C H A P T E R
Principles of Communicative Language Teaching and Task-Based Instruction
Effective teaching is not about a method. It is about understanding and implementing principles of learning.
In this chapter you will learn about • communicative language teaching. • task-based instruction. • characteristics ofpedagogical and reallife tasks. • principles underlying communicative language teaching methodologies. • characteristics of good input.
REFLECTION What kind of methods or techniques have you experienced as a learner of (a) foreign language(s)? Which ones worked best for you, and which ones did not work at all? Why? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________
• practical guidelines on how to maximize the use of the target language (TL) in the classroom. • challenges in implementing communicative language teaching methodologies.
The field of second or world language teaching has undergone manyshifts and trends over the last few decades. Numerous methods have come and gone. We have seen the Audiolingual Method, cognitivebased approaches, the Total Physical Response (TPR), the Natural Approach, and many others (for a detailed description of these methods and approaches, see Richards and Rodgers 2001). In addition, the proficiency and standards-based1 movements have shaped the field withtheir attempts to define proficiency goals and thus have provided a general sense of direction. Some believe that foreign language instruction has finally come of age (see Harper, Lively, and Williams 1998); others refer to it as the post-method area (Richards and Rodgers 2001). It is also generally believed that there is no one single best method that meets the goals and needs of all learners andprograms. What has emerged from this time is a variety of
communicative language teaching (CLT) methodologies. Such methodologies encompass eclectic ways of teaching that are borrowed from myriad methods. Furthermore, they are rooted not only in one but a range of theories and are motivated by researchfindings in second language acquisition (SLA) as well as cognitive and educational psychology. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an introduction to CLT and furthermore describe general methodological principles that function as theoretical and practical guidelines when implementing CLT methodologies.
The Shift Toward Communicative Language Teaching and Task-Based Instruction: A HistoricalPerspective
For many decades the predominant method of language instruction was the grammar-translation method. This method is rooted in the teaching of the nineteenth century and was widely used for the first half (in some parts of the world even longer) of the last century to teach modern foreign languages (Richards and Rodgers 2001). Textbooks primarily consisted of lists of vocabulary and ruleexplanations. By and large, students engaged in translation activities. Little oral proficiency would result from the Grammar-translation Method, and students often were expected to go abroad and immerse themselves to become a fluent speaker. The Grammar-translation Method was not without its opponents, and the demand for oral proficiency led to several counter and parallel movements that laid thefoundation for the development of new ways of teaching, as we still know them today (Richards and Rodgers 2001). One such method is the Direct Method, sometimes also referred to as the Berlitz Method as it was widely used in Berlitz schools. Some reformers of the nineteenth century (e.g., Gouin and Sauveur) believed that languages should be taught in a natural way, that is, how children learn...