exporting social goods have stopped, therefore the level of unemployment increases in the country. Moreover, the corrupted system which ruled the country for a long time accumulated the wealth for itself and its coalitions. AL-Ahdal stated that, Yemeni university graduates have to wait some years to find job opportunities. For English language teachers, waiting some years without practicing English decreases their repertoire, unless they continuously read (“Enhancing Competence” 120). In additional to the unemployment high rate, new job opportunities in Yemen if found are affected by “corruption and nepotism” (Abdullah and Patil, “Rural Education” 155).

For improving the secondary school educational system in Yemen, the ministry of education should provide enough job opportunities every year to every secondary school. The shortage of teachers in the Yemeni secondary schools has been reported in the literatures of many authors like, (Bataineh, Thabet, and Bataineh; Abdullah and Patil, “Importance and Challenges”; Al-Abbadi; Alnakeeb; Zuheer). Moreover, the ministry of education should also take into account the transparent measurements and justice in selecting the candidates from the applicants. Whenever the above mentioned requirements are fulfilled, the unemployment rate surely decreases and the learning system definitely be developed as the fresh graduateteachers have better energies and knowledge. Moreover, it is required to minimize the retirements from 35 years to 25 years. Therefore, there is no need to train early teachers and instead depending on fresh teachers totally.

1.2.2 Challenges of Teaching English in Yemen

Amongst the crucial obstacles that affect teaching English language in all the Arabian countries in general and in the Yemeni field in particular is the obstacle of the English culture. Based on that, Arabic/Islamic culture is different from the western cultures. Mahmoud asserted that as soon as Arabic learners of English set in their English classes, they encounter “cultural shock” (67). Another challenge for English language teaching in Yemen is that students may not be exposed to real situational communications (Al-sohbani, “An Investigation” 43). Furthermore, other challenges of teaching English in Yemen are the traditional approach predomination at different stages where English is taught. According to Al-Joufi, English is taught at the Yemeni universities using traditional methods of reciting lectures and taking notes (29). Similarly, Abdullah and Patil criticized the ways in which English is taught in Yemen and mentioned that English teachers did not only neglect the application of teaching English to enhance learners social and cognitive factors, but also lost the main goal of teaching English too (“Importance and Challenges” 5).

1.2.3 Challenges of Teaching English at Yemeni Secondary Schools

The previous section deals with the challenges that face teaching English in Yemen in general. In this section some of the problems investigated in earlier literature will be mentioned. Abdullah; AL-Ahdal, “Enhancing Competence” criticized the unsuitability of the English teaching materials at the Yemeni secondary schools to their real life situations. Furthermore, Al-Sohbani asserted that there are no relationship between students’ attitudes towards their English language teachers as well as their motivation to learn English (“The Role of Attitudes” 33). Likewise, Bataineh, Thabet, and Bataineh revealed that large classes, shortage of teachers, funding, and supervisors as well as the cultural diversity all affect the teaching English in the Yemeni secondary schools (14). Similarly, Al-Sohbani mentioned that teaching English at the Yemeni secondary schools is still traditionally oriented with teachers-centered (“Exploration” 52). Additionally, it is also found that English secondary school teachers could not apply the theoretical knowledge they possess whenever they instruct their students (AL-Ahdal, “Enhancing Competence” vi).

Based on observing teachers during their classroom teaching, the researcher can summarize the following obstacles of teaching English in the Yaff'ea setting:

- Teachers teach English traditionally by translating the new vocabulary and grammar rules are taught deductively by using Arabic language.
- Teachers seem unprepared and have no goals to achieve during their classes.
- Students are passively neglected and even sometimes offended.
- Language skills: speaking, listening and writing are neglected totally.  English is never used as a means of instruction.
- No real assessments or feedbacks are given to students.

1.3.1 Communicative Competence in Yemen

The term ‘communicative competency’ is extremely new in the field of Yemeni academic research. Very few studies to my knowledge have been conducted in Yemen. The first study has been conducted in the Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) to investigate three course books taught in the preparatory stage. The study focused on the availability of communicative competence activities and behaviors in the three books prepared for the preparatory stage. The study found that the three course books focused totally on the form and very few emphases were given to communicative activities. It also revealed that the three course books did not focus on discourse or sociolinguistic communicative activities. Finally, the study also showed that similar focuses were given to listening, speaking and reading activities; however, writing activities were neglected totally (Abbad). Another study has also been conducted for investigating the oral communicative competence obstacles that Yemeni learners of English faced at tertiary levels while trying to communicate with native speakers of the target language. The study related students’ failure in oral communication to the: traditional pedagogy used for teaching English, lack of learning and communicative strategies as well as students’ isolation from the English culture (Al-Shamiry ii). A third study has been aimed to explore the importance of in- service training program for developing English language secondary school teachers’ communicative competence in Al-Hodeida governorate of Yemen. The study recommended the necessity of an in-service program to be held for enhancing teachers’ competences and skills in teaching English (AL-Ahdal, “Enhancing Competence” vi). The fourth study has been aimed to explore the effects of public speaking to enhance students’ communicative competence and minimizing their apprehension. The study targeted tertiary students at Hadhramout university of Yemen. The study revealed that learners’ public speaking maximizes their communicative competence and minimizes their communicative apprehension after one term of study (Al-Tamimi 45). Therefore, the current study aims to explore the implications of English language teachers to communicative competence elements in Yaff'ea secondary schools of Yemen.

