Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)
Developing Second Language Skills
The Communicative Approach to language teaching emphasizes communication and interaction as the main goals of learning. CLT focuses on the use of language for real-life communication rather than just rote memorization of grammar rules and vocabulary.
Key Principles of the Communicative Language Teaching are:
Communication is Key: The primary goal is to enable learners to communicate effectively in real-life situations, both orally and in writing.
2. Authentic Language Use: Emphasizes the use of authentic materials and real-life contexts to teach language, making the learning experience more practical and meaningful.
3. Functional Grammar: Grammar is taught in the context of communication, and learners are encouraged to use grammar structures to convey meaning accurately and appropriately.
4. Interactive Learning: Learners engage in communicative activities and tasks that encourage interaction with others, promoting active participation and engagement.
5. Meaningful Contexts: Language is learned through meaningful contexts, such as discussing a topic, or solving a problem, or negotiating meaning, rather than through isolated drills.
6. Task-Based Learning: Lessons are structured around tasks that require learners to use language for a specific purpose, such as giving directions, making a phone call, or discussing a topic.
7. Negotiation of Meaning: Encourages learners to clarify and negotiate meaning when there is a breakdown in communication, fostering the ability to adapt and problem-solve in real-life situations.
8. Focus on Fluency and Accuracy: While fluency (the ability to express oneself smoothly and efficiently) is prioritized, accuracy (correct use of grammar and vocabulary) is also important and is addressed in a contextualized manner.
9. Student-Centered Approach: Learners take an active role in the learning process, with the teacher acting as a facilitator rather than a sole provider of knowledge.
10. Cultural Competence: Language learning is linked to an understanding of the cultural contexts in which the language is used, promoting intercultural communication skills.
The Communicative Approach has been widely adopted and has influenced language teaching methodologies across the globe.
It has fostered a learner-centered and communicative language learning environment.
"Engage, Study & Activate"
The ESA Methodology--Engage, Study & Activate
The ESA methodology is one of the latest 'evolutions' under the communicative approach.
ESA gives the teacher the flexibility to conduct a classroom in an organized and productive way. ESA is important when it comes to teaching because it keeps the students interested, motivated, and eager to learn more.
Many teacher trainers believe that the ESA is the most effective and logical of all the teaching methodologies for new teachers to learn and apply in the classroom. It has become increasingly popular within teacher training programs.
The video above will show you how a lesson can easily be done using the ESA method..
The Grammar Question
How much grammar do I need to know to teach English?
While English teachers need a good knowledge of grammar in order to show how the “rules” are applied to the language, grammar is not the ‘be all and end all’ of English teaching.
The most effective way to learn a new language is to have students using it to communicate in speaking and writing using topics that are relevant to their life.
In the communicative approach, classes are based around teaching topic-based lessons in which the grammar is used in context, not in isolation. That is, the topics provide a context for using the language.
An example of a topic-based lesson would be a class on Describing your Daily Routines. Here the Present Simple tense would be used. While the students are trying to describe their everyday activities, their focus is on communicating what they do rather than trying to construct an English sentence from a grammar-based formula.
In the ESA method, there is more emphasis on student-led grammar discovery, eliciting the grammar from students rather than giving a detailed (and often boring!) teacher-led presentation.
The CLT Comes to Thailand
The British Council and the Ministry of Education teamed up to improve the skills of 17,000 primary and secondary English Thai teachers.
The research clearly indicates that 90% of the trained English teachers have more confidence in teaching English using the communicative approach.
The Nation newspaper published a great read of the the Bootcamp project.
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