Communicative language teaching (CLT) is generally
regarded as an approach to language teaching
(Richards and Rodgers 2001). As such CLT reflects a
certain model or research paradigm, or a theory
(Celce- Murcia 2001). It is based on the theory that
the primary function of language use is
communication. Its primary goal is for learners to
develop communicative competence (Hymes 1971), or
simply put, communicative ability. In other words, its
goal is to make use of real-life situations that
necessitate communication .
Language teaching sets as its goal the
teaching of communicative competence. What
does this term mean? Perhaps we can clarify
the term by first comparing it with the
concept of grammatical competence.
refers to the
knowledge we have of a language that accounts
for our ability to produce sentences in a
It refers to knowledge of the building blocks of
sentences (e.g Communicative parts of speech,
tenses, phrases, clauses, sentence patterns) and
how sentences are formed.
following aspects of language knowledge: Knowing
how to use language for a range of different purposes
and functions, Knowing how to vary our use of
language according to the setting and the participants
(e.g., knowing when to use formal and informal
speech or when to use language appropriately for
written as opposed to spoken communication)
Knowing how to produce and understand different
types of texts (e.g., narratives, reports, interviews,
Consider the following sentences that are all
requests for someone to open a door. Imagine
that the context is normal communication
between two friends. Check if you think conform
the rules of grammatical competence (GC),the
Communicative competence (CC), or both.
Please to opens door.
I want the door to be opened by you
Communicative language teaching is a set of
principles about the goals of language
teaching, how learners learn a language.
Let us examine each of these principles one by
Communicative language teaching is task based..
Norris et al. (1998), “the best way to learn and
teach a language is through social interactions”.
Allow students to work toward a clear goal, share
information and opinions, negotiate meaning and
receive feedback on their language production.
Filling out a form, buying a pair of shoes,
making an airline reservation, borrowing a
library book, typing a letter, writing a check
learners can try out new rules and modify them
According to Omaggio-Hadley (2001), learners
should be encouraged to express their own
meaning as early as possible.
Allow oral practice either in chorus, group or
individually. Because drilling makes the learner’s
linguistic knowledge automatic.
Communicative approach is based on rich input. As
Doughty and Long (2003) put it, rich input
entails “realistic samples of discourse use
surrounding native speaker and non native
speaker accomplishments of targeted tasks” (p.
In teaching a foreign language it can be
achieved whether from the teacher, from
multimedia resources (TV,DVDs, video and
audio tapes, radio, online), from other students,
or any other source.
The information we process/present must be
meaningful and relatable to existing knowledge
that the learner already possesses. This existing
knowledge must be organized in such a way that
the new information is easily assimilated, or
“attached,” to the learner’s cognitive structure
Visual representations, repetitions, slower
speech rate, and occasional use of English can be
In general education, cooperative or collaborative
learning has long been recognized as a strong
facilitator of learning (e.g., see Kagan 1989). In such
an approach, classrooms are organized so that
students work together in small cooperative teams,
such as groups or pairs, to complete activities. In
second language learning environments, students
work cooperatively on a language-learning task or
collaboratively by achieving the goal through
communicative use of the target language.
To make grammar explicit or whether to have the
learners figure out the rules themselves.
Teaching emphasizes on form meaning
connection and teaches grammar within contexts
and through communicative tasks.
Here are two kinds of feedback in this approach.
that confirms the correctness of a
Teachers demonstrate this behaviour by agreeing,
praising, or showing understanding.
, generally known as error
correction (see Chaudron 1988), which has a
corrective function on a student’s faulty language
behaviour. As learners produce language, such
evaluative feedback can be useful in facilitating the
progression of their skills.
Here is a relationship between language attitudes,
motivation, performance anxiety, and achievement in
Second language learning. All teachers experience
how learners feel about the target language or how
their attitudes toward it impact their motivation and
As Gardner and McIntyre (1993) says, a learner who
is motivated “wants to achieve a particular goal,
devotes considerable effort to achieve this goal, and
experiences in the activities associated with achieving
this goal” (p. 2).
In applying these principles in the classroom,
new classroom techniques and activities are
needed, new roles for teachers and learners
in the classroom are also needed. Instead of
making use of activities that are demanded
accurate repetition and memorization of
sentences and grammatical patterns, activities
that required learners to negotiate meaning
and to interact meaningfully are required.
To overcome the typical problem that students
can’t transfer what they learn in the classroom to
the outside world
And to expose students to natural language in a
variety of situations,
Adherents of the Communicative Approach
advocate the use of authentic language materials.
With high level( intermediate level students)
Use a copy of a genuine newspaper article.
Listen to a live radio
Television broadcast etc.
