Communicative competence formation of students learning a foreign language based on written electronic communication

The question of modern methods of written speech teaching is considered in the present article with the purpose of forming the communicative competence of the students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages, the concepts of writing, written speech, written communication skills. The model of teaching students of the faculty of foreign languages in written communication is described and carried out in an electronic environment, which is often limited only by writing traditional letters and neglected to electronic correspondence. Considering the features of foreign written communication competence, possible problems arising during the learning process were identified, as well as to find a solution to these problems in order to make the learning process more effective. The authors presented approaches, principles, stages of the formation of a foreign communicative competence in a foreign written communication in an electronic environment. In this paper, recommendations are given on developing a methodology for the formation of a communicative competence in a foreign language in written communication in the electronic environment among students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages, and a set of exercises is described, aimed at mastering the knowledge and skills of each component of the above competence.

In the recent years, the technique of foreign language education generally has been increasing the role of written speech, due to the socio-economic requirements of modern society. Contacts between countries are expanding at all levels of life, there was a need for regular correspondence in a foreign language (including using electronic mail) compilation and execution of a variety of written documentation, exchange of information, advertising, conclusion of transactions, filling out questionnaires, registration forms, etc. The efficiency and productivity of this interaction depend, first of all, on the level of possession of a foreign speech.

Constantly growing requests to the level of knowledge of a foreign language require a different approach to the search for new technologies, forms and methods of its teaching, ways of strengthening the motivation to study it in the absence of foreign-language communication [1]. The special importance of the real issue opens in the light of the implementation of the policy of trilingualism in Kazakhstan. Mastering the skills of creating foreign written texts remains the most problematic task at all levels of teaching a foreign language.

The tendency in the development of higher pedagogical education reflect a qualitative update of the content of special and pedagogical training of a foreign language teacher, who knows his stuff perfectly, knows how to see the prospects of his professional growth, capable of analyzing the complex problems of life, society, and nature. The teacher preparation of a foreign language is now viewed not simply as the mastering of the basic course with some retraining in the future, but as an ongoing process of learning and improvement throughout the years of the teachers work, i.e. the teacher should be able to independently, "through life" work on learning the language, support and supplement their knowledge and skills, develop their communication and information culture.

The requirements put forward for the training of specialists in foreign languages, quite correspond to those changes that occurred in the system of higher professional education at the present stage. «The profession of the teacher IY requires the professional orientation of his personal abilities, theoretical knowledge, methodical and psychological training, practical experience and constant creativity» which leads to the need to develop the professional competence of a foreign language teacher. One of the important components of the professional competence of a foreign language teacher is its communicative competence in all types of speech activity.

Expansion of economic, political and cultural contacts, entering the international educational space increase the social prestige of mastering written language in a foreign language, expand the scope of theletter in a foreign language. At the present stage of the development of society, the possession of a developed written speech is required for the teacher of a foreign language both for providing the educational process for teaching written speech of various categories of trainees, and for real communication in writing. In this regard, the responsibility of higher education institutions for adequate training of students, who have a communicative competence in productive written language in a foreign language at a professionally-sufficient level and able to support and improve the level of foreign-language written speech in the process of independent educational activity, having the level of the native speaker as the final reference point.

In linguistic literature, a letter is understood as a graphic system, as one of the forms of expression, a means to represent language with the help of signs and, finally, an addition to sound speech; means of communication with the help of a system of graphic signs, which allows recording speech to save its works in time and to transfer it at a distance.

Written speech is defined as the process of written expression of thoughts and how speech activity associated with visible speech. Learning a letter is the formation of the ability to use the graphic and spelling systems of the language to record individual words, phrases, sentences, record verbal speech with the help of graphic signs.

M.A. Tatarinova notes that the training of the letter implies not only the training of graphics and spelling but, above all, the training of written speech activity, i.e. the process of formulating and expressing thoughts, the ultimate outcome of which are fixed texts of various communicative-speech, genres and types of speech [2].

In the conditions of teaching a foreign language in language specialties in relation to written speech, the goal of education should be the achievement of written speech competence. According to L.V. Kaplich written speech competence (as well as oral) is a system whose structure is represented by interrelated elements characterizing one phenomenon - the process of speech communication [3].

Strategies for producing written texts in a foreign language involve the mobilization of resources, balancing between different competencies. Using the strong and hiding the weak points of his competencies, the trainee uses the available opportunities in accordance with the nature of the tasks. Internal resources can be activated by conscious preparation, using the effectiveness of different styles and formulations, by seeking help and additional information when it is not enough. If the necessary resources cannot be found and activated, the using language has to perform simpler tasks, for example, write not a letter, but a postcard; on the other hand, provided that the necessary support is found, the task can be complicated.