1.3.2 Communicative Language Teaching in Yemen

Few studies have been conducted in the Yemeni setting on Communicative Language Teaching (henceforth CLT). Bataineh, Bataineh, and Thabet studied Yemeni teachers’ understanding of CLT principles as well as their practice to such principles in their classroom. They found that teachers could not reflect CLT principles in their classroom actual practice; despite their understanding of CLT theoretical principles. Furthermore, Bataineh, Thabet, and Bataineh explored the obstacles that face Yemeni teachers to apply communicative techniques in Taiz public schools. Their study related some of the obstacles to apply such techniques to the: crowded classes, shortage of funding as well as lackage of teachers-training supervisors. Al-Sohbani also conducted a study to investigate the Yemeni secondary school teachers’ practices at classroom, their awareness of CLT principles as well as the obstacles that prevent the implications of CLT in classroom. He found that teachers use grammar translation method in their classes. Furthermore, his study revealed that teachers are not aware about CLT principles. Finally, he reported that large classes, lackage of teaching aids, as well as parents’ carelessness prevent CLT implication in teaching English at Yemeni secondary schools (“Exploration” 51).

1.4.1 Statement of the Problem

Secondary school graduates in Yaff'ea districts of Yemen face difficulties to register in the Bachelor programs due to their weak knowledge in English. It is reported that just three students in all Abyain governorate have passed the entrance examination held by the faculty of Medicine, Aden University for the academic year 2015-2016. The majority of Yaff'ea graduate students even those who are good in other school subjects, still complain from English. Al-Sohbani states that most Yemeni graduate students could not use English purposefully (“Exploration”45). Similarly, AL-Ahdal also admits that Yemeni secondary school graduates studied English for six years like their peers in other countries where English is studied as a foreign language; however, Yemeni secondary school graduates could not use English outside classrooms (“Integration” 41). Al-Hammadi and Sidek relate such weakness of Yemeni graduate students’ repertoire in English, despite the fact that they have studied English for six years, because the majority of them just wish to pass the exams, not to use English for communication purposes (171). It is also claimed that the reasons behind students poor proficiency in English related not only to the teaching pedagogies used by teachers but also to the unsuitability of the learning settings (Al-Tamimi 47). Moreover, the students’ weakness is also seen as a result of the unavailability of oral tests as well as to teachers ignorance to encourage them to participate in pair or group discussions (AL-Ahdal, “Enhancing Competence” 16-17).

With reference to teaching English at Yaff'ea, a study found that English language teachers in Yaff'ea districts did not understand the theoretical view as well as the practical principles of Communicative Approach (Alnakeeb 187). Hence, teachers’ lack of knowledge of the theoretical and practical principles of teaching English communicatively affects the outcome of their students. Even curious students who want to pursue their academic study have to enroll in English course programs held in big cities private institutions like Aden or Sana’a to develop their level of English. Therefore, they can do well in the entrance examination prerequisite for accepting students in several colleges. As a volunteer teacher in two secondary schools at Yaff'ea for three years, the researcher got in touch with secondary school students and had also been visited by graduate students to his home for revising some lessons in their course books. Furthermore, even students who passed the entrance examination required by their colleges, still have problems in their first year at the college programs. They usually score low in first-year examinations, despite the hard work they spent in front of their dictionaries to translate most vocabularies that construct their syllabuses.

It is worth mentioning that learning a second or a foreign language does not occur by learning the vocabularies and structures of the target language. A learner needs to learn how people interact with each other socially and culturally. Not only that, a learner must also know how to express him/herself naturally wherever being integrated into a natural language setting. Furthermore, a learner sometimes forgets the suitable vocabulary or structure in a certain conversation; he/she needs to invent strategies for compensation and undertakes his/ her role in that situation. Teachers therefore need to understand the four components of communicative competence to teach the language precisely and also use the techniques which help learners to learn the language fully.

Such incidents urge the researcher to study this phenomenon from communicative competence perspectives and investigate secondary school teachers’ opinions and attitudes about which components of communicative competence students need to develop their repertoires in English from one hand, and observing teachers’ implication to communicative competence elements during their classroom instruction from the other.

1. 4. 2 Significance of the Study

Problems of teaching English in the Yemeni secondary schools are of significant importance (Al-Hammadi and Sidek). Thus, the current study significance spreads over the following incidents. Initially, this study may be considered as an adventure to the field of communicative competence. It opens new horizons in front of so many previous studies, theories and beliefs which considered communicative competence to be acquired not taught, therefore, the study explores the possibility of setting communicative competence as the goal of English language instruction.

