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Using CLT during short lessons

Question:

Submitted by SM Hosseini, Iran

We have only a session (75 minutes) in a week to teach English in junior schools and are asked to use CLT as the approach? What is your view?

Professor Richards Responds:

It is not possible to learn a language with only 75 minutes a week of classroom input. Under those circumstances very specific and restricted targets should be established, in terms of what is reasonable to expect in terms of vocabulary acquisition, reading, and so on. CLT is a general approach that is based on the principle that one learns a language through communication and that classroom activities should involve interaction and communication through English. However a reasonable level of proficiency is needed before this is possible so it would be unrealistic to expect CLT principles to be very effective in these circumstances. Perhaps reading ability would be a more realistic goal.