The frustration of educators with the traditional system of grammar-translation methods of foreign language instruction has been the reason for implementing COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING ( CLT) also called " Communicative approach".
What is it about?
CLT is an approach to the teaching of foreign languages that emphasises interaction as the means of learning a language. The aim is to develop procedures for the teaching of the four skills that are reading, listening, speaking and writing with authentic texts and authentic materials. They define authentic language as " the language produced by native speakers to be consumed in a native environment". [ Dr. Garza]
More educators want to emphasise the idea of an integrated curriculum where the speaking, listening, reading and writing skills support each other as in real life language use.
Another benefit they advocate is that sequencing multiple activities into a single integrated lesson shows the student how the language is built as a whole from many separate pieces.
All this seem perfect in theory, but what are the arguments the non-supporters present?
They argue in first place that authentic materials present a challenge for beginners students because the system is focus mainly on communication and this can't be obtained due to a limited vocabulary of the lower levels of language learning.
The teacher has an important role as a facilitator by setting activities encouraging communication. Some people who object claim that the lack of experience of beginners teachers can hamper the process. He or she should have enough experience to equip the students with vocabulary, structures and functions as well as strategies to enable them to interact successfully.
In third place, these activities can only happen in a classroom with no less than 6 and no more than 15 students for the system to work seamlessly.
The debate about CLT is still ongoing and there is a clear split in the opinions and arguments given on both sides; but I do agree with the CLT side when they say that " attention should be given to teaching a language for communication".
What do you think?
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