Lesson 3: Principles of Communicative Language Teaching

Communicative Language Teaching

The term "Communicative Language Teaching" (CLT) means different things to different teachers. To some teachers, it simply means a greater emphasis on the use of the target language in the classroom, and in particular, a greater emphasis on orality. To other teachers, communication entails the exchange of unknown information between interlocutors. And finally, some teachers understand communication in the most global, anthropological terms, that is, as a cultural-bond system for making meaning. Despite their various definitions of CLT, all the module instructors seem to advocate for a communicative approach.

Have you heard educators use the term "Communicative Language Teaching?" What did they mean by this term? Did you notice different emphases? What is your own definition? Do you teach for communication?


Dr. Abrams discusses Communicative Language Teaching.

Duration: 02:32

Dr. Abrams emphasizes "real-life language use" in her definition of communicative language teaching. In her discussion, she takes the "speech event" as the point of departure for language teaching, rather than a discrete grammar point or a set of vocabulary items. Do you think that current pedagogical materials meet these criteria for "communicativeness?" In other words, how much information do pedagogical materials contain about the larger cultural context of communication?

Authentic Texts in the Foreign Language Classroom

Discussions about real-life language use often mention the role of authentic texts and authentic materials. Dr. Garza defines authentic language as "language produced by native speakers for native speakers to be consumed in a native environment." But this leads to further questions about the appropriate use of authentic texts in a foreign language classroom. After all, the classroom is not to be confused with the "native environment."


Dr. Garza on authentic texts.

Duration: 00:50

Authentic materials present special challenges for beginning teachers and beginning students. Dr. Garza acknowledges that teachers must "manipulate and massage" authentic materials to make them appropriate for the classroom. What do you think he means? Choose an authentic text and specify how you would "massage" it for you own classroom.