25 thoughts on “Communicative Language Teaching: Jeremy Harmer and Scott Thornbury | The New School”

  1. For me the communicative method is simply great and practical for the classroom and for our dear students to learn a second or foreign language, namely English in our case.

  2. I'm a one year studying English I love this language. My dream speak with fluency. I'm from Brazil, and love The EUA.

  3. Two guys with a funny accent discussing learning a language! 🙂 Some of the stuff they say is good though!

  4. Autonomy is rare coin to be found in learners nowdays! The majority of them are looking for ready made recepie for satisfying their needs!
    He confuses me when he answer questions indirectly and implicitly is he trying the communicative stuff on us ! -_-

  5. I don't get tired of watching this video over and over again….. and there's this question that I ask myself very often…. what have we gained, and what have we lost??

  6. I wonder if these two speak fluently any language except English. From the way the speak about it, I draw a sad conclusion that they don't. It seems they've completely forgotten that the success in learning a language depends on learner's motivation much more that on any approach to teaching. In other words, you study the language in the classroom, but you will learn it outside it.

  7. communicative is an umbrella term that covers many different teaching methods that do the opposite of what most language teachers do from here to Europe to Asia–TEACH LANGUAGE AS GRAMMAR RULES ! There could be nothing more BORING and FATAL to developing oral fluency ! Why language teaching is based on nothing other than what was done and has been done and always been done and IT DOESNT WORK ! Grammar -Translation is to learn the LITERATURE of another language and culture; building fluency in L2 means meaningful input + 1 . . focus the learning on MEANING and responding accordingly and not stopping to think of stupid grammar rules. Also depends on ones learning style, but to stop and try to remember or fit an utterance into some RULE stifles natural communication ! As one doesnt read the dictionary like a novel; one uses grammar rules are a REFERENCE ONLY ! Speak from day 1 and speak nothing but the L2.

  8. Shall we question this communicative approach promoted by scholars and academics since you all say that everyone claims to be a communicative teacher, but in actual fact what people do is formal instruction, grammar, drillings and so on. What is this force that drives teachers, educational authorities textbook writers, and syllabus designers to play on this familiar and fairly save ground than to plunge into this crazy natural talk in the classroom?
    Maybe reality lies somewhere here; rather than criticizing teachers and adopting a paternalistic and prescriptive methodology, we should look at why teachers and others dont abide to this approach. Is in it the reality of the classroom?

  9. "You don't teach them grammar. You correct mistakes." Um, that is teaching grammar. This kind of sloppy jingoism is very dangerous. He does seem drunk. The CLT people I've known couldn't pass a regular English course, but they all do well in the 4 week CELTA class because they know nothing. This is exactly what CELTA wants, and I believe they encourage their graduates to demean and threaten non-Celta teachers, even though they know nothing and have no empirical evidence whatsoever.

  10. This is inspiring and it is clear that we've come so far in EFL, unfortunately in British schools all the languages (German, French, Spanish, etc) are taught using Grammar Translation and Direct Method. Children do a lot of grammar but can't speak. Shame

  11. My teaching experience – my pain and joy – is close to this phrase: "The most motivating thing in the classroom is the people in the room and if you can create an environment in the classroom where people get actually interested in each other then you do not actually need this elaborate architecture of tasks and materials you just get them interested in each other … the best information gap is the information gap that exists between the people in the room" (00:53:25)." It all has to do with motivation. I think it is important for a non-native English teacher in a non-English-speaking environment (my situation) who is constantly confronted with the problem of motivating his or her students. Especially when English is a mandatory subject on the curriculum. This idea about "a gap between the people in the room" is brilliant. Yet people are not ready to talk about themselves or even listen to others unless the teacher has arranged for such an environment to emerge. It takes skill and luck, and good prompts and teacher-guided conversation and a teacher to be a good person who is ready to listen and build on what his/her students shared. It is exciting…. but in a non-English speaking country, you need to bring at least some authentic material into a discussion which would work as a source of language. Many people expect a good and natural language but how can they get it from each other? So some source of authentic language must be integrated somehow…. and the question is how?

  12. i think Harmer makes the case here when he pins down Thornbury about the (over) reliance of error correction and the fact that he still can't demonstrate why a strong form of CLT is objectively better than the 'weaker' version which attempts to incorporate other techniques in addition to a communicative approach. Here, Harmer's critique and the questions by the audience aren't easily answered by Thornbury.
    Thornbury makes a good case, academically, or in terms of sociolinguistics, but just doesn't have enough specific answers to assuage the pedagogical practicalities, given his approach is quite specific.

  13. Thank you for reminding us of the value, history, evolution, and challenge of the communicative approach.

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