In the same way, if the student does not have enough resources, he sacrifices some of what he really wants to express, and says what he can do with available language tools; and conversely, returning later to the same task with support in the form of additional linguistic means, he can more effectively formulate and express his thoughts [4].

Written verbal competence is a combination of several particular competences. It is a linguistic competence (possession of lexical means and grammatical rules of their organization); subject competence (knowledge of fragments of the surrounding world, a conceptual picture of the writer's world); sociolinguis- tic competence (the ability to generate texts adequately to the situations of written communication, defining the subject matter, the forms of communication and the types of texts produced in these situations); sociocultural competence (knowledge of the national and cultural features of the construction of written texts, as well as language skills, serving these texts); discursive competence (the ability to construct and interpret texts, the achievement of the integrity of individual utterances in meaningful communicative models); strategic competence (the ability to fill in the communication process the lack of knowledge of the language, as well as the speech and social experience of communication in a foreign language) [3].

Based on the provision that the written speech provides one of the aspects of the professional preparation of students, in our opinion, it seems necessary to include professional competence in this range (mastering the genres of written works professionally required for the graduate of the language faculty of the university for the successful teaching of a foreign language).

E.L. Chuykova notes that mastering written speech today has become not only a university educational standard, but also sets the direction of social interaction at the interethnic level: participation in joint projects with foreign universities, international scientific and practical conferences, etc. One of the types of entry into these relations is the surrender of international examinations [5].

However, despite the fact that the formation of written verbal competence is one of the full-fledged learning objectives throughout the course of study at the language faculty of the university, is reflected not only in official documents but also in special studies devoted to the development of a written speech of students of the language faculty of the university (G.V. Lagveshkina, 1989; L.V. Kaplich, 1998; L.K. Mazunova, 2005; E.S.Chuykova, 2005, et al.), in practice in the university there is not enough developed a system of teaching written speech.

In this way, the question of the modern method of teaching written speech for the purpose of forming written verbal competence of students of the language faculty of the university is still open. Summarizing the advanced methodological experience of teaching foreign-written speech, we are convinced that in the practice of teaching written language at the university language faculty, it is advisable to use modern educational technologies to effectively formulate all aspects of written speech competence.

Today one of the important tasks in the field of foreign written communication is the development of a methodology for the formation of a foreign communicative competence (ICC) in written communication in the electronic environment among students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages.

Until now, the teaching of written communication is often limited only to writing traditional letters and didn't pay attention to electronic correspondence, which has its own linguistic and extra linguistic features. In addition, the existing manuals of domestic and foreign authors for teaching written communication, or even ignore the existence of such a genre of written business communication as electronic correspondence (which according to numerous data is the most common form of business communication at the moment), or only samples of business electronic messages are given, without In order to gradually form ICC in written communication in the electronic environment.

The purpose of teaching written electronic correspondence in a foreign language is the development of all the components of the communicative competence of students speaking in the sphere of written business communication in the electronic environment.

The proposed methodology for the formation of the ICC in written communication in the electronic environment is based on the integration of existing approaches to the teaching of foreign written speech as a kind of speech activity: a product-text approach, a procedural approach and a genre approach. Note the important points of these approaches, which are included in the proposed methodology.

The approach focused on the product-text, as noted I.L. Kolesnikova and O.A. Dolgin, continue to play a significant role, especially in the conditions of higher vocational education, since written communications (business letters, contracts, etc.) should be sustained in a strictly defined form. The attention of students is drawn to the form of a written work, where the text acts as a model to be analyzed and imitated. Based on this approach, we offer training to formal indicators of the genre business letter - lexical units, grammatical constructions, cliché phrases [6].

This approach is criticized because the trainees, creating the text on the model, do not realize its functions, the roles of the author and the addressee, the context and other factors that influence the perception and generation of the written utterance [7]. The focus of the process-oriented approach is the personality of the writer, his communicative and cognitive needs, his goals, and the addressee to which written speech is addressed. According to this approach, for instruction written business communication in the electronic environment, we take into account the strategies for generating discourse - planning, creating the first variant of the letter, editing and drafting the final version.

As for the genre approach, emphasis is placed on the social functions of the genres and the contexts in which they are used. Bazerman writes that the goal is not to teach students formal characteristics of the genre, but «to increase students' understanding of the «life» that occurs in the text» [8]. Taking into account all the pros and cons of these approaches, we are talking about the need to teach students to understand the genre conventions of business e-mails, not just forever established rules (as in the product-oriented approach), but as parameters that require clarification in each specific situation. For this, we offer not one, but several sample texts, different, for example, on the nature of the relationship between communicants, as well as texts for discussion that are devoted to the peculiarities of electronic communication.

In this way, at the present stage of development of the method of teaching written communication, the most promising direction is the integration of elements of existing approaches.