Furthermore, the study significance stems from the multi-facets that it explores. Particularly, it investigates the English language teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and knowledge about which skills students do need to sharpen a specific competence in communication; it also explicitly elicits from English language teachers their implications and focuses to the teaching of communicative competence; and it makes a comparison between teachers’ beliefs and real classroom implications of teaching communicative competence to secondary school students. Based on the three facets discussed above, new considerations will be viewed, assessed and evaluated which could be set as assumptions to be studied in future researches.

Additionally, the study provides the field of communicative competence with a contemporary literature which can be used by teachers, students, supervisors, and scholars to get a clear understanding about the concept (communicative competence). It also provides methodologies, techniques and procedures that can be used for the teaching of communicative competence (sub) elements and the four language skills communicatively.

Likewise, the study reports some recommendations and suggestions for: (1) English language teachers, including how to create secondary school graduates with amazing repertoire in using English for communicative purposes; (2) the ministry of education, specifically with which in-service training programs do English language teachers need to sharpen their teaching skills and therefore can develop their secondary school students’ communicative competence; and with which teaching materials do teachers require for teaching communicative competence naturally; (3) the English language supervisors and the educational forum in Yaff'ea with some strategies about the blending and cooperative teachings amongst different districts; (4) the curricula designers with some activities and tasks that should be inserted in the secondary school English syllabus and; (5) the researchers in the fields of communicative competence and English language teaching to investigate some of the problems arisen while conducting the current study.

1.5.1 Objectives of the Study

The main objectives of the present research are:

1. To focus on classroom activities regarding the components of communicative competence of which grammatical or linguistic competence.
2. To concentrate on classroom activities regarding pragmatic, authentic, and functional use of language for meaningful purposes.
3. To make students conscious about the fluency and accuracy of second language learning classroom.
4. To explore the extent to which teachers motivate students to use communicative strategies.
5. To study English as a global language.
6. To create a friendly atmosphere while teaching English at secondary level.
7. To compare between teachers’ attitudes and practices regarding teaching communicative competence.
8. To study teachers’ role inside classroom.

1.5.2 Hypotheses of the Study

It is hypothesized that:

1. Teachers encounter difficulties in teaching grammatical competence.
2. Teachers face difficulties in teaching discourse competence.
3. Teachers come across difficulties in teaching strategic competence.
4. Teachers encounter difficulties in teaching sociolinguistic competence.

1.5.3 Questions of the Study

1. How do teachers teach grammar?
2. How do teachers teach vocabulary?
3. To what extent do teachers focus on developing students’ discourse competence?
4. To what extent do teachers focus on developing students’ strategic competence?
5. To what extent do teachers pay attention to developing students’ pragmatic competence?
6. To what extent do teachers focus on students’ accuracy or fluency?
7. What are the roles of the teachers inside the classes?

1.6 Research Methods

1.6.1 Sample

This study orients Yemeni English language teachers at Yaff'ea secondary schools. Several strategies have been applied by the researcher to select the sample from the population of the study. First and foremost, the researcher takes into account the true representation of the total population during selecting the sample. As mentioned, seven districts in Yaff'ea out of eight districts are the geographical place for the study. The researcher focuses on the demographical spares for selecting the quota of sampling (see Districts with too many secondary schools and English language teachers are given higher proportions than districts with few secondary schools and teachers. Three sample designs are used in this study. Firstly, snowballing sampling is used to get acquaintance with teachers that the researcher did not know (see Secondly, the researcher uses quota sampling to get true representation for each district (see These sample designs (snowballing and quota sampling) are participated in responding to the questionnaire items. Finally, the researcher uses convenience sampling to be observed in their classroom. Thus, this sampling is designed for the observation tool (see

1.6.2 Design and Procedures Used

The researcher uses the multi-methods research design. Multimethods or Multi-methods is a research design in which more than a single tool of data collection is used in a single study. According to Hesse-Biber, a multimethods research “refers to the mixing of methods by combining two or more qualitative methods in a single research study ... or by using two or more quantitative methods ... in a single research study” (3).

1.6.3 Description of Data Gathering Instruments

As mentioned previously, a multimethods research design is used in this study. Therefore, two methods are used for data collection from participants. These methods are: survey questionnaire and observation.

