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Communicative Language Teaching

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Torgeir Kvendset

on 27 January 2014

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Transcript of Communicative Language Teaching

Communicative Language Teaching
- Understand the background and principles of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
- Discuss the pros and cons of this approach to teaching
- Work with and evaluate a selection of communicative activities.
How do we communicate?
written text?
body language?
eye contact?
Why do we learn English?
What is CLT?
A set of principles about:
- the goals of language teaching
- how learners learn a language
- what kind of classroom activities that best facilitate learning
- the roles of teachers and learners in the classroom.
Richards, 2006: 2.
The Goals of Language Teaching
- Which goals do you think are most important when it comes to language teaching? Why do we teach languages?
- Communicative language teaching focuses on communicative competence.
Communicative Competence
Knowledge of:
- how to produce sentences
- building blocks of sentences
- how sentences are formed
- Grammar practice books.
Grammatical Competence
Knowledge of:
- how to use language for a range of different purposes and situations
- how to vary your language
- how to produce and understand different types of texts
- how to maintain communication despite limitations.
Grammatical or Communicative Competence?
Please to opens door
I want the door to be opened by you
Would you be so terribly kind as to open the door for me?
Could you open the door?
To opening the door for me
Would you mind opening the door?
The opening of the door is what I request
How do learners learn a language?
Our understanding of this has changed considerably
- Learning viewed as a process of mechanical habit formation
- Mastery of grammatical competence
- Good habits formed by having students produce correct sentences
- Errors were to be avoided
- Learning very much seen as under the control of the teacher.
How do learners learn a language?
Recent years
Learning seen as a result of:
- Interaction between the learner and the users of the language.
- Collaborative creation of meaning
- Creating meaningful and purposeful meaning through language
- Negotiation of meaning
- Learning through feedback learners get when they use the language
- Paying attention to the language one hears and trying to incorporate new forms into one's developing competence.
- Trying out and experimenting with different ways of saying things.
The Roles of Teachers and Learners in the Classroom
CLT proposed new roles in the classroom for teachers and learners.
Learners had to participate in classroom activities based on cooperation
Students had to become comfortable with listening to their peers
Expected to take greater responsibility for their own learning
How do you think the roles of students and teachers changed as a result of the introduction of CLT?
The teacher had to assume the role of facilitator and monitor.
Had to develop different views of learner's errors and of her/his own role in facilitating language learning.
The background of CLT
- Priority to grammatical competence as the basis of language proficiency.
- Repetitive practice and drilling
- Language learning - building up a large repertoire of sentences and grammatical patterns and learning to produce these accurately and quickly.
- Memorisation of dialogues
- Question-and-answer practice
- Substitution drills
- Various forms of guided speaking and writing practice
- Emphasis on accurate pronunciation and accurate mastery of grammar.
- Errors --> permanent part of learner's speech.
Traditional P-P-P lesson structure
- students practice using the new structure in different contexts.
Students practice using the new structure.
Grammar structure is presented
Teacher explains to students and checks if the understand.
- controlled context
- drills or substitution exercises
- often using their own content or information
- Develop fluency with the new pattern.
'The underlying theory for a P-P-P approach has now been discredited. The belief that a precise focus on a particular form leads to learning and automatization [...] no longer carries much credibility in linguistics of psychology'.
Richards, 2006:8.
Phase 1: Traditional Approaches (up to the late 1960s)
Phase 2: Classic Communicative Language Teaching (1970s to 1990s)
Centrality of grammar questioned
- Language ability involves much more than grammatical competence.
- focus on knowledge and skills needed to use language more appropriately for communicative purposes:
- making requests
- giving advice
- making suggestions
- describing wishes and needs
- giving commands
- apologizing and thanking
- asking for information
- exchanging personal information
- +++
Communicative Competence
More emphasis on communicative competence in this period
'[...] language teachers and teaching institutions all around the world soon began to rethink their teaching, syllabuses and classroom materials.'
Richards, 2006: 9.
The following aspects should be focused on (with older leaners:
Purpose (business, travel, further education etc.)
Setting (office, airplane, store, hotel etc.)
Role (traveler, salesperson, student etc.)
Communicative events (everyday situations, vocational situations etc).
Language functions (making introductions, describing plans.
Notions or concepts involved (leisure, finance, history, religion etc.)
Discourse and rhetorical skills (storytelling, giving business presentations)
Varieties (American English, Australian English, British English etc.)
Grammatical content
Lexical content/vocabulary
Current Trends in Communicative Language Teaching

Core assumptions:
Learning facilitated through interaction and meaningful communication.
Content that is relevant, purposeful, interesting and engaging
Communication is a holistic process of several language skills
Language learning as a gradual process that involves trial and error
Learners develop own routes to language learning, progress at different rates and have different needs and motivations
Effective learning and communication strategies
Teacher as a facilitator who provides opportunities to use, practice and reflect.
Classroom is a community where learners learn through collaboration and sharing.
Traditional Teaching
Teacher the centre of attention.
Student the centre of attention
Focus on products learners produce
Focus on the process of learning
Focus on the social nature of learning
Focus on individual students/students as separate
Student seen as a homogenous group
Focus on diversity among learners as a resource
School as separate
Teaching connected to the world beyond
Focus on understanding the purpose of learning. Learning to learn.
Part-to-whole approach
Whole-to-part approach
Focus on drills
Focus on the importance of meaning
Preparing students for exams
Learning as a lifelong process
Role Play
Information Gap
Spot the difference
Richards, Jack C. (2006) Communicative Language Teaching Today. Cambridge:Cambridge University Press
Brown, H. Douglas (2000). Principles of Language Learning and Teaching. New York: Longman.
Traditional P-P-P lesson structure
When do we use is and when do we use are?
I am

You are

He/she/it is

We are

You are

They are
I am a teacher

You are a student

He is my friend

She is my mother

It is cold outside
We are Norwegian

You are my students

They are leaving
Write 10 sentences where you use is or are.
- Based on what we now know about CLT, would you say that the task you just did was a communicative task? Give reasons for your views.

- Do you think this activity is suitable for pupils in primary school (1-7)? If yes, explain why and if no, explain how you would change it to make it more suitable for that age group.

- What would you say are the advantages and disadvantages of using this task in the classroom? What are the challenges?

Focus on three of the communicative purposes listed above and show what kind of language features and phrases you would use to perform these in English in a specific context.
What is communicative language teaching? Discuss the main premises of the framework as well as its advantages and disadvantages.

Text assignment 1.
Opportunities to expand language resources, notice how language is used and take part in meaningful interpersonal exchange.
Richards, 2006: 3
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