The origins of CLT are to be found in the changes in the British language teaching tradition dating from the late 1960´s.
Until then, Situational Language Teaching represented the major british approach to teaching english as a foreign language. In slt , language was taught by practicing basic structures in meaningful situation-based activities.
But British linguistis saw the need to focus in language teaching on communicative profiency rather than on mere mastery of structures.
Another impetus for different approaches to foreign language teaching came from changing educational realities in Europe.
With the increasing interdependence of European countries came the need for greater efforts to teach adults the major languages of the European Common Market.
The Council of Europe , a regional organization for cultural and educational cooperation, examined the problem. Education was one of the Council of Europe´s major areas of activity. The need to develop alternative methods of language teaching was considered a high priority.
Wilkings in 1972 proposed a functional or communicative definition of language that could serve as a basis for developing communicative syllabuses for language teaching. Rather than describe the core of language throug traditional concepts of grammar and vocabulary, Wilkings attempted to demonstrate the systems of meaning that lay behind the communicative uses of language. He described two types of meanings : notional categories ( concepts such as time, sequence, quantity, location, frequency ) and categories of communicative functions ( requests, denials, offers, complaints )
The work of the Council of Europe; the writings of Wilkings, and other British linguists on the theoretical basis for a communicative or functional approach to language teaching; the rapid application of these ideas by textbooks writers gave prominence to what... [continues]
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