1. 6.3.1 Questionnaire

Questionnaire is a data collection instrument which is used variously in research. In this study, a closed ended questionnaire is used as well as some open ended questions are attached after the closed ones. The questionnaire is used to collect data about teachers’ opinions and attitudes regarding their focuses on elements of communicative competence as well as students’ needs to become competent in communication. Twenty head items are used in this questionnaire. Some head items have sub-items. Such sub-items are open ended. The questionnaire used includes three scales: Likert scale; Yes/no; and multiple choices. It is used to collect quantitative data from 70 participants in Yaff'ea districts of Yemen. (For more information about the questionnaire, see Appendix A). Observation

Observation is one of the data collection instruments. It is used to collect data about participants’ practices in their institutions. In this study, a structured observation checklist is designed and used by the researcher to collect data about English language teachers’ implementation of communicative competence components at two districts of Yaff'ea secondary schools. The observation design is focused on elements of communicative competence as well as teachers’ roles in their classroom in addition to the techniques that teachers used to teach grammar rules as well new vocabulary to their students (see Appendix E). Tools and Techniques of Data Collection

The researcher used the following techniques during tools designing and data collections:

1. Writing the questionnaire items
2. Refereeing the questionnaire items
3. Piloting the questionnaire items
4. Modifying the difficult items
5. Creating online version of the questionnaire using Google Drive Application
6. Administrating the questionnaire using both printed version as well as the internet version.
7. Designing the observation checklists
8. Contacting with secondary schools managers as well as English language teachers at Russed and Sarar secondary schools to allow the researcher to attend their classrooms and make arrangements about time and date.
9. Piloting the observation checklist during a complete week with three teachers.
10. Refereeing the observation checklist by another university professor who observed the same classes and ticked the list as the teacher explains a lesson to his students.
11. Visiting the majority of secondary schools in the two districts and observing the teachers during their classroom practice.
12. Transferring the hard copy of the participants’ responses of the questionnaire items into the internet version and downloading all responses into Microsoft Excel Documents.

1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study

1.7.1 Scope

The scope of this study can be summarized as:

This study is a unique one in the Yemeni educational field. So its significance lies in the fact that it analyzes the problems that affect the learning process in Yemen. It also explores the teachers’abilities whether they are still living in the medieval era, or they update themselves to pursue the newest methodologies of English language teaching.

1.7.2 Limitation

This study will be delimited into Yaff'ea districts secondary school teachers of English. This research takes seven districts secondary school teachers, including: Russed, Sarar and Sabbah (all these districts are situated in Abyain governorate). Other four districts are situated in Lahj governorate, including: Laboos, Almoflehi, Alhadand and Yaher. The researcher excludes Khanfar district from the study because people there were evacuated to other districts due to the civil war.

Yaff'ea is a mountainous rural area situated in South Yemen. It is located to the north of Aden (Colburn). Yaff'ea spreads between Albida’a governorate to the northern direction and Addale’a to the western direction. It is also located by Lawder from the eastern direction; while Abyan and the Arabian Sea from the southern direction. It is situated between the longitudinal lines of (45-46) and the latitudinal lines of (13-14). Yaff'ea comprises from eight districts, overspread in two governorates i.e., Russed, Sabbah, Sarar, and Khanfar are situated in Abyan governorate; and Laboos, Alhad, Almoflehi and Yaher in Lahj governorate.

Traditionally, Yaff'ea is administratively classified into ten districts makatib; five makatib in Upper Yaff'ea and five in Lower Yaff'ea. Both Upper and Lower parts of Yaff'ea were ruled by Sultans in which the former was ruled by the “Harhara” family and “Afifi” family ruled the latter till the time before the South Arabia Sultanates got independence from Great Britain in 1967 and which constructed later on the South Arabian country, or what became the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. Each of the ten makatib which headed by a Shaikh was subdivided into sub- maktab called (asdas, akhmas, arba'a) and ruled by aqil (Miller 54).

1.8 Chapters Scheme:

The present study will be comprised into five chapters.

1.8.1 Chapter One

The first chapter provides a general introduction to the statement of the problem, the significance of the problem and definition of terms used in this research. The chapter also focuses on some headings, including: the learning system in Yemen, the course book used in Yemen, and the challenges of learning and teaching English at the Yemeni context, and finally the chapter presents the previous studies about communicative competence as well as communicative language teaching in Yemen.

1.8.2 Chapter Two

In this chapter, the researcher intensively reviews seven points in relating to communicative competence. Firstly, definition of the term ‘communicative competence’ has been reviewed thoroughly. The second title in this literature focuses on four theories concerning communicative competence (Chomsky, Hymes, Widdowson and Halliday’s theories). In the third title, the researcher discusses five theoretical frameworks of communicative competence (Canale and Swain, Bachman and Palmer, Celce-Murcia, Dornyei, and Thurrell, the Common European framework of Reference and finally Usó-Juan and Martínez-Flor’ models). The fourth element focuses on the literature of some previous studies concerning the term communicative competence. Elements of communicative competence with their sub elements are discussed in the fifth section. The sixth section deals with the teaching of communicative competence and finally the seventh section provides an insight into the Communicative Language Teaching Approach.

