• ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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Foreign language conversational skills training is gradually becoming a debated issue in higher education foreign language departments in the Netherlands. Pressure on the student-staff ratio and, consequently, increasingly large classes raise questions with regard to the effectiveness of traditional methodology. In this paper an attempt is made to outline an approach which, in the long run, will considerably reduce staff-time investment and increasingly encourage student activity. The approach proposed is based on the one hand on recent insights into the role of the learner in his own learning process, and on the other on the hypothesis that languages are acquired first and foremost by conducting conversations (the 'Active Process Hypothesis'). On the whole, tertiary students in the Netherlands start their language study with sufficient linguistic skills in the target language to make such an approach feasible. The paper opens with a discussion of the what of communicative competence and proceeds to how it may be acquired. Discourse elicitation and subsequent analysis and the development of strategic competence in the broadest sense of the term play a central role in the methodology suggested. In conclusion, a practical example of the procedure advocated is presented by way of illustration.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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