Some misconceptions about clt

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Some misconceptions about clt

  1. 1. Some misconceptions about Communicative language teaching Geoff Thompson ELT Journal Volume 50/1 January 1996 © Oxford University Press 1996 Presentation by 高歌 浙江外国语学院 英文学院 24 Aug. 2011 The first presentation by Victor GAO GE 24 Aug. 2011
  2. 2. Abstract: <ul><li>Although communicative language teaching is accepted by many applied linguists and teachers as the most effective approach among those in general use, there are still a number of misconceptions about what it involves. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Abstract: <ul><li>This article </li></ul><ul><li>lists four of the main misconceptions, </li></ul><ul><li>discusses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>why they have arisen, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>why they can be so described. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>define some important characteristics of communicative language teaching </li></ul>
  4. 4. The structure of the presentation <ul><li>What is the misconception? </li></ul><ul><li>Why do we have this view? </li></ul><ul><li>Why it is not right? </li></ul><ul><li>How to improve from that? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Misconception 1: CLT means not teaching grammar
  6. 6. Why is not right? <ul><li>This is the most persistent and most damaging misconception. </li></ul><ul><li>however, that there are good reasons for its existence. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Some linguists have argued strongly and persuasively that explicit grammar teaching should be avoided. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammar teaching is impossible because the knowledge that a speaker needs in order to use a language is simply too complex (Prabhu 1987). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grammar teaching is unnecessary because that knowledge is of a kind which cannot be passed on in the form of statable rules, but can only be acquired unconsciously through exposure to the language (Krashen 1988). </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>For most teachers, the effects of the above ideas was felt through their practical application in language textbooks and syllabuses. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the early textbooks like Functions of English included no explicit teaching of grammar (although Functions of English was aimed at students who had typically already been through a more conventional grammar-based course). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Syllabuses defined the teaching aims predominantly functional e.g. (‘make a telephone call to book a hotel room’; ‘scan a written text to extract specific information’), and ignored or minimized the underlying knowledge of the language that they would need to actually perform those tasks. </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>However, the exclusion of explicit attention to grammar was never a necessary part of CLT. There was a reaction against the heavy emphasis on structure at the expense of natural communication. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>New Concept English, enormously and deservedly popular </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>there have always been theorists and teachers pointing out that grammar is necessary for communication to take place efficiently. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>What is the right way? </li></ul><ul><li>Learning grammar through CLT: the retrospective approach An appropriate amount of class time should be devoted to grammar, but not in a traditional way. </li></ul><ul><li>The focus has now moved away from the teacher covering grammar to the learners discovering grammar. </li></ul>
  11. 11. How? Learning grammar through the retrospective approach <ul><li>Learners are first exposed to new language in a comprehensible context, so that they are able to understand its function and meaning. </li></ul><ul><li>Only then is their attention turned to examining the grammatical forms that have been used to convey that meaning. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Learning grammar through the retrospective approach <ul><li>The discussion of grammar is explicit, but it is the learners who are doing most of the discussing, working out - with guidance from the teacher – as much of their new knowledge of the language as can easily and usefully be expressed. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Learning grammar through the retrospective approach <ul><li>Why? </li></ul><ul><li>Behind this strategy lies the recognition that the learners may well have ‘understood’ more about the language than the learners or the teacher can put into words. </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>This ‘retrospective’ approach to grammar is a natural development from the original CLT emphasis on viewing language as a system for communication; </li></ul><ul><li>it also takes into account the fact that learning is likely to be more efficient if the learners have an opportunity to talk about what they are learning. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Ellis (1992) argues that looking explicitly at grammar may not lead immediately to learning, it will facilitate learning at a later stage when the learner is ready to internalize the new information about the language. </li></ul><ul><li>This approach also helps if the lesson is conducted in English as it encourages the learners to communicate fairly naturally about an important subject: the language itself. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Misconception 2: CLT means teaching only speaking
  17. 17. <ul><li>Why do we have this view? </li></ul><ul><li>CLT was influenced by the general movement in linguistics towards giving primacy to the spoken language. </li></ul><ul><li>A focus on encouraging learners to communicate leads naturally towards thinking about what they will need to communicate about, and why . </li></ul><ul><li>For many learners abroad, the main uses of the language are oral: </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Why do we have this view? </li></ul><ul><li>A further reason for this misconception is that CLT stresses the need for the learners to have sufficient practice, of an appropriate kind. </li></ul><ul><li>This is often translated, especially by teacher trainers, into the principle that TIT (teacher talking time) is to be reduced, and STT (student talking time) is to be maximized - chiefly by putting students into pairs and telling them to talk to their partners. </li></ul>
  19. 19. <ul><li>Why do we have this view? </li></ul><ul><li>At the same time, while the slogan ‘TTT bad, STT good’ almost certainly represents a useful (though perhaps rarely attained) goal for most teachers, it is also important to recognize that communication does not only take place through speech, and that it is not only the speaker (or writer) who is communicating. </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Suggestions: </li></ul><ul><li>CLT involves encouraging learners to take part in and reflect on communication in as many different contexts as possible (and as many as necessary, not only for their future language-using needs, but also for their present language-learning needs). </li></ul>
  21. 21. <ul><li>Suggestions: </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps, rather than student talking time, we should be thinking about the broader concept of student communicating time (or even just student time, to include necessary periods of silent reflection undistracted by talk from teacher or partner). </li></ul>
  22. 22. Misconception 3: CLT means pair work, which means role play
  23. 23. <ul><li>Why it is a misconception </li></ul><ul><li>The use of pair work is a physical signal of some degree of control and choice passing to the learners; but this needs to be complemented by real choice, which role play, particularly at simpler levels, may not encourage as much as other uses of pair work. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Misconception 4: CLT means expecting too much from the teacher
  25. 25. <ul><li>Suggestions: </li></ul><ul><li>Perhaps, rather than student talking time, we should be thinking about the broader concept of student communicating time (or even just student time, to include necessary periods of silent reflection undistracted by talk from teacher or partner). </li></ul>

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