Clt Method and Practice

English Language Teaching

Vol. 1, No. 1

Misunderstandings of Communicative Language Teaching
Wen Wu
Division of International Cooperation and Exchanges, Yangtze Normal University
98 Julong Rd. Lidu, Fuling District, Chongqing 408100, China
Tel: 1-778-990-8598


Although Communicative Language Teaching is accepted by many English teachers in China as one of the most
effective approach in English language teaching, there are still a number of misunderstandings about it. By comparing
Johnstone; Sato and Kleinsasser and Thompson as well as Spada, this article focuses on four of the main
misunderstandings, which are commonly held by the language teachers and researchers.
Keywords: CLT, Misunderstanding, Meaning, Learner Error, Learners’ L1
Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is generally regarded as an approach to language teaching. It is based on the
theory that the primary function of language use is communication. One of the fundamental principles of CLT is that
learners need to engage in meaningful communication to attain communicative fluency in ESL settings. So its primary
goal is for learners to develop communicative competence (Hymes, 1971), or simply put, communicative ability.
Therefore, many teachers think that
CLT emphases the speaking and listening in order to improve their
communicative ability by focusing on meaning, and refuses error correction for maintaining the conversation. In this
article, the writer tries to analyze the misunderstandings, which are commonly held by the language teachers.
1. CLT means an exclusive focus on meaning
At present, the most popular misunderstanding of CLT should be that CLT is an approach to foreign language education
which focuses on meaning to the exclusion of any attention to language forms. But, with the view of most applied
linguistics---especially British applied linguistics, this characterization of CLT is not consistent, because they have...