This paper focuses on commun ication as the central feature in teaching and learning within English language classrooms. It examines the English classroom as a unique communication contract with highly regulated patterns of communicative behaviour that are actively negotiated between teachers and learners. It explores how and why these patterns of communication are established and maintained so that teachers of English can come to understand the ways in which the nature of classroom communication ultimately determines how and what second language students learn. The conceptual framework presented in this chapter views the dynamics of classroom communication as being shaped by the moment-to-moment actions and interactions that occur during face-to-face communication between teachers and students. The framework is designed to enable teachers to recognize how the patterns of communication are established and maintained in English classrooms, the effects these patterns have on how the language students participate in classroom activities, and how their participation shapes both the ways in which they use the English language for learning and their opportunities for second language acquisition. This paper provides an account of the dynamics of classroom communication and also illustrates ways of promoting effective patterns of classroom communicative competence.