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The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching 

Developing Second Language Skills

The Communicative Approach to Language Teaching

Learning a language successfully comes through having to communicate real meaning. And when learners are involved in real communication, their natural strategies for second language acquisition will be used.

Communicative language teaching (CLT), is an approach to language teaching that emphasizes interaction as both the means and the ultimate goal of study.

CLT focuses on the teacher being a facilitator, rather than an instructor.


If you, as the teacher, are speaking more than your students, you may be lecturing.


Lecturing is fine for imparting knowledge, but learning a language is a skill-based activity. And skills can only be developed from practice.

CLT Page

The communicative approach has been designed to get your students speaking and for them to use the language as much as possible so new skills are born.

CLT Apporach

"Engage, Study & Activate"

The ESA Methodology

ESA Methodology

The ESA methodology is one of the latest 'evolutions' under the communicative approach. It stands for Engage, Study, and Activate. 


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

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.

How important is grammar in English teaching?

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 Communicative Approach Comes to Thailand

CLT Introduced to Thailand

A new way of teaching English already showing results.


The British Council and the Ministry of Education have teamed up to improve the skills of 17,000 primary and secondary English Thai teachers. The "Bootcamp project," was started in 2015.

Bootcamp's Results


17,000 were trained and the results to date are overwhelmingly positive.

The research clearly indicates that 90% of the trained English teachers have more confidence in teaching English in the communicative approach and more confidence in using English in their classrooms.


The Nation newspaper published a great read of the the Bootcamp project.

The Thai Ministry of Education and tThe British Council’s Regional English Training Centres Project.
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