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Applied Linguistics/5

Lecturer : Dwi Maharani, M.Pd

Name : Masmina
Date/Day : Thursday/Oct.29th2015


Describing communication as the goal of language teaching has, since the

early 1970s, involved the development of increasingly refined definitions of
communicative competence. Hence, understanding communicative competence is
one way of understanding CLT. While communication is arguably universal, what
forms of communication we engage in, how we understand communication, how
it is affected by changes in technology and society, and how it intertwined with
context and cultures is more complex and this time, a central aspect of CLT has
been how to understand the concept of communication and how it should inform
language teaching.
According to these authors, and considering also Canale’s (1983) later revision,
communicative competence includes not only grammatical competence (in the
Chomskian sense), it also includes sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic
competence. This means that speakers draw on range of competencies when using
languge for communication.
One challenge to the usefulness of any definition of communicative competence is
that it attemps to represent ‘in a few abstract contructs the complex realities of
language use across an unforeseeable range of varition and situational
contingency’ (Lee 2006:351). And finally, communicative competence, whether
the standard definition or a more recent one, is not a recipe for what should
happen in classroom. It may be possible to argue that a de-contextualized focus on
grammar and vocabulary is unlikely to result in learners developing
sociolinguistic, discourse, strategic and/or intercultural communicative
competence. However, focusing exclusively on language use in context, without
any focus on grammar, has more recently also been challenged.
To understand CLT methodology, or what should be hapening in classroom,
the CLT literature has, more or less overtly, turned to models of the
communication process. This early notion of the communication process
continues to have tremendous influence on how many of us undertsand language
teaching. For example, productive and receptive language skill mirror the model’s
focus on sending (producing) and receiving message. We talk about (the) oral
(channel of) communication with speaking as the productive and listening as the
receptive skill, and (the) written (channel of) communication with writing as the
productive and reading as the receptive skill.
Take Johnson’s (1982) five principles for communicative exercise: 1). the
information transfer principle, 2). the information gap principle, 3). the jigsaw
principle, 4). the task dependecy principle and 5). the correction for content

There are, then, potential correspondences between models of the communication
process and what may be happening in language classroom.
To try to get at the underlying model of communication in popular applications of
CLT it is useful to look at two treatments of CLT, both published arround 1990, at
a time when CLT have been developing for a number of years. The first is from
Nunan (1989), who was concerned with developing communicative task, such as
task should involve comprehending, manipulating, producing and interacting in
the target language. By contarst, in a state-of-the-art article on CLT published
arround the same time, Savignoon (1991) defined CLT as involving negotiation,
interpretation and exspression of meaning in the target language.
An alternative view is made possible by taking the starting point of this
chapter seriously. According to this more critical view, rejecting CLT for certain
parts of the world because prevailing descriptions of communication are western.
The fact, that CLT has ‘Western’ origins certainly adds to this challenge.
However, we should be careful not to dismiss the capacity of language teaching
profesionals in all parts of the world to approach both communication and CLT in
a critical manner