Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 2 February 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.



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Communicative Language Teaching
An Overview

Ravi Bhushan, Ph.D.

Emergence of Communicative Teaching

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) appeared at a time when language teaching in many parts of the world was ready for a paradigm shift. Situational language teaching (SLT) and audiolingualism were no longer felt to be appropriate methodologies. By the end of 1960s the love for SLT had almost died down. It was felt that predicting language on the basis of situational events was not logical. The need was felt to return to the traditional concept that utterances carried meaning in themselves and expressed the meanings and intentions of the speakers and writers who created them (Howatt 1984).

Coalescence of Ideas from Various Schools

Such an anti-SLT response was partly due to its criticism by the famous American linguist Noam Chomsky. In his famous book Syntactic Structures (1957), Noam Chomsky had demonstrated that the current structural theories of language were incapable of accounting for the fundamental characteristics of language - the creativity and uniqueness of individual sentences.

Besides Chomsky, British applied linguists focused on functional and communicative potential of language. The need to focus in language teaching on communicative proficiency rather than on mere mastery of structures was realized.

British linguist, D.A. Wilkins (1972) proposed a functional or communicative definition of language teaching that served as a basis for developing communicative syllabuses for language teaching. He described two types of meanings: notional categories (time, sequence, quantity, location etc) and communicative function (requests, denials, offers, complaints). Later on Wilkins brought out a book titled Notional Syllabuses (1976) which greatly influenced the development of CLT.

Aims of CLT

Although CLT began as a largely British innovation, focusing on alternative conception of a syllabus, since mid 1970s the scope of CLT has expanded. Majority of linguists now see it as an approach and not a method. The aim of CLT is two-fold:

(i) Make communicative competence the goal of language teaching.

(ii) Develop procedures for the teaching of the four skills of English language that acknowledge the interdependence of language and communication.

CLT - Several Versions

For some, CLT means little more than an integration of grammatical and functional teaching. Littlewood says, "One of the most characteristic features of CLT is that it pays systematic attention to functional as well as structural aspects of language". For others CLT means using procedures where learners work in pairs or groups employing available language resources in problem solving tasks.

Howatt distinguishes between a 'strong' and a 'weak' version of CLT. The weak version stresses the importance of providing learners with opportunities to use their English for communicative purposes and attempts to integrate such activities into a wider programme of language teaching. The strong version of communicative teaching advances the claim that language is acquired through communication, so that it is not merely a question of activating an existing but inert knowledge of language, but of simulating the development of the language system itself. If former could be described as learning to use English, the latter is described as using English to learn it.

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

Compounds in Tolkappiyam and Balavyakaranam - A Comparison | Automatic Nominal Morphological Recognizer and Analyzer for Sanskrit: Method and Implementation | A Critical Study of The Wasteland - Poetry as Metaphor | Communicative Language Teaching - An Overview | Cinema and the New Media | Culture and Second Language Learning and Teaching - An Exploration in Tamil | R. K. Narayan's Humour in Swami and Friends | Towards Meeting Global Challenge - Cyber Based Instruction in Foreign Language Teaching | Novel Technologies, Engines and Mobiles in Language Learning | Role of Language in Effective Managerial Communication | Pragmatic Analysis of Politeness Theory | The Varied Horizon of Multimedia & Web Tools for English Language Acquisition in the Information Age | Challenges and Problems in the Teaching of Grammar | Some Features of Tirukkural Telugu Translations | Issues of Social and Ideological Empowerment in Contemporary Indian Women Writing in English | Does Stress-Shift Lead to Word-Class Conversion in English? | Insight through Body Language and Non-verbal Communication References in Tirukkural | Think-Aloud Protocol -- Elicitation of Strategy Use and Solution to Learning Problem | Voice of the Voiceless: Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape and George Ryga's Indian - A Comparative Study | Inside the Haveli: A Study | HOME PAGE of February 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Ravi Bhushan, Ph.D.
BPS Mahila Vishwavidyalaya
Khanpur Kalan (Sonipat)

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