The methodology developed by us is based on the following general didactic (visibility, accessibility and feasibility, awareness, consideration of the age characteristics of students) and methodological (communicative, professional, phased in the formation of skills and abilities) principles.

On the basis of the above principles, we propose the following sequence of stages in the formation of ICC in written communication in the electronic environment:

  • – fact-finding (communication of knowledge, an introduction of a speech sample);
  • – standardizing (the formation of a speech skill, as a result of performing language exercises);
  • – variable (improvement of speech skill and formation of speech skills with the help of speech exercises in situations of educational communication);
  • – creative (development of speech skills in various situations of communication not only academic, but also non-educational nature).

The method of forming the ICC in written communication is realized through a certain set of exercises, which is presented below [9].

Among the exercises of the introductory or preparatory to the written dialogue phase, one can distinguish exercises of receptive character (in reading and listening), aimed at familiarizing themselves with the features of the functioning of e-mails. Such exercises precede exercises related to the written expression of their own thoughts; prepare students for participation in written communication. Such exercises will help students to determine the goals of communication, implemented in the texts of e-mails expressing different communicative intentions, to determine the structure of letters reflecting these goals, in addition, to navigate in the English interface of business e-mails, the exercises of this stage should develop the students' ability to work with various e-mail functions, as well as familiarize themselves with the rules of etiquette.

The standardizing stage contains preparatory exercises for the formation of speech skills necessary for writing e-mails in a foreign language. Basically it is language, training exercises. A considerable part of the exercises of this stage is devoted to the development of foreign linguistic competence (both general components and specific ones, characteristic for the sphere of electronic communication), where students perform exercises aimed at mastering the language material - terms, stereotyped phrases and stable phrases. It is advisable to propose exercises to fill in the omissions in the sentences, the choice, the comparison, i.e. such exercises that would help memorize the speech formulas of business communication used in writing e-mails. Here, students perform exercises to establish the consistency and coherence of the text of the e-mail assimilate the language tools necessary to implement various communicative intentions. At this stage, there is training of lexical and grammatical material at the level of words and phrases.

Varying stage is aimed at further improvement of language skills and development of speech skills. This stage is represented by reproductive and productive exercises preparing students for participation in written business communication and forming skills in various components of a communicative competence that is otherwise speaking in written communication in the electronic environment. Students for the tasks are offered a smaller number of supports compared to the previous stage. At this stage it is supposed to activate speech formulas underlying different types of business e-mails, develop the ability to express communicative intentions with adequate language methods, select, combine and vary language formulas, grammatical and syntactic constructions in the text of the e-mail, reproduce the text of the letter with reference to the sample, on entry or conclusion. There is work at the level of supply and text.

The creative stage is represented by productive exercises in which conditions are created that are as close as possible to natural communication in situations of written communication. The acquired linguistic material is used to solve communicative tasks, which are becoming more and more creative in the formulation of tasks when it is proposed to write letters of different communicative orientation. Students independently compose and send business letters of various types, observing the linguistic, speech, stylistic characteristics of certain types of letters, the rules of etiquette, taking into account the peculiarities of e-mail.

Let us emphasize once again that the fruitfulness and validity of the described complex of training in written business communication is that skills and abilities are formed in conditions adequate to the activity in which they operate, i.e. in conditions of foreign-language written communication in the electronic environment.



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  2. Tatarinova, M.A. (2005). Teoreticheskie osnovy sozdaniia i ispolzovaniia distantsionnoho kursa obucheniia inoiazychnoi pismennoi rechi dlia studentov 2–3 kursov linhvisticheskoho vuza (na materiale anhliiskoho yazyka [Theoretical foundations of creating and using a distance learning course for foreign language written speech for students of 2-3 courses of a linguistic high school (on the material of English language)]. Extended abstract of candidate's thesis. Moscow [in Russian].
  3. Kaplich, L.V. (1996). Nachalo obucheniia produktivnoi pismennoi rechi v linhvisticheskom vuze [Beginning of learning productive written speech in a linguistic high school]. Extended abstract of candidate's thesis. Moscow [in Russian].
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  6. Kolesnikova, I.L., Dolgina, O.A. (2001). Anhlo-russkii terminolohicheskii spravochnik po metodike prepodavaniia inostrannykh yazykov [English-Russian terminology reference book on the methodology of teaching foreign languages]. Saint Petersburg [in Russian].
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  9. Igembekova, А.Zh., Akhmetzhanova, G.A., Gorbachev, A.A. (2017). Тhe effectiveness of using innovative technologies in teaching foreign language. Vestnik Karahandinskoho universiteta. Seriia Pedahohika – Bulletin of Karaganda University. Pedagogy series, 4(88), 24–28 [in Russian].
Year: 2018
City: Karaganda
Category: Pedagogy