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Brief Insight Into CLT Approach & Its Application

The Idea

The communicative language teaching approach is based on the idea that learning a language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning. When learners are involved in real communication, they naturally learn the language.

The History

It could be said that the communicative language approach is the product of educators and linguists who had grown dissatisfied with the audio-lingual and grammar-translation methods of foreign language instruction.

The Basics

They felt that students were not learning enough realistic, whole language, and did not know how to communicate using appropriate social language, gestures, or expressions. In brief, they were at a loss to communicate in the culture of the language studied.

Communicative language teaching makes use of real-life situations that necessitate communication. The teacher sets up a situation that students are likely to encounter in real life.

Unlike the audio-lingual method of language teaching, which relies on repetition and drills, the communicative approach can leave students in suspense as to the outcome of a class exercise, which will vary according to their reactions and responses.

The Basic Principles

  • Learners are often more motivated with this approach as they are interested in what is being communicated, the topic, or the theme of the lesson.
  • Learners are encouraged to speak and communicate from day one, rather than just barking out repetitive phrases.
  • Learners practice the target language a number of times, slowly building on accuracy.
  • Language is created by the individual, often through trial and error.
  • Learners interact with each other in pairs or groups, to encourage a flow of language and maximize the percentage of talking time.

Its Application to a Lesson

During Presentation Stage

  • The teacher gives a short presentation of a grammar or vocabulary point.
  • The teacher then gives students the opportunity to practice the point in a controlled exercise (Repetition and drills).
  • Students carry out the controlled exercise while the teacher monitors and intervenes where appropriate.

During Practice Stage

  • Students are asked to take part in activities designed to get them to produce the vocabulary and grammar they have been taught.
  • The teacher monitors and notes errors and interesting points.
  • The teacher intervenes only when asked or when absolutely necessary.

During Assessment Stage

  • The teacher gives the feedback in a non-threatening way about the errors he/she noted during the previous stage.
  • Students also have the opportunity to clear up puzzling points.
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Final Word

You should understand that the teacher’s role in CLT is to get their students to communicate using real language by providing them with instruction, practice, and above all opportunities to produce English in activities that encourage acquisition and fluency.

According to CLT, language learning should be fun, rewarding, and enabling students to communicate successfully.

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