Communicative Language Teaching in the adult classroom

I'm exploring different methods to use with my adult ESL learners.  Many are migrants or seeking assylum and have limited English language fluency, if any.  Do any of you currently use the CLT method in your classrooms?  If so, in what ways do you assess the learning of the students?  What ideas/activities do you use to make it applicable to your learners who are refugees or migrant workers and just learning the English language?  If you choose not to use it, what methods do you prefer? -April


Hello April, Thanks for posting this question about Communicative Language Teaching (CLT). I'm looking forward to hearing from our members on this topic. 

I thought it might be useful to explain a bit about what CLT is. The following quote comes from a webpage about CLT on the University of Louisiana's (Monroe) website.

"Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is an approach that aims to achieve communicative rather than linguistic competence through learner interaction. Born in the 1980s, this strategy to language teaching is based on the philosophy that, in order to learn a language, one must practice using that language to communicate meaning to others.

Teachers who use the CLT approach in English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms encourage students to use English. To promote meaningful language use, ESL teachers can utilize activities that encourage students to speak in the performance of meaningful tasks. Interaction is both the method and the goal of ESL education." 

You can read more about CLT at the link above.

I would characterize my own teaching as grounded in CLT practices.  There are many useful instructional routines that teachers can use to engage learners in meaningful interaction that build their language skills. Here's a link to some examples of a CLT routine I used all the time in my own classes called conversation grid

Let us know about your practice, teachers!

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, English Language Acquisition Group