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CLT and the 21st Century

Communicative Approach, English, Teaching

Communicative Language Teaching for the Twenty-First Century.

This chapter sheds light on the Communicative language teaching approach or CLT. This approach is fast becoming the word of day because such countries as Japan, Taiwan have opened gateways to let English enter their junior and senior level schooling.

What is CLT?
There is a load of newer and modern insights provided by CLT that have immensely changed the way language was previously taught. For instance, today CLT considers spoken skills as active. It has also sidelined the productive/receptive code because it analyzes the language learning process to be more pragmatic, i.e., there is the collaboration of meaning between the speaking and listening in the manner people use a language. Additionally, it focuses on raising such pragmatic issues as the real measuring of learning; appropriate learning/teaching doctrine under specific circumstances and so on. These issues alone make the approach more vital for general acceptance both on teaching and the learning sides.

How and Why did CLT Develop?
The initial growth of CLT takes roots in vast human trafficking emerging in North America and Europe as immigrants, guest workers. This gave way to language teaching for specific purpose and this combined with functional-notional level of language learning to form a cohesive whole: CLT. It acquired this shape through experiments. For example, authentic material method was first practiced in Germany in a rather crude form (1970). Almost the same while (1971) Chomsky’s “Communicative Competence” was viewed practicable and the same term was coined for language teaching. All this effort was to view in language learning a learning or association of meaning – contrastive to the previous drill-to-form-habit pattern. The results were gratifying even at the beginners’ level.

Gradually such activities as games, role-play, and pair/group work sought its position; result-oriented role in the process and subterranean was the concept of learner’s autonomy.

How has CLT been Interpreted?
Sauvignon’s model (Communicative Competence Pyramid) showed HOW a learner expands his learning. This pyramid highlighted socio-cultural, strategic, discourse, and grammatical competences integrated to each other to share in the cohesive whole Communicative Competence.

All these competences are practices in a global sense: there is no perfect native speakers; nobody knows all that is in the sea of knowledge. All in all, CLT is one thing: it is learner-focused. It includes all possible activities (with given situations) that can build up as well as boost up the learner’s courage to language learning.

Although given the modern name CLT, it is not a new idea as there has long been a voice to stress the importance of meaning as opposed to the form.

And then there are dark corners of CLT. Many teachers, today, find the study of meaning greatly confusing and are drown back by confusing study of a child’s first language acquisition in which there is nothing like CLASS ROOM. Moreover appositive to authentic materials, the diversified tendency to text books also frustrated the CLT-adherent.

Shaping a Communicative Curriculum

The writer goes on to discuss five categories in which the CLT (authentic material reliant) curriculum is based. These are as follows.

1 – Language Arts: It includes teaching form of English through different activities.
2 – Language for Purpose: This means teaching language for communication but a communication for which a learner is wanting to work.
3 – Personal Language: this looks at learner as an individual with a pre-defined set of psychological strands. This must not, as it cannot, be overlooked while shaping curriculum, e.g., it demands certain respect for learner.
4 – Theatre Arts: Teaching through role-play, this bases on the globally-acknowledged maxim: “…all the world’s a stage….” Quite naturally a learner can play many roles to understand the meaning in real context.
5 – Beyond the Classroom: This centers on bringing the learner to environment beyond the classroom. If they visit a courtroom trail, an auction proceeding, etc., they will get to know real language. The writer then mentions the Computer-Mediated Communication splendidly useful for this goal.

The writer then goes on the discuss the crucial issues still at stack under the practice of CLT. For instance, there are issues asking for the technique related to grammar: are they fully manipulated? Also such crucial points as socio-cultural bonds are voiced: may CLT not bring a socio-linguistic change in the learner’s original belonging.

Then she clears out some misconception about CLT that relate it (wrongly) to DM, or ALM. CLT is actually not meant to bring a face to face communication. It is communication in global approach: oral and written.
Published: 2006-06-09
Author: M. Mazhar

About the author or the publisher
I have been working as a freelance writer for the past almost five years. My work include 5 books, advertising campaigns, lots of editin, proofreading, translation.
Not an all-rounder, my area of professional skills covers: research-based how-to content, and creative copywriting, including tongue-in-cheek filler; greeting cards. Philosophical writing is one of my area too.

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