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This paper presents a very comprehensive overview of the communicative language teaching (CLT) approach, presenting the views of critics as well as supporters. CLT views language as a vehicle for communication, and it recognizes as its aim the teaching of communicative competence, which includes grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competence. In communicative classrooms, the teacher's role is that of facilitator, while students become communicators. Practical ideas and suggestions are offered for applying this approach. The paper is divided into 3 parts: approach, design, and procedure. Part 1 includes a discussion of a theory of language teaching and learning (including teaching grammatical, sociolinguistic, and communicative competence). Also included are discussions of authentic classroom practice, the nature of the language classroom, the information gap, criteria for selecting activities, the use of the native language, and being eclectic. Part 2 discusses weak and strong versions of communicative language teaching (according to Howatt, Ellis, and Holliday), course syllabi, teaching materials, and the teacher and student roles as communicators. Part 3, focusing on teaching procedure, discusses strong and weak CLT procedures and engages the research of Finocchiaro, Brumfit, Littlewood, and Rivers. Extensive scholarly references appear throughout. (Contains 47 references.) (KFT)

Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Classroom Techniques, Communicative Competence (Languages), English (Second Language), Foreign Countries, Language Research, Linguistic Theory, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Sociolinguistics, Teaching Methods

Author: Liao, Xiao Qing


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