Communicative Language Teaching

Current Status and Future Prospects
  • Nina Spada
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE, volume 15)


Since the introduction of communicative language teaching (CLT) in the late 1970s, there have been different definitions and interpretations of the communicative approach to second language (L2) instruction. Not surprisingly, this has resulted in several misconceptions of CLT and how it is implemented in the L2 classroom. While most descriptions of CLT emphasize the communication of messages and meaning, there is disagreement as to whether CLT should include a focus on the analysis and practice of language forms. There is also some debate (and confusion) as to whether the inclusion of literacy skills, use of the first language (L1), and vocabulary instruction is compatible with the principles and practice of CLT. These differences in interpretation and implementation of CLT are sufficiently problematic to suggest that CLT has become a rather vacuous term. Indeed, some have argued that, as a label for a language teaching method, CLT has lost its relevance to L2 teaching. In this chapter, I will describe some of the developments in CLT theory, research, and practice that point to the conclusion that a balance needs to be struck within CLT—one that allows for the integration of more direct instruction of language (including grammatical, lexical, and socio-pragmatic features) with communicative skills.


Language Form Target Language Language Acquisition Language Teaching Corrective Feedback 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nina Spada
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of TorontoCanada

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