Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 9 : 10 October 2009
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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Copyright © 2009
M. S. Thirumalai


Teaching English as a Second Language
Using Communicative Language Teaching
An Evaluation of Practice in India

M. Savitri, Ph.D. Candidate


This paper traces the history of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), reasons for Communicative Language Teaching in America and Europe, CLT theory and the advent of CLT in India. The reasons for CLT being popular are critically analyzed and evaluated. The implementation of CLT in India - its success and failure - is discussed. Suggestions for making CLT a success in India are discussed.

A History of CLT

The Grammar-Translation method, the Audio-Lingual approach and the Situational Language Teaching approach were the methodologies that were in vogue before CLT. These methods involved repetition and memorization of forms. During the Second World War, language was learnt with a utilitarian purpose in mind. Mere memorizing of grammar rules and studying literary texts were considered irrelevant. Ability to use the language to meet practical ends became the major goal. In other words to be successful in learning a foreign language means ability to get the meaning across while communicating. It was at this point that these methodologies gave way to Communicative Language Teaching (CLT).

With the appearance of CLT second language teaching faced a dramatic change in the method of teaching the language. The main reason behind this change is that the educators began to realize the goal of foreign language teaching is the communicative ability achieved by the learner.

In the 1970's in Europe there was an influx of immigrant population who had to learn English quickly to find employment. The drills of the Grammar-Translation method and the Audio-Lingual approach did not help the workers communicate with their employers. "British applied linguists began to call into question the theoretical assumption underlying the Situational Language Teaching" (Jack C.Richards, 153).

Since the mid-1970's the scope of CLT has expanded. Both American and British proponents now see it as an approach (and not a method) that aims to (a) make communicative competence the goal of language teaching and (b) develop procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledges the interdependence of language and communication. (Jack C.Richards, 155).

Origin of CLT

It was at this same time that Dell Hymes, an American socio-linguist counteracted Noam Chomsky's linguistic competence and performance model by coining the term 'Communicative competence'. Communicative competence in CLT is a linguistic term which refers to a learner's ability to form correct utterances in the second language and know how to use these utterances appropriately.

The CLT approach owes its origin to linguists like Dell Hymes and Michael Halliday who regarded language primarily as a way of communication (Hymes, Michael A.K.Halliday, 1973). Many researchers have helped to develop the theory and practice of CLT. To name a few, Dell Hymes (1973), Brumfit & Johnson (1979) and Little Wood (1981).

Learning by Doing

Krashen, the acquisition theorist, stresses that language learning comes about through using language communicatively. This anti-structural view of learning is usually referred to as 'learning by doing' or the 'experience approach'. He felt that Second Language Acquisition occurs subconsciously as a result of communicating in situations where the focus is on meaning. The development of the communicative ability occurs subconsciously in the learner. This subconscious process is similar to the process a child utilizes in acquiring his first language.

According to Prabhu, when individuals, whose first language is not English, focus on getting their message across then communication comes naturally.

On the other hand, success in doing a task involves less than linguistic competence in that, strictly speaking, language needs to be comprehended only for a certain purpose (hence, to a certain degree) and an outcome needs to be formulated in language only to the extent necessary for putting its meaning-content across. (N.S. Prabhu, 69)

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

Spelling Variations in Kannada | A Survey of the State of the Art in Punjabi Language Processing | The Representation of Homosexuality - A Content Analysis in a Malaysian Newspaper | Noun Reduplication in Tamil and Kannada | Journey of Self-discovery in Anita Nair's Ladies' Coupé | A Study of Communicability and Intelligibility of Advertisements in Tamil With Special Reference to Tooth Paste and Health Drink | Explicit Grammar Instruction | Teaching English as a Second Language Using Communicative Language Teaching - An Evaluation of Practice in India | Discovering Values in English Language Teaching | The Core Functions of the Hindi Modals - Speech Act Approach | Textbook Analysis of English for Engineers | Cross-Professional Collaboration on E-Learning Courses | Reading Arundhati Roy's Fiction The God of Small Things Through Her Non-Fiction | Teaching English through Indian Writing in English in Rural India | Proverbs in Modern Tamil and Telugu Societies | Using Problem Based Learning Technique in Teaching English Grammar | Problems in Reading Comprehension Skills among Secondary School Students in Yemen | The Literary Value of the Book of Isaiah | Will Sentences Have Divergence Upon Translation? : A Corpus-Evidence Based Solution for Example Based Approach | HOME PAGE of October 2009 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

M. Savitri
Department of English
SRM Valliammai Engineering College
S.R.M. Nagar
Kattankulathur - 603 203
Kancheepuram District
Tamil Nadu, India

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