Widdowson and Classroom Discourse

Document Type: Research Articles


Department of English, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz Branch, Tabriz, Iran


Drawing on recent developments in linguistic description and applied linguistics, it can be concluded that learning a language necessitates getting to know something and being able to do something with that knowledge: competence, and performance. Structural approach to language description attaches importance to the former; communicative approach to the latter. Appropriate classroom discourse, for structural approach, is the one which facilitates the internalization process of systemic knowledge; no matter if the classroom discourse itself is contrived or simplified. For communicative approach, however, what matters is replicating the conditions of natural language learning in classroom. Here appropriate classroom discourse is the one which facilitates the attested language use in natural context. Simplification and contrivance are considered as deviance from authentic language use. Now the question is what type of classroom discourse is more appropriate and why? This is what the present paper endeavors to answer from Widdowsonian point of view.