10 Reasons for using “Communicative Language Teaching”

Home/Blog/ancient language acquisition/10 Reasons for using “Communicative Language Teaching”

10 Reasons for using “Communicative Language Teaching”

Over the last couple days, the BLC was asked to write up a proposal as to why future Bible translators should learn biblical languages using Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methodologies, rather than the traditional Grammar-Translation (GT) approach.  Below is the list of 10 reasons as to why we believe CLT is so much better than GT.

  1. Increased efficiency: it is estimated that students learning new languages in courses that apply CLT as the BLC does with its “Living Biblical Languages” are able to double their rate of learning.
  2. CLT accomodates all learning styles, and does not restrict the effective learning of a language to the analytical learner only as is typically the case with GT.  It allows for all students to climb to their maximum levels in the language, so that all students end up performing better than they would with GT.
  3. CLT is a much more natural way for multi-linguals to learn new languages.  We recall an incident in Africa where a Hebrew instructor from the United States, near the end of his term teaching first year biblical Hebrew in Kenya, was asked by one of his students when they would begin to learn Hebrew!  These multi-linguals recognized the difference between learning about a language and learning the language.
  4. By using CLT, the discourse functions of the various structures of biblical Hebrew will be internalized and discussed already in this “introductory” course, rather than waiting until intermediate/advanced levels, so that students can start to ask about why one structure is chosen over another.
  5. Many of the central and common verbs, which tend to be irregular, will be deeply learned right from the beginning.  This is in contrast to delaying them as GT typically does when it teaches regular verb paradigms first, resulting in poor control of these basic verb forms.
  6. Learning this way allows students to correctly perceive words for what they are in live contexts and helps them avoid false etymological assumptions.
  7. CLT stimulates the students into asking natural questions about language usage: asking practical questions about “how did one say that?” rather than artificially forcing the language into a system of extrapolated or assumed grammar rules that result in “un-natural” creation or readings of the language.
  8. A key component of CLT is that it facilitates internalization of the language, rather than just studying about a language and only analyzing it.
  9. CLT is proven to result in much longer retention of the language.
  10. And finally, learning a language using CLT allows students to continue growing their language skills well after the course is over, and to do so much more efficiently than when taught with GT.

Can anyone think of other reasons?

By | 2011-03-10T22:55:24+00:00 March 9th, 2011|ancient language acquisition, Blog|3 Comments

About the Author:

3 Comments

  1. Nathan March 10, 2011 at 6:10 am

    CLT is fun! Language learning doesn’t have to be drudgery.

  2. Tania Notarius June 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Randall hi! just a couple of questions for an oral presentation I have to prepare for the Hebrew Instructors Workshop: 1. how many academic hours does the method demand to cover all the verbal morphology and make students read, translate, and parse biblical narrative; 2. can I use any of your demo movies or slides in my presentation? Tania Notarius

  3. randall June 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    shalom Tania,

    Thank you for the questions.

    1. Six (6) ‘academic credit hours’ (1 academic credit hour = 15 ‘class hours’) allow a student to recognize and label the various verbal forms and to read biblical narrative. The binyanim and ‘irregular modifications’ are all covered. These students start from a zero level and without concurrently studying any modern Hebrew. The program is biblical, though we certainly encourage students to go on and learn to speak modern Hebrew. The modern dialect helps the ancient by providing a broader perspective and enhanced fluency with the forms.

    2. Please use the the demo materials. You should be able to download them from this site. Videos and pictures can often communicate more accurately than word descriptions. We ask, of course, that clear reference and acknowledgement be included in any presentation.

    אגב, an aside, the phrase “translate and parse … narrative” sounds a little strange when talking about human language learning and pedagogical goals.
    For example, how would a student of German literature respond to a question, “when did you learn how to parse the verbs?” They might wonder why they were being asked. Intermediate students need to work to levels far past that. And if a student offered, “I can parse the verbs,” one may wonder how much German they can actually read. Or, if one had a goal of learning French and reading Victor Hugo, would students or teachers discuss ‘when can the students “parse the verbs” in Victor Hugo?’ It might ‘set the bar too low’ if students viewed ‘parsing’ as a goal. ‘Parsing’ is artificial, it is not a part of normal language use, though it is certainly an included skill for any reader/user. If they learn the language, they can ‘parse’; if they ‘learn to parse’, they may never learn the language.

    Our Hebrew students know that וישלך ויך ‘and he threw and he hit’ are the ‘next events in the story/text’ and function differently than והאיש השליך והוא הכה. They also know that ויך and הכה are the same word, and that וישלך and השליך are the same word. And when asked, they need to know that הכה and יך are hiph`il forms from a root נ-כ-ה. However, we do not ask them to say that הכה means ‘יhe caused to be invalid/infirm’, or that השליך means ’he caused to be ‘???’. That would be an etymological fallacy that too many biblical Hebrew students seem to absorb from common ‘grammar-translation’ methods. Children know השליך as a word on its own.

    Hope this helps.

Leave A Comment