1.8.3 Chapter Three

This chapter outlines the research design and methodical approach as well as the instrumentations that the researcher used in this study for collecting the data from the sample. The context of this study is Yaff'ea, where the sample was drawn from English secondary school teachers in the Yaff'ea context. The researcher used the non-probability sample. For the questionnaire, 70 English language teachers participated by giving their opinions and attitudes about their understanding of communicative competence as well as on which areas of communicative competence they focus on during their classroom instructions. The sample includes about 70% of the total population (of all English secondary school teachers in all Yaff'ea secondary schools). The second sample assigned in this study was 14 English secondary school teachers, who welcomed the researcher to observe them in their classrooms. These individuals live in both Russed and Sarar districts. They constitute nearly about 70% of the total secondary school teachers in those two districts. The researcher followed the multi-method quantitative designs. Both questionnaire and observation are used to collect data from the samples. The researcher constructs two versions of the questionnaire. The hard (printed) version was sent to those teachers who did not have an access to the internet. The researcher also constructed an electronic version using Google Drive Application (GDA). The online version of the questionnaire was shared with those participants who access the internet by sharing link of the questionnaire with the sample whether on Facebook or by using the WhatsApp application. Raw data were automatically recorded in Google Drive file for the internet-based administration. The researcher also adds the participants’ responses of the printed questionnaire to the Google Drive file. Finally, the researcher transfers raw data into numerical values and inputs them into SPSS software, (17th version).

1.8.4 Chapter Four

In chapter four, the researcher displays the findings and symbolizes them in pipes and tubes for both the questionnaire items as well as the observation checklist and compares between similarities and differences for both teachers’ beliefs and practices in actual classroom.

The classroom observation services on two purposes, the first one is to draw a comparison between teachers’ beliefs and their practices. However, the main purpose of observation is to triangulate the questionnaire findings, it also services to provide information and details about sub-elements of the communicative competence components which would not be displayed by the questionnaire. The reason why the researcher did not reflect such sub-components in the questionnaire directly is that such components are difficult to be asked in theoretical dimensions as well as whenever being reflected in the questionnaire, the researcher is not sure about the true reflection that the respondents will report.

1.8.5 Chapter Five

The fifth chapter includes three sections. It discusses the main findings with specific focus to the research questions and hypotheses. It also presents a conclusion for the major findings in general and finally provides recommendations and suggestions for implementing the study findings.

1.9 Definition of the Terms

Communicative Competence is defined briefly in this chapter. Such components and subcomponents are discussed fully in chapter two. Suggested techniques and activities are set also for the teaching of communicative competence elements.

1.9.1 Communicative Competence

Communicative Competence (CC) refers to an individual ability to communicate appropriately and effectively with others.

1.9.2 Linguistic (Grammatical) Competence

Linguistic competence associates with one’ repertoire to produce and comprehend isolated sentences. It covers knowledge in phonology, syntax, lexemes and orthography.

1.9.3 Sociolinguistic (Pragmatic) Competence

Sociolinguistic competence covers learners’ understandability of native speakers’ intentions in talks and the ability to respond appropriately to them taking into account culture diversity, norms, dialects, and appropriacy.

1.9.4 Discourse Competence

Learners of English will be considered competent in discourse whenever they are being able to figure up cohesive and coherent talks and being organized to well produce conversation or texts both cohesively and coherently. In addition, to be coherent and cohesive when participating with others’ interlocutors.

1.9.5 Strategic Competence

Strategic competence is perceived as the learners’ ability to come up with any difficulties encountering them when talking with others and their ability to create strategies compensating their lack of knowledge and make the communication channel opens.

1.10 Conclusion

This chapter outlined general introduction about communicative competence and its connection to society and the important roles that communicative competence achieves in benefiting individual, making peace and coexistence. Moreover, brief historical background about Yemen was included, in addition to English language in Yemen and the challenges that affect learning English in Yemen. Statement and the significance of the proposed problems of the current study were mentioned. The chapter also defined the terms that will be used in the study. Furthermore, the objectives of the study and the questions that the current research is hoping to answer are organized in this chapter. Finally, the research design, instruments, sample, limitation of the study and chapterizations were included.

1.11 Works Cited:

Abbad, Aziza Taleb. “An Analysis of Communicative Competence Features in English Language Texts in Yemen Arab Republic.” Diss. University of Illinois, 1988. Web. Abdullah, Nabil Khadher Muhsen. “A Study of the Factors behind Students’ Weakness in Reading Comprehension Skills in English at the Colleges of Education, Yemen, as Perceived by Students and Teachers.” Diss. S.R.T.M. University, 2015. Web.

Abdullah, Nabil, and Vaijayanta Patil. “A Review of Rural Education Status in Yemen: A Brief Survey.” The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum 19.2 (2013): 151-162. Print.

---, “English Language Teaching in Yemen: Importance and Challenges.” International Journal of Social Science Tomorrow 1.5 (2012): 1-8. Print.

Al-Abbadi, Khaled M. “Improving Teacher Quality in Yemen A Policy Analysis and Recommendation.” 1-33. Print.

