Communicative language teaching is critically reviewed. With an emphasis on understanding its basic tenets and the advantages that it offers to the language learning process.
Communicative language teaching is an approach towards language teaching. It is entrenched in the belief that the primary purpose of language is communication (Brandl, 2008). Therefore, the approach aims to equip its learners with an ability to communicate. There are two categories of the communicative approach. The weak component involves an overt pedagogy of language forms that develops the learner’s ability to use the same for communication. The strong communicative approach on the other hand inclines towards furnishing the learner with experiences through which the learner develops proficiency in the use the language. According to Richards, there are four principles through which the approach can be understood (2005). These are: the mode of learning of a language, the goals of teaching language, the types of classroom activities that promote learning, and what the roles of teachers and learners are in the classroom. The communicative approach is therefore a broad one that encompasses a wide range of activities which are meant to improve the overall language acquisition process. It is also referred to as the functional approach or the notional-functional approach (Richards & Rodgers, 2001). The end result is learner’s achieving communicative competence.
The communicative approach developed as an alternative to the grammar-translation method. This previous approach indulged learners in a frenzy of vocabulary and rule grasping, with the outcome being a limited oral proficiency (Brandl, 2008). In order to atone for this shortcoming, the students would then travel to the language’s country of origin so as to acquaint themselves through practice. Owing to this significant