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What is Communicative Language Teaching & Community Language Learning? Edit

Since the very beginning, learning a second language (L2) was something focused on habit formation, it means that it was taught just to acquire a certain knowledge in a second language, no matter how much you knew about it.

Over the years business, music, arts, movies, books and many other things began to acquire a huge popularity and people no longer saw learning a second language as something "curricular", but as something useful for their lives. Hence, L2 teaching techniques needed a change in order to keep students motivated and obviously, to suit their goals. 

In this article, we will briefly describe the following language teaching approaches: Community Language Learning & Communicative Language Teaching.  

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) Edit

Teaching approach proposed in Europe and USA in the early 1970's and 1980's during the so-called "communicative" movement. CLT is about how learners learn a language in a communicative way using communicative competence, in other words, making the learning process as natural as possible creating meaningful interaction through language.

Community Language Learning (CLL) Edit

Created by Charles Arthur Curran in 1973. This approach sees language as a social process which aims two kinds of CLL interactions: between learners and between learners and knowers. One of the main goals of this approach is to make learners acquire independence through time, it means, teaching them to be as proactive as possible.  

On the following chart you will find the differences and similarities between CLT and CLL[1] Edit


Communicative language teaching Community language learning
Theory of language Language is a system for the expression of meaning; primary function-interaction and communication Language is more than a system for communication. It involves the whole person; culture; educational; developmental; and communicative processes
Theory of learning Doing activities that involve real communication, carrying out meaningful tasks, and using language which is meaningful to the learner promote learning Learning involves the whole person. It is a social process of growth from childlike dependence to self-direction and independence
Objectives Objectives will reflect the needs of the learner; they will include functional skills as well as linguistic objectives No specific objectives. Near-native mastery is the goal.
Syllabus Will include some/all of the following; structures, functions, notions, themes, tasks; ordering will be guided by learner needs No set syllabus. Course progression is topic-based; learners provide the topics. Syllabus emerges from learners’ intention and the teacher’s reformulations
Activity Types Engage learners in communication; involve processes such as information sharing, negotiation of meaning and interaction Combination of innovative and conventional. Translation, group work, recording, transcription, reflection and observation, listening, free conversation.
Learner Roles Learner as negotiation, interactor, giving as well as taking Learners are members of a community. Learning is not viewed as an individual accomplishment, but something that is achieved collaboratively
Teacher Roles Facilitator of the communication process, participants tasks, and texts; needs analyst, counselor, process manager Counseling/parental analogy. Teacher provides a safe environment in which students can learn and grow
Roles of materials Primary role in promoting communicative language use; task-based materials; authentic No textbook, which would inhibit growth. Materials are developed as course progresses.
  1. table 2.1 A methodical history of language teaching. (Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Second Edition. Jack C. Richards and Theodore S. Rodgers)

Sources Edit

  1. Richards, J & Rodgers, T. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching.. Cambridge, England. Cambridge University Press, 2001
  2. Littlewood, W. Communicative Language Teaching. . Cambridge, England. Cambridge University Press, 1981.
  3. Nunan, D. Task Based Language Teaching. . Cambridge, England. Cambridge University Press, 2004
  4. Brown, H.D. Teaching By Principles: An Interactive Approach to Language Pedagogy. Longman, 2001. Michigan, USA.

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