AL-Ahdal, Arif Ahmed Mohammed Hassan. “Enhancing Competence of Secondary School English Teachers in Yemen: A Need-Based Syllabus for INSET Programmes.” Diss. Panjab University, 2011. Print.

---, “Integration of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) into the Education System of Yemen: The Need of the Hour.” International Journal of Social Sciences & Education 3.1 (2013): 40-47. Print.

Al-Hammadi, Fatima, and H.M Sidek. “Academic Writing in the Yemeni EFL Context: History, Challenges and Future Research.” The effects of brief mindfulness intervention on acute pain experience: An examination of individual difference 1 (2015): 167-174. Web.

Al-Joufi, Abdulsalam Mohammed. Education Development in the Republic of Yemen [The National Report]. Geneva: Ministry of Education, 2008. Print.

Al-Magid, Abd, and Mohammed Al-Mamun. “The Effect of Teachers’ Attitudes on the Effective of the Communicative Approach in ESL Classrooms.” Diss. University of South Africa, 2006. Print.

Alnakeeb, Abdulnasser Mohammed Ali. “A Study of Yemeni English Teachers’ Classrooom Practices and Approches with Special Reference to Secondary Schools in Laboos.” Diss. University of Pune, 2012. Print.

Al-Shamiry, Rafiq. “Yemeni Learners’ Oral Communicative Competence in English: A Study at the Tertairy Level.” Diss. CIEFL, India, 2000. Print.

Al-Sohbani, Yehia Ahmed Y. “An Exploration of English Language Teaching Pedagogy in Secondary Yemeni Education: A Case Study.” International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 1.3 (2013): 41-57. Web.

---, “An Investigation of the Reasons Behind the Weaknesses in English Among Public Secondary School Leavers.” Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education4.2 (2016): 41-51. Print.

---, “The Role of Attitudes and Motivation in Learning English as a Foreign Language Among Yemeni Rural Secondary School Students.” Journal of Teaching and Teacher Education 1.1 (2015): 33-42. Print.

Al-Tamimi, Nasser Omer M. “The Effect of Direct Reading Strategy Instruction on Students’ Reading Comprehension, Metacognitive Strategy Awareness, and Reading Attitudes Among Eleventh Grade Students in Yemen.” Diss. Universiti Sains Malaysia, 2006. Print.

---, “Public Speaking Instruction: Abridge to Improve English Speaking Competence and Reducing Communication Apprehension.” International Journal of Linguistics and Communication 2.4 (2014): 45-68. Web.

Avineri, Netta et al. “Language Assessment as a System: Best Practices, Stakeholders, Models, and Testimonials.” Issues in Applied Linguistics 18.2 (2010): 251- 265. Print.

Bataineh, Ruba Fahmi, Samiha Saif Thabet, and Rula Fahmi Bataineh. “Obstacles of Using Communicative Techniques in Yemeni EFL Classes.” Lagos Papers in English Studies 3 (2008): 14-27. Print.

Bataineh, Rula Fahmi, Ruba Fahmi Bataineh, and Samiha Saif Thabet. “Communicative Language Teaching in the Yemeni EFL Classroom: Embraced or Merely Lip-Serviced?” Journal of Language Teaching and Research 2.4 (2011): 859-866. Web.

Bin-Hady, Wagdi Rashad Ali, and S.S. Kanade. “A Change in Views: From Seeking Like Native Speakers Repertoire to Become Intercultural Speaker of the Target Language.” Thematics 7.1 (2016): 49-61. Print.

Chen, Guo-ming. “A Model of Global Communication Competence.” China Media Research 1.1 (2005): 3-11. Print.

Choi, Tae Hee. “Curriculum Innovation through Teacher Certification: Evaluation of a Government Intervention and its Effects on Teacher Development and English Language Pedagogy in South Korea.” Diss. King’s College London, 2013. Print.

Colburn, Marta. From the Queen of Sheba to the Republic of Yemen K-12 Resource Guide and Classroom Ideas. American Institure for Yemeni Studies, 2006. Print.

Demo, Douglas A. “Discourse Analysis for Language Teachers.” ERIC DIGEST4 (2001): n.p. Web.

Gilmore, Alexander. “Getting Real in the Language Classroom: Developing Japanese Students’ Communicative Competence with Authentic Materials.” Diss. University of Nottingham, 2007. Print.

Hesse-Biber, S Nagy. Mixed Methods Research: Merging Theory with Practice. New York: The Guilford Press, 2010. Print.

Jackson, Jane. “Host Language Proficiency, Intercultural Sensitivity, and Study Abroad.” Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad (2009): 167-188. Print.

Jidong, Guo. “Empirical Studies on L2 Communication Strategies over Four Decades: Looking Back and Ahead.” Chinese Journal of Applied Linguistics 34.4 (2011): 89-106. Web.

