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Languge Teaching Approaches Today and the Effectiveness of Communicative Language Teaching

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Introduction

(A) Briefly explain the different teaching methods you have studied, illustrating with your own examples in each case. (B) Basing your arguments on relevant reading and your own examples, describe the (relative) advantages of CLT over the other methods. The ever-growing demand for English has created a high demand for quality language teaching methodology around the world. In this essay, three different language teaching approaches which uphold dissimilar principles for language learning will be discussed, namely grammar-translation method, direct method and communicative language teaching (CLT). In addition, CLT has served as a major source of influence on language teaching practice nowadays. This essay therefore serves to compare and describe the advantages of CLT over the other two approaches. According to Richards and Rodgers (1986; cited in Nunan & Lamb 1996), a main characteristic of grammar-translation is it involved the explicit teaching of grammatical rules and the extensive use of the students' native language (L1) in the classroom. And, L1 is used as the medium of instruction to explain new items as well as to draw comparison between the target language (TL) and the L1. A lesson example employing grammar-translation approach is illustrated as follow where a teacher is teaching English adjectives to a group of Malaysian students. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, it requires the active involvement of the student in the production of the TL. In addition, CLT is an umbrella term for some other communicative teaching methods, such as the presentation, practice and production method (PPP) and task-based language teaching (TBLT). The following is an example of a CLT lesson using PPP method which focuses on the learning of English prepositions. At the beginning, teacher presents a list of prepositions such as beside, between, on the corner to the students by using a map with various buildings identified in different locations. Next, teacher points to a location and asks students how is she/he going to get there from a particular place. Hence, students are required to put into practice those prepositions that have been introduced in their descriptions. Later, they are separated into pairs with each group provided a copy of the map. Then, they are asked to communicate to figure out the right direction to go to a certain place from a spot. Teacher provides feedback on any non target-like use of language at the end. In contrast, TBLT advocates the use of specially designed instructional tasks as the basis of learning. ...read more.

Conclusion

Since the language classroom is intended as a preparation for survival in the real world and since real communication is an essential characteristic of CLT, the use of authentic materials can be really helpful in providing a link between the classroom and students' needs in the real world. This is because most of the materials contain authentic language and reflect real-world language use. Therefore, students' interest could be aroused by the link because they can apply and practise the linguistics knowledge that they learn in the classroom into real-life situations. In conclusion, CLT is definitely a functional teaching method as it borrows teaching practices from a wide range of methods such as grammar-translation and direct method, which have also been found workable. However, effective teaching is not about which method is used. It is, in fact, about understanding and implementing principles of learning. Therefore, it is important to note down that no language teaching approach can be the only best one. Lastly, teachers have to be open-minded, trying to adapt to the most appropriate teaching practice depends on topics preferred and different factors such as students' ability and teacher's effectiveness in order to deliver language to students successfully. ...read more.

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