Communicative Language Teaching in Teaching ESL for University Students

Communicative Language Teaching; CLT; university students; advantages and disadvantages; CLT classroom activities


  • Le Thi Ngoc Hien
    Ho Chi Minh City University of Food Industry, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
June 8, 2021


Although teaching and learning language is not a new topic for researchers, it always inspires educators and linguists. Among new teaching approaches, Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is a teaching method that emphasizes communicative output. This approach has been widely known worldwide since it was first introduced in the 1970s because of the demand for communication skills of language learners. However, there are still many issues raised because teachers are not similar to this method. In terms of language competence, Chomsky (1957) mentions linguistic aspects like lexis, syntax, phonology and morphology as the central part of learning language, while Hymes (1971) concludes grammatic, semantic, sociolinguistic and pragmatic aspects. Hymes’ (1971) theory and other authors' theories lead to a new breakthrough in developing communicative language teaching in teaching and learning a second language. Compared with the Grammar-Translation method, CLT provides learners with more opportunities to develop their communicative ability and increase the role of learners in teaching and learning second language classroom activities, which is hard to find in other old teaching methods. This paper focuses on the overview of CLT in teaching English as a second language. In particular, it summarises the advantages and disadvantages of CLT comparing with old teaching methods, current trends of CLT, obstacles in applying CLT in the university context. Since then, it helps teachers have a better understanding of CLT and the article also suggests implications of teaching English with CLT in the university context, including designing classroom activities and motivating students.