Jones, Amir, and Ruth Naylor. The Quantitative Impact of Armed Conflict on Education: Counting the Human and Financial Costs. Doha, Qatar: CFBT Educaztion Trust, 2014. Web.

Kevin Alexander Davis, B.A. “From Collective Memory to Nationalism: Historical Remembranc in Aden.” Diss: Georgetown Univeristy, 2014. Web.

Light, Janice. “Communication Is the Essence of Human Life: Reflections on Communicative Competence.” Augmentative and Alternative Communication 13.2 (1997): 61-70. Web.

Light, Janice, and David Mcnaughton. “Communicative Competence for Individuals Who Require Augmentative and Alternative Communication: A New Definition for a New Era of Communication?” Augmentative and Alternative Communication 30 (2014): 1-18. Web.

Littlewood, William. “Developing a Context-Sensitive Pedagogy for Communication- Oriented Language Teaching.” English Teaching 86.3 (2013): 1-22. Web.

Mahmoud, Montasser Mohamed Abdelwahab. “Culture and English Language Teaching in the Arab World.” Adult Learning 26.2 (2015): 66-72. Web.

Miller, W. Flagg. “Metaphors of Commerce: Trans-Valuing Tribalism in Yemeni Audiocassette Poetry.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 34.1 (2002): 29-57. Web.

Morreale, Sherwyn P., Michael M. Osborn, and Judy C. Pearson. “Why Communication is Important: A Rationale for the Centrality of the Study of Communication.” Journal of the Association for Communication Administration 29 (2000): 1-25. Web.

Muthanna, Abdulghani. “A Tragic Educational Experience : Academic Injustice in Higher Education Institutions in Yemen.” Policy Futures in Education 11.5 (2013): 532-537. Print.

Muthanna, Abdulghani, and A. Cendel Karaman. “The Need for Change in Teacher Education in Yemen: The Beliefs of Prospective Language Teachers.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 12 (2011): 224-232. Web.

NUS. “A Leading Global University Centred in Asia, Influencing the Future.” 2012. Web.

O’Neill, Terry, Peter Snow, and Richard Peacock. English Course For Yemen: Teacher’s Book 4. Beirut: Oxford University Press, 2011. Print.

Srikanth, M, and R Asmatulu. “Modern Cheating Techniques, Their Adverse Effects on Engineering Education and Preventions.” International Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education 42.2 (2014): 129-140. Web.

UNICEF. How Conflict is Driving Children out of School Across the Middle East. Education UnderFire, 2015. Print.

Wilkinson, Louise Cherry. “Social Intelligence and the Development of

Communicative Competence.” Origins of Intelligence: Infancy and Early Childhood. Ed. Michael Lewis. Springer US, 1983. 305-326. Print.

Zaščerinska, Jeļena. “Organisation of English for Academic Purposes Activity for Developing Communicative Competence.” Humanities & Social Sciences. International Scientific Publications 2.September (2009): 1-31. Print.

Zuheer, Khaled Mohsen Mohammed. “Developing EFL Teachers’ Performance at Sana’a Secondary Schools in the Light of Their Professional and Specialist Needs” Diss. Cairo University, 2013. Print.


2.0 Introduction

A second or foreign language learner needs to gain knowledge in and about the target language. In order to do that, one needs to know how to build morphemes into words and words into sentences (linguistic or grammatical competence). Yet, this knowledge is not the end of learning a language. While grammatical competence may be the essence of learning a new language; on its own, it is not enough. A learner also needs to know how to use that knowledge appropriately in a social context. One needs to know about speech acts (e.g., requesting, suggesting, arguing, etc.) and politeness (sociolinguistic or pragmatic competence). In addition to these competencies, other components are also required. A learner needs to know how to produce a largely cohesive and coherent text, either in writing or in speaking (discourse competence). As a learner might not understand the total underlying system of a language, s/he needs to know how to repair any breakdown in conversations (strategic competence).

In this chapter, the researcher defines the term “communicative competence”, explains the difference between competence and performance, and sheds light on four theories of communicative competence, i.e., Chomsky’s theory, Hymes’s theory, Widdowson’s theory, and Halliday’s theory. In the second section, five frameworks of communicative competence will be focused on, i.e., Canale and Swain’s model, Bachman and Palmer’s model, Celce-Murcia’s framework, the Common European Framework of Reference, (CEFR) and finally Usó-Juan and Martinez-Flor’s framework of integrated skills. The third section focuses on communicative competence coverage. An overview of the consensus on components will be analyzed. Four components will be explained, that is, linguistic competence, sociolinguistic competence (pragmatic competence), discourse competence, strategic competence and. The fourth section covers the teachability of communicative competence. Finally, communicative language teaching will be the focus of in the fifth section of this chapter.

2.1 Communicative Competence

2.1.1 Definition

Communicative competence can be defined as the repertoire that a language user possesses in linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse, and other communicative strategies that enable one to participate skillfully in any social context. It demonstrates the capability of a person to send and receive messages appropriately to a specific setting. Communicative competence therefore, refers to the way in which a person understands a discursive message, whether in spoken or written language, and the capability of a communicator to participate with an interlocutor in an accepted way to both the rules of grammar, as well as the rules of use.

