Spanish as a Third Language

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Elements of the communication situation

The communication situation is central to language teaching and learning. It is by identifying the elements of the communication situation that students gradually construct the meaning of the texts to which they are exposed and by adapting their message to the communication situation that they learn to communicate effectively.

In their interactions and their oral and written work in their first and second languages, students have already learned to take into account the subject, the purpose of the message and the audience and to pay attention to the relationship between the various elements of a communication situation and the influence of these elements on the meaning of the texts. They reinvest this knowledge in Spanish and also learn to express a variety of communicative purposes through different language productions in this language.

The following table presents the knowledge related to the elements of the communication situation and the various communicative purposes.

Communication situation

Student constructs knowledge with teacher guidance.

Student applies knowledge by the end of the school year.


Student reinvests knowledge.


Cycle 2

  1. Elements of the communication situation
3 4 5
  1. Recognizes the elements of the communication situation: speaker, audience, context, message, code and communication medium
  1. Recognizes the characteristics of the
    1. speaker and audience (e.g. age)
    1. context (e.g. where and when)
    1. message (e.g. transmitted ideas, themes)
    1. code (e.g. speech pattern)
    1. communication medium (e.g. multimedia document)
  1. Recognizes how certain characteristics of one or more elements of the communication situation influence the others (e.g. the type and form of the speaker’s message varies, depending on his/her relationship with the audience.)
  1. Uses his/her knowledge of the elements of the communication situation to better understand a text and to support his/her interactions or oral or written work (e.g. adapts his/her message to the characteristics of the audience or their reactions)
  1. Communicative purposes
3 4 5
  1. Recognizes the main communicative purposes and examples of language productions
    1. to initiate communication, maintain contact (e.g. introduces himself/herself or another person, requests assistance)
    1. to express (e.g. expresses a need or an emotion)
    1. to inform or be informed (e.g. requests or provides an explanation; describes or explains a fact)
    1. to persuade to act or react (e.g. provides advice, proposes a solution)
    1. to entertain or have fun (e.g. plays with words, sings a song)
    1. to evaluate and self-evaluate (e.g. expresses a doubt, compares his/her situation with that of others)
  1. Identifies the communicative purpose(s) of the
    1. audience (e.g. the listener or reader wants to inform himself/herself)
    1. speaker (e.g. the speaker or writer wants to inform someone else)
  1. Adopts a communicative purpose for his/her interactions and oral and written productions (e.g. to be informed) and adheres to it
  1. Recognizes that different oral or written texts can serve the same communicative purpose (e.g. an advertisement or an editorial to provoke an action or reaction)
  1. Recognizes that a text can have more than one communicative purpose (e.g. a protest song that entertains and calls for action)

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