Communicative Language Teaching – Pt 5

by | Learn languages, Learning and Teaching, Teaching

9. The role of the teacher in the language classroom is that of a facilitator, who creates a classroom climate conducive to language learning and provides opportunities for students to use and practice the language and to reflect on language use and language learning.

A facilitator is a person that helps an individual or group reach a successful outcome by providing indirect or unobtrusive assistance, direction, or supervision. The idea of the teacher being the ‘sage on the stage’ must end. Language students need a language coach and not a language teacher. Using effective self-guided language learning strategies trains students to teach themselves. When trained properly they become like star athletes that know their craft but still need a facilitator.

10. The classroom is a community where learners learn through collaboration and sharing.

In the Communicative Language Learning classroom the students form a team of self-guided learners and the teacher keeps things moving through guidance and constructive observation and comments. The students are the stars because the coach makes them so.


As Mr. Richards points out in his article Communicative Language Teaching Today “The dynamics of classrooms [have] changed. Instead of a predominance of teacher-fronted teaching, teachers [are] encouraged to make greater use of small-group work. Pair and group activities [give] learners greater opportunities to use the language and to develop fluency.”

“There has been a change of emphasis from presenting language as a set of forms which have to be learned and practiced, to presenting language as a functional system…” Tarone and Yule: Focus on the Language Learner Approaches to Identifying and Meeting the Needs of Second Language Learners

(Oxford University Press – 1989)

Those words were published almost 40 years ago but their implementation has come at the pace of a slow moving glacier.

Communicative Language Learning is the core of the FlashStart Online TESOL Teacher Certification Course created by the author of this article, Kemp Carroll.