With lower proficiency level students in the target
It may not be possible to use authentic materials
Simpler authentic materials e.g (the use of a weather
forecast when working on predictions)
Use realia that do not contain lot of language, but about
which lot of discussion could be generated.
Menus in the target language (opinion sharing activities)
Information transfer activities
Give students a passage in which the sentences are in
a jumbled order.
Ask them to unscramble the sentences so that the
sentences are restored to their original order.
This type of exercise helps students about the
cohesion and coherence.
Students might also be asked to unscramble the
lines of a mixed-up dialogue.
Or to put the pictures of a picture strip story in order
and write lines to accompany the pictures.
Students learn a language by using it rather than
through studying how language works.
Games are used frequently in the communicative
The students find them enjoyable if they are properly
They give students valuable communicative practice.
Student’s motivational level is likely to increase.
They will have the chance to develop fluency.
Classroom activities should be meaningful and
involve real communication.
Activities that are truly communicative, according to
Morrow,(in Johnson and Morrow 1981), have three
An information gap exists when one person in an
exchange knows something that the other person doesn’t.
If we both know today is Tuesday and I ask you, What is
today? And your answer is ,Tuesday”. Our exchange isn’t
Information gap refers to the fact that in real
communication people normally communicate in
order to get information they do not possess.
In communication, the speakers has a choice of what she
will say and how she will say it.
If the exercise is tightly controlled so that students can
only say something in one way, the speaker has no choice
and the exchange ,therefore, is not communicative.
In a chain drill, e.g if a student must reply to her
neighbor’s question in the same way as her neighbor
replied to someone else’s question, then she has no
choice of form and content, and real communication
does not occur.
True communication is purposeful.
A speaker can thus evaluate whether or not her purpose
has been achieved based upon the information she receives
from her listener.
If the listener does not have the opportunity to provide
the speaker with such feedback, then the exchange is not
• Forming questions through a transformation drill
may be a worthwhile activity ,
• but it is not communicative ,
• since a speaker will receive no response from a
• She is thus unable to assess whether her question
has been understood or not.
Picture Strip Story
One students will be given a strip story. She would show the
first picture of the story to the other members of the group
and asked them to predict what the second picture would
look like .
An information gap existed –the students in the group did
not know what the picture contained.
They had a choice as to what their prediction would be and
how they would word it.
They receive feedback , not on the form but on the content
of the prediction by being able to view the picture and
compare it with their prediction.
This gives students practice in negotiating meaning.
It is also based on the information gap.
The class is divided into groups and each group has
part of the information needed to complete an
The class must fit the pieces together to complete the
They must use the language to communicate with
Role play are very important in the Communicative
Approach because they give students an opportunity
in practice communicating in different social
contexts and in different social roles.
The teacher tells the students who they are and what
the situation is and what they are talking about but
the students determine what they will say
The teacher has these main roles:
The teachers is facilitator and also expected
to act as a resource, an organizer of
resources, a motivator, a counselor, a guide
and an analyst.
There are many other minor roles of a
teacher, some of these would include being
an actor and an entertainer. After all, a good
lesson must be interesting or the students
will ‘switch off’ and learn nothing.
Salient Features of Communicative Approach
The major purpose of communicative approach is to
make the learner effective speakers.
All the four skills are given due importance to
raise the confidence of the learner.
Communication can be
divided into two
The four communicative
skills can be put into
The students become active because they are
engaged to different activities. CLT provides
vitality and motivation
ideas for activity types
CLT is a holistic appraoch. It doesn’t focus only on
the traditional structural syllabus. It takes into
consideration communicative dimension of
CLT is a learner centered approach. It capitalizes
on the interests and needs of the learner.
In a world where communication of information
and information technology have broken new
considerable ground, CLT can play an important
role in education.
Taylor (1983) lists five characteristics:
1- Students should participate in extended discourse
in real context.
2- They should share information that the others do
3-They should have choices about what they are
going to say and how they are going to say it.
4- They should communicate with a define purpose
5- They should talk about real topics in real
Criticism on CLT
The various categories of language functions are
overlapping and not systematically graded like the
structures of the language.
The communicative approach focuses on the use of
language in everyday situations, or the functional aspects of
language, and less on the formal structures. There must be
a certain balance between the two. It gives priority to
meanings and rules of use rather than to grammar and
rules of structure. Such concentration on language
behavior may result in negative consequences in the sense
that important structures and rules would be left out.
A major principle underlying this approach is its
emphasis on learners’ needs and interests. This
implies that every teacher should modify the syllabus
to fit the needs of the learners.
The requirements are difficult. Not all classrooms
can allow for group work activities and for teaching
aids and materials.
We should now understand that the teacher's job 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 which encourage acquisition and
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