Communicative Language Teaching

Communicative Language Teaching / Learning Approach

Speaking English for students is a task met with enthusiasm and fear, for that reason, language teachers find it difficult to encourage them to participate in classroom activities during English class. One of the most effective ways to enhance students’ oral communication skills is via communicative language teaching approach.

Wood (2005) stated that language teachers must be concerned with developing communicative competence has been referred to as “one’s ability to use and interpret language appropriately in the process of interaction and in relation to social context Hymes and Stern (cited in Murcia-Celce 2006).

This gives way Sandra Savignon’s Communicative Language Teaching / Learning Approach (1983). Communication is the process of sharing ideas, thoughts, and feelings with other people. These involve the sender, receiver, channel, and the feedback. Savignon posit that “learning how to be better communicators is important to all of us in both our private and public lives. Better communication means better understanding of ourselves and others; less isolation from those around us; and more productive, happy lives”, (1983, p.4). Therefore, she emphasized that teaching the language must focus on the actual use of the language and not on the structure of the language. Grammar is part of the language and facilitates communication. However the rules of grammar alone do not make one proficient in using the language. Grammar rules are taught not for memorization or “mechanical” drill exercises but for application in oral or written communication.

She also annotated that there are four components of communicative competence; she showed how, through practice and experience in an increasingly wide range of communicative contexts and events, learners gradually expand their communicative competence, consists of grammatical competence, which is primarily concerned with using a rule in interpretation, expression, or negotiation in meaning. The discourse competence however is concerned with the interconnectedness of a series of utterances, written words, and / or phrases to form a text, a meaningful whole. Another is sociocultural competence, which deals with the social rules of language use and finally the strategic competence, it is the knowledge how to use one’s language to communicate intended meaning.

According to Savignon (1983) Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) helps the learners to develop the strategic competencies they need for interpretation, expression, and negotiation of meaning; learners express satisfaction and even surprise.