The need to use English language in communication has significantly increased around the globe. English is currently applied in the fields of education, technology, politics, and business and for that reason, is learned as a foreign language in various countries (Richards & Rodgers, 2014). Due to the necessity and the need to learn and communicate in English, EFL (English as Foreign Language) countries have shifted from the conventional grammar-based teaching approaches to communicative-focused approach. However, researchers have documented gaps between institutions language policies and classroom practices that have hindered the successful implementation of communicative teaching approach.
Classroom teaching systems still devote to the secondary purposes like teaching grammar, translation of literary texts, memorizing and preparation for comprehensive examinations. This system may indicate the existing incompatibility between the governments' efforts to formulate TEFL and approaches applied by English language tutors in the classes. The unsuitability at the same time may suggest that the language instructors have their reasons for not teaching English for communicative reasons and are unable to implement innovative teaching methodologies like the communicative language approach (CLT). Ideally, the introduction of communicative language teaching to EFL classes was met with substantial resistance since the teachers linked it to the changes in traditional grammar-translation methodology into a grammar approach. But due to the teaching conditions in other institutions such as class size, examination format and lack of CLT training and inadequate funds to support the implementation, many EFL teachers who showed interest in the CLT method grew less confident and for that reason faced significant difficulty to implement (Littlewood, 2014). However, it is evident that CLT is the most influential teaching method across the globe and if well implemented can be effective.
To achieve maximum success, there is a need to equip classrooms with resources that can support CLT activities. At the same time, classrooms should hold a convenient number of students and movable desks and chairs for maximum students participation and smooth implementation of communicative activities such as role-playing, group-work assignments, and games. The size of a classroom can implement CLT difficult or easier. According to Richards (2013), the ideal size of any language class should be 30 students since only then can the teacher offer sufficient chances to students to communicate with one another. He further classifies the problems that can be linked with teaching in bigger classrooms in five categories namely: control issues, lack of attention, difficulty in student assessment and evaluation, discomfort, and difficulty to charge learning effectiveness. The problems range from physical, technical to psychological.
Examination format, inadequate effective and efficient assessment of communicative capability and lack of resources have been considered significant problems in the implementation of CLT. Bygate, Skehan & Swain (2013), argues that even though students may be aware of the effectiveness of communicative activities in learning, a significant number lose interest in the activities over time. At the same time, researchers have noted that students prefer learning sentence structure to communicative activities since the content of language exams are often grammar based. There is also lack of motivation among students to participate in the communicative activities which do not help pass their examinations (Yang, 2014). Due to immense pressure from teachers and parents to pass, students often tend to prefer the grammar based exam format. It is, therefore, necessary for the teachers to focus more on the communicative activities and provide more resources that will aid students to embrace CLT.
Bygate, M., Skehan, P., & Swain, M. (2013). Researching pedagogic tasks: Second language learning, teaching, and testing. Routledge.
Littlewood, W. (2014). Communication-oriented language teaching: Where are we now? Where do we go from here?. Language Teaching, 47(3), 349-362.
Richards, J. C. (2013). Curriculum approaches in language teaching: Forward, central, and backward design. Relc Journal, 44(1), 5-33.
Richards, J. C., & Rodgers, T. S. (2014). Approaches and methods in language teaching. Cambridge university press.
Yang, Y. I. (2014). The implementation of speaking fluency in communicative language teaching: An observation of adopting the 4/3/2 activity in high schools in China. International Journal of English Language Education, 2(1), 193-214.
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