Reader's Forum: Improving interpersonal competence in the communicative classroom

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Ronald Schmidt-Fajlik, Ibaraki University


Current practice in language teaching based on the communicative approach emphasizes the development of language skills. Opportunities are given for students to develop their language skills through interaction based on pair and group work. Such social interaction requires the use of interpersonal skills. If students do not feel confident about their interpersonal skills, they may be reluctant to take part in communicative activities that require social interaction. Interpersonal skills are also important if students are to effectively and confidently use the language skills they have been studying in real life situations. This article describes the importance of introducing interpersonal skills in the language classroom and gives practical suggestions on how to develop such skills.