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Communicative Language Teaching Today

Professor Jack C. Richards

Communicative Language Teaching

A set of principles about:
goals of language teaching how learners learn a language classroom activities that best facilitate learning roles of teachers and learners

Goal of language teaching

To develop communicative competence Communicative competence contrasted with linguistic competence

Linguistic competence
Rules for creating grammatically correct sentences

Communicative competence
How sentences are used in communication Implications for English as an international language Not necessarily based on native-speaker norms

View of second language learning

Interaction between the learner and users of the language Collaborative creation of meaning Creating meaningful and purposeful interaction through language Attending to the feedback

View of second language learning

Paying attention to the input Incorporating new forms into communicative competence Experimenting with different ways of saying things

Traditional approaches to language teaching

(up to the late 1960s)

Priority given to grammatical competence Grammar learned through:

direct instruction repetitive practice drilling memorization of dialogs question and answer practice substitution drills guided speaking and writing practice

Accurate pronunciation and mastery

Traditional approaches to language teaching

(up to the late 1960s)

Audiolingualism Structural-Situational Approach

Communicative language teaching

(1970s to 1990s)

Alternative model of a syllabus to replace a grammar syllabus

functional syllabus skills syllabus ESP approach

Alternative classroom procedures

Implications for classroom methodology

Real communication the focus of language learning Opportunities to experiment Tolerant of errors
building communicative competence

Opportunities to develop accuracy and fluency

Implications for classroom methodology

Link different skills together
speaking, reading, and listening

Students induce or discover grammar rules Emphasis on pair work and group work Push for authenticity

Typical classroom activities in CLT

Fluency activities:
information-gap activities jig-saw activities task-completion activities information-gathering activities opinion-sharing activities information-transfer activities reasoning-gap activities role plays

Ten assumptions of current communicative language teaching

1. Learners engaged in interaction and meaningful communication 2. Effective classroom learning tasks:
negotiate meaning expand language resources notice how language is used meaningful intrapersonal exchange

Ten assumptions of current communicative language teaching

3. Meaningful communication from relevant, purposeful, interesting, and engaging content 4. Communication a holistic process
use several language skills or modalities

5. Language learning facilitated by activities involving:

inductive or discovery learning language analysis and reflection

Ten assumptions of current communicative language teaching

6. Language learning is gradual
creative use of language and trial and error errors are normal while learning goal is to use new language accurately and fluently

7. Learners develop their own routes to language learning, progress at different rates, and have different needs and motivations for language learning

Ten assumptions of current communicative language teaching

8. Effective learning and communication strategies 9. Teacher is a facilitator:
climate conducive to language learning opportunities for Ss to use and practice language opportunities for Ss to reflect on language use and language learning

10. The classroom is a community where learners collaborate and share

Two directions in current methodology

Processed-based approaches
Content-based Instruction Task-based Instruction

Product-based approaches
Text-based Instruction Competency-based Instruction

Two directions in current methodology

Processed-based approaches
Focus on creating classroom processes that facilitate language learning

Product-based approaches
Focus on learning outcomes

Content-based instruction
Use language as a means of acquiring information, rather than as an end in itself Better reflects learners needs Provides a coherent framework to link and develop language skills Content can be from school curriculum or related to learners interests and needs

Content-based instruction
Bilingual Education/ English Across the Curriculum
English used to teach other subjects (math, science)

Content and Language Integrated Learning CLIL (Europe) CLIL from the British Council Website Knowledge of the language becomes the means of learning content

Content-based instruction
Language is integrated into the broad curriculum. Learning is improved through motivation and the study of natural language in context. CLIL is based on language acquisition rather than enforced learning. Language is seen in real-life situations. CLIL is long-term learning. Fluency is more important than accuracy. Reading is essential.

Task-based instruction
a) Key characteristics of a task:
Something learners do using existing language resources Outcome not simply linked to learning language
language acquisition may occur

Focus on meaning Use communication strategies and interactional skills

Task-based instruction
b) Two kinds of tasks:
pedagogical tasks real-world tasks

Task-based instruction
c) Learning claims
Grammatical syllabus not needed Grammatical knowledge built around task performance Reverses the standard P-P-P lesson format and replaces it with one consisting of:
Task - Language awareness - Follow up activity

Text-based instruction
a) TBI is based on an approach to teaching language that involves:
Teaching the structures and grammatical features of spoken and written texts Linking spoken and written texts to the cultural context of their use Designing units of work that focus on developing skills in relation to whole texts Providing students with guided practice

Text-based instruction
b) Contents of a text-based syllabus
Text types on the Singapore 2002 syllabus
Procedures Explanations Expositions Factual recounts Personal recounts Information reports Narratives Conversations and Short functional texts e.g. procedures used in carrying out a task e.g. explaining how and why things happen e.g. reviews, arguments, debates e.g. magazine articles e.g. anecdotes, diary/journal entries, biographies, autobiographies e.g. fact sheets e.g. stories, fables e.g. dialogues, formal/informal letters, postcards, e-mail, notices

Text-based instruction
c) Implementing a text-based approach Phase1: Building the context Phase 2: Modeling and deconstructing the text Phase 3: Joint construction of the text Phase 4: Independent construction of the text Phase 5: Linking to related texts

Competency-based instruction
Characteristics of CBI:
A focus on successful functioning in society A focus on life skills Task- or performance-oriented instruction Modularized instruction Outcomes are made explicit Continuous and ongoing assessment Mastery of performance objectives Individualized, student-centered instruction

All four approaches are complementary. Interchange, Third Edition draws on all four approaches.

Thank you