Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is one of the most effective methods for teaching the English language. The goal of CLT is communicative competence. Communicative competence is knowing when and how to say what to whom. The following are characteristics of Communicative Language Teaching:
Language learning occurs when students communicate in English. Students practice using English instead of solely studying it. Examples of communicative activities are role plays, games, and problem-solving tasks in pairs or small groups. Working in pairs or small groups maximizes the amount of language practice the students receive.
Students use authentic communication. Authentic communication means language that is used in real situations. Students are given many opportunities to practice authentic communication in a variety of social contexts such as role playing ordering food at a restaurant, meeting someone for the first time, asking for directions, or interviewing for a job. Students need to figure out whether the situation is formal or informal and appropriately communicate in the situation.
The goal of the student is making themselves understood. Negotiation of meaning is key where speakers try to reach a clear understanding of each other.
Authentic materials are used in lessons allowing students to work with natural language. Students communicate with one another using authentic materials. Examples of authentic materials include newspaper clippings, brochures, menus, or personal photographs.
Errors are perceived as a natural outcome of developing the English language and are part of the learning process. Teachers may not correct student errors, but may note these errors for future instruction. The focus of CLT is communication, so the goal of student interaction is being understood instead of speaking without errors.
Learners’ fluency skills are evaluated by the teacher along with accuracy skills.