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

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The Principles of Modern English Language Teaching (v)

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 four posts, I explained four of its principles. Let’s now look at the last one: Number Five!

CLT Principle Five: Reduce the Stress

In CLT, it was realised that no one can learn well if they are nervous, scared, and bullied into speaking. No one will speak well if there is punishment and scolding involved, or intimidation by other students or the environment. In CLT, there is genuine respect from the teacher to the students. Everyone in the classroom is seen as an equal individual worthy of respect.

What this means in the classroom is that teachers will be more relaxed, make it enjoyable, use jokes, build laughter and rapport between class members, encourage genuine interaction, and give positive feedback. It may even be good fun. Sometimes, when everyone is laughing so much in my class, I pretend to be angry, and make the joke in class: ‘If you’re having fun, you’re not learning!’ (which makes the students laugh even more).

Of course, there must also be good classroom management, a lesson plan, and control of events, but it is done around an enjoyable atmosphere, where interesting external information and events are allowed to enter into the learning.

The grammar-translation method is somewhat threatening. The teacher acts superior, and is a commander who jumps on mistakes, asks you to repeat, and demands total accuracy and obedience. Students do not identify with each other as a group, but remain as isolated individuals immersed in their solitary island, usually thinking about other things (such as what time the lesson will be over!)

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

  • to bully (v)
  • to scold (v)
  • to intimidate (v)
  • rapport (n)
  • genuine
  • atmosphere (n)
  • external (adj)
  • isolated (adj)
  • to immerse (v)
  • solitary (n)

The next post will draw a conclusion about all these CLT principles.

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