Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Using Communicative English Language Teaching Through Two Approaches

Communicative Language Teaching
Previously, in one of my articles I stated that I use the communicative language teaching through two approaches. The two approaches mentioned are:

Content-Based Instruction (CBI)
Task-Based language teaching (TBLT)

Advantages of Each One
Two good references to consult in this area would be “Approaches and Methods in English Language Teaching” by Jack C. Richards (pictured) and Theodore S. Rodgers (CUP 2001) and “Second Language Teaching and Learning” by David Nunan (Heinle & Heinle 1999). I think both of these are widely available and cover communicative approaches to EFL and foreign language learning in extensive detail.

In a recent article post entitled, “What is a Communicative Approach to English Language Teaching” online at:, I go into the definition and differences in the two approaches in more detail. But to briefly speak on it here, an example of CBI would be when I’m teaching a course entitled, “21s Century Tools in ELT” in which another professor and I team teach the use of CALL, multi-media, realia and other tools in the EFL / ESL classroom. The course is taught in English but it is not an English course. The focus is on learning the use and application of additional technology and techniques by “technology-challenged” teachers.

An example of TBLT
An example of TBLT on the other hand, would be having learners use the English language to complete an activity or perform a task. If I concept-check that Chinese language learners know the needed Chinese to do so, then send them to a Chinese restaurant to interact with the staff and other diners and have lunch, that would be TBLT.

Based on the learners’ needs, location, intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors, among others, both approaches would have advantages and disadvantages. I’ll elaborate on this a bit more later, conditions permitting.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, prolific writer, expert author and public speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

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