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How To Teach English From The CC Perspective

Views of English Learning

Earlier views of English learning focused primarily on the mastery of grammatical competence (GC). According to this view:

  • English learning was viewed as a process of mechanical habit formation.
  • Good habits are formed by teaching students to produce correct sentences.
  • Making mistakes is not allowed.
  • Errors should be avoided through controlled practice either written or spoken.
  • Students memorize dialogues and perform drills learning under the control of the teacher.

In recent years English learning has been viewed from a very different perspective based on the assumptions of the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach.

English Learning According to CLT

According to CLT learners learn English by:

  • The interaction that occurs among them daily in the classroom.
  • Meaningful and purposeful situations where they use English.
  • Collaborative work during which they use English.
  • Paying attention to the feedback they get when they use English.
  • Paying attention to the new forms they utilize in new situations.

According to CLT, the goal of teaching English is achieving communicative competence (CC). We can clarify this term by comparing it with “grammatical competence” (GC).


GC refers to the knowledge about English that enables us to produce correct sentences. GC means focusing on grammar practices so it includes teaching parts of speech, tenses, how sentences are formed, … etc.

GC is an important dimension of the English language but it is not all that we should focus on while learning English because one may master the rules of forming correct sentences but fail to use them in meaningful communication. So, we should focus on achieving CC as well.

To achieve CC students should:

  • Know how to use English for different purposes and functions.
  • Know how to use English in various settings (formal, informal, written, spoken, … etc.)
  • Know how to understand and write different types of texts (narrative, interviews conversations, reports, … etc.)
  • Know how to use English to communicate successfully with others.

To achieve CC teachers should:

  • Create real-life situations in the classroom for students to respond to.
  • Include the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in each lesson.
  • Develop both students’ accuracy and fluency.
  • Let students discover grammatical rules.
  • Provide students with the chance to talk freely without the fear of making mistakes.
  • Encourage students to work in pairs and groups while doing learning tasks.
  • Encourage students to utilize the forms of English according to the context.

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