What is Communicative Language Teaching (CLT)?

Communicative language teaching emerged in the 1980s as a response to the growing demand for a language curriculum that would enable learners to use the second language in real-life situations. Previously, foreign language teaching has predominantly had its emphasis on grammatical competence, rather than actually focusing on developing students’ communication and interaction skills.

At the end of the day, language does principally exist to make communication possible. CLT methods primarily focus on the interaction during a classroom-based foreign language class or online language learning session, in which students actually produce speech and conversation for most of the classroom time using the target language.

Differentiated instruction and assessment, also known as differentiated learning or, in education, simply, differentiation, is a framework or philosophy for effective teaching that involves providing all students within their diverse classroom community of learners a range of different avenues for understanding new information (often in the same classroom) in terms of: acquiring content; processing, constructing, or making sense of ideas; and developing teaching materials and assessment measures so that all students within a classroom can learn effectively, regardless of differences in their ability. Differentiated instruction, according to Carol Ann Tomlinson, is the process of “ensuring that what a student learns, how he or she learns it, and how the student demonstrates what he or she has learned is a match for that student’s readiness level, interests, and preferred mode of learning.”Teachers may choose to teach individually at a time, assign problems to small groups, partners or the whole group depending on the needs of the students. By differentiating product, teachers decide how students will present what they have learned. This may take the form of videos, graphic organizers, photo presentations, writing, and oral presentations. All these take place in a safe classroom environment where students feel respected and valued—effects.

Experiential Learning is the process of learning by doing. By engaging students in hands-on experiences and reflection, they are better able to connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations.Experiential learning opportunities exist in a variety of course- and non-course-based forms and may include community service, service-learning, undergraduate research, study abroad/away, and culminating experiences such as internships, student teaching, and capstone projects, to name a few.

When students participate in experiential education opportunities, they gain:

  • A better understanding of course material
  • A broader view of the world and an appreciation of community
  • Insight into their own skills, interests, passions, and values
  • Opportunities to collaborate with diverse organizations and people
  • Positive professional practices and skill sets
  • The gratification of assisting in meeting community needs
  • Self-confidence and leadership skills

Inquiry-based learning (also spelled as enquiry-based learning in British English) is a form of active learning that starts by posing questions, problems or scenarios. It contrasts with traditional education, which generally relies on the teacher presenting facts and their own knowledge about the subject. Inquiry-based learning is often assisted by a facilitator rather than a lecturer. Inquirers will identify and research issues and questions to develop knowledge or solutions. Inquiry-based learning includes problem-based learning, and is generally used in small scale investigations and projects, as well as research.The inquiry-based instruction is principally very closely related to the development and practice of thinking and problem solving skills.

A flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning, which aims to increase student engagement and learning by having pupils complete readings at home and work on live problem-solving during class time. This pedagogical style moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. With a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home, while actively engaging concepts in the classroom, with