John Jang

John Jang

· 4 mn to read

Learning by Talking

Are the majority of your students giving up before reaching conversational confidence? Giving students opportunities to communicate is often easier said than done. However, it's not impossible. The CLT method is a tried-and-tested pedagogical model used in foreign language education,and its principles may be helpful for you to understand, if you'd like to encourage students to speak more in the target language.

What is CLT?

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) or simply the communicative method is a foreign language pedagogical framework that focuses on developing the ability of students to communicate effectively in the target language. This approach to language teaching has its roots in the 1960s and 70s, when researchers began to question the traditional methods of language instruction that focused on grammar and translation. Instead, CLT focuses on the use of authentic materials and real-life situations to teach language skills, with the goal of helping students become proficient communicators in the target language.

Key Principles

One of the key principles of the communicative method is the idea that language is a tool for communication, rather than an end in itself. This means that the goal of language instruction is not just to teach students grammar and vocabulary, but to help them use language to communicate effectively in real-life situations. To achieve this goal, the communicative method emphasizes the use of authentic materials and real-life scenarios in language instruction. This can include using authentic texts, audio recordings, and videos in the target language, as well as simulations and role-playing activities that help students practice using the language in a variety of contexts.

Making Lessons Interactive

An important aspect of the communicative method is the emphasis on interaction and collaboration in language learning. In short, this means that language instruction should not just involve the teacher lecturing to students. We hear this all the time as teachers, but it may not be obvious to us just how much we're doing the talking. With large classrooms, interactivity is usually best suited to providing activities where students work together among themselves and engaging in conversation with each other in the target language. In the online classroom, this can be done via breakout rooms. If it's a 1:1 setting, then you as the teacher can take the role of a conversation partner. This can help students develop their listening and speaking skills, as well as their ability to understand and use the language in a variety of social contexts.


The communicative method is about giving the students a sense of autonomy in their learning by being involved in not only what they say as part of speaking practice, but also in determining what they will learn. It is a combination of self-directed learning and classroom instruction, so that the student begins to take an active role in their own learning. This can be achieved through activities that encourage students to explore the language on their own, such as using online resources or engaging in self-study outside of class. Recommending Youtube videos at their level is a good start, and an app by the name of Polygloss is a fun way to get started on output exercises with a native-speaking peer. By taking an active role in their own learning, students can develop a greater sense of ownership over their language skills and become more motivated to continue learning.


Overall, Communicative Language Teaching is an approach to language instruction that focuses on developing students’ ability to communicate effectively in the target language. This is achieved through the use of authentic materials and real-life scenarios, an emphasis on interaction and collaboration, and a focus on learner autonomy and motivation. By adopting this approach, language teachers can help their students become proficient communicators in the target language and better equipped to use language in a variety of real-life situations. Give it a go in your own lessons and feel free to leave a comment or feedback via hello(at)