Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), a response to the Audio-Lingual Method (ALM), has been around for quite some time now. If you ask most teachers at language schools in Brazil today what “method” they use in their ELT practice, they’re sure to answer, “Communicative Approach.” But, is that really so? If you take a quick look on the table of contents (or course summary) of most coursebooks used by such teachers, you can get a totally different impression: Grammar rules, communication obeys! Coursebooks and lesson plans alike are still written heavily with grammar in mind. We seem to have a fossilised habit of feeding our students with “Grammar McNuggets”, like Scott Thornbury puts it. Free communication is still secondary in most language courses in Brazil. While conversations about authentically communicative lessons have been resounding all over the Brazilian ELT circles, genuinely communicative lessons are still a distant reality. In this series of reflective articles, I am going to try and tackle some of the reasons behind the issue and, simultaneously, offer a handful of possibly half-baked solutions. For the time being, to start on a humorous note, I offer you a snippet from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian which perfectly illustrates the topic.
The script may be found here
Fernando Guarany Jr