7 of 40  MODERN LANGUAGE TEACHING (CLT) & TAIWAN: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT: The Principles of Modern English Language Teaching (ii)

By | December 18, 2017

Isn’t it time you knew the truth about how people really learn languages? Then you can know better about how YOU can learn, right?

The Principles of Modern English Language Teaching (ii)

So, what is the most modern system of teaching language? What are its principles? The most modern methodology of teaching English is loosely known as Communicative English Teaching, which is usually just called ‘CLT’.

In the previous post, I explained the first of its principles. Let’s now look at the second.

CLT Principle Two: Task Based

In CLT, it was realised that people learn better when there is an intelligent purpose for doing any communicative activity. No one picks up a pen and says, “This is a pen. It is red. I like this pen. I will use this pen.” That sort of language has no purpose behind it. In real life, we speak for a reason! Thus, CLT bases the presentation, practice, and learning of language around purposeful tasks or reasons for speaking.

What these means in the classroom is that when you do skills work (such as reading and listening) there is always a task, such as easy or harder set of comprehension questions. These question might reflect real life. Think about why we read, and why we listen. We do this for information that is necessary in a specific situation. So, in CLT, this situation is given, explained, then the listening or reading begins.

Similarly, speaking in pairs or groups is based around achieving specific goals (for example: expressing three regrets about your childhood), using specific grammar or language (for example: talk about when you last did something), or specific speaking strategies (for example: divide your response into good and bad aspects).

Speaking about yourself has a purpose, since in real life we often tell others about ourselves.

In grammar-translation, the purpose of any communication doesn’t matter, happen, and isn’t important. There is no point or purpose in just memorisation and recitation of sentences. The answers to questions are all explained. There is no intellectual involvement in any of the material, and no tasks that reflect real life.

Now, check that you know the meaning of the underlined vocabulary (also repeated below).

  • comprehension (n)
  • specific (adj)
  • to regret (v)
  • to be intellectual (adj)

The next post will explain the CLT Principle Three.

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Author: Andrew

Andrew Guilfoyle Cambridge CELTA, Cambridge DELTA, Cambridge CELTA teacher-trainer, M.Ed