The term competence has been used widely for about four decades in Applied Linguistics. It was firstly used by the famous American linguist Noam Chomsky to stand for the knowledge of the underlying system and other linguistic elements that native speakers possess in their language. Chomsky defines competence as “the speaker-hearer knowledge of his language” (4). While the ability of using the underlying system with interlocutors is relating to what Chomsky called performance. Chomsky excludes other elements needed for appropriate communication, for example, the rule of use. While Chomsky built the cornerstone of the term, flourishing of the terminology has come about by Dell Hymes to become communicative competence. Hymes, the first sociolinguist who coins the term communicative competence, focuses his definition on both knowledge and ability for use. Hymes defines competence as “the most general term for the capabilities of a person ... Competence is dependent upon both (tacit) knowledge and (ability for) use” (“On Communicative Competence” 64). Unlike, Chomsky, Hymes associates competence to include the capability of a language user to apply the underlying system knowledge and other aspects of speech events in real situations.

Competence in the Chomskyan perspective is a static or absolute notion whereas it is a dynamic or relative in the Hymesian view. Savignon (qtd. in, Taylor) states:

Communicative competence is a dynamic rather than a static concept. It depends on the negotiation of meaning between two or more persons who share to some degree the same symbolic system. In this sense, then, communicative competence can be said to be an interpersonal rather than an intrapersonal trait (163).

On the other hand, Taylor views competence as a static and absolute notion. Therefore, he considers proficiency as a dynamic or relative (166).

Some linguists prefer to use other terminologies to refer for the repertoire that a person has in languages. Stern concerns with the outcome of the learning process. Therefore, he introduces the concept proficiency measuring the language learners’ competence in four categories:

1) the intuitive mastery of the forms of the language, 2) the mastery of the linguistic, cognitive, affective and sociocultural meanings, expressed by the language forms, 3) the capacity to use the language with maximum attention to communication and minimum attention to form, and 4) the creativity of language use (346).

On the contrary, Halliday rejects the term competence and considers language as meaning potential (Language as Social Semiotic 38-39).

Along with Hymes’ definition of communicative competence, the majority of linguists in the field of second language teaching and acquisition accept that communicative competence means more than just grasping the underlying system of the target language. For example, Savignon uses the term communicative competence to demonstrate the language user’s meaningful interaction with other participants in a specific situation (“State of the Art” 264). Similarly, Canale and Swain integrate sociolinguistic rules with rules of grammar in their definition of communicative competence. Also, Saville-Troike asserts the role of the social setting to be determined whenever a person wants to communicate. Likely, Usó-juan and Martínez-flor pay a lot of attention in their definition to both the culture and the underlying system; and Widdowson refers to usage and use as components which form a competent communicator in using the language (Teaching Language 4).

Communicative competence is viewed not only from the perspective of the learner’s knowledge in grammar but also to what Hymes refers to as the ability for use. Both of basic components are mentioned in this definition of communicative competence:

It is a linguistic term which refers to a learner’s ability in using language. It not only refers to a learner’s ability to apply and use grammatical rules, but also to negotiate meaning with other language speakers, to express one’s views regarding certain issues, and to know what and how to use certain utterances appropriately according to certain situations (Radzi et al. 5).

Communicative competence is also defined as “a threshold concept with a focus on the attainment of sufficient knowledge, judgment, and skills to meet communication goals and participate within key environments” (Light and Mcnaughton 3)

Scarcella, Andersen, and Krashen (qtd. in, Mustadi 14) state that along with the foremost scholars is Hymes who coins and uses the concept of communicative competence, where he asserted that the Chomskyan theory of linguistic competence lacks the reflection that most linguistic capability is to create and figure out messages in suitable social contexts. Communicative competence, according to Mustadi is the capability to verbalize one’s message proficiently and appropriately paying attention to both the linguistic system and the social context (14).

Canale and Swain define competence as the knowledge of grammar and other language use. In their definition of competence, they have deviated from the limitation that Chomsky made as he considered competence to be a set of grammatical rules that one has in one’s first or second language.

In sum, the definitions above agree that communicative competence includes the ability of a language user to interact with others accurately and appropriately.


Excerpt out of 279 pages


Communicative Competence in Teaching English at Secondary Schools. A Critical Investigation in Yaff'ae District of Yemen
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
6236 KB
communicative, competence, teaching, english, secondary, schools, critical, investigation, yaff, district, yemen
Quote paper
Wagdi Bin Hady (Author), 2016, Communicative Competence in Teaching English at Secondary Schools. A Critical Investigation in Yaff'ae District of Yemen, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: Communicative Competence in Teaching English at Secondary Schools. A Critical Investigation in Yaff'ae District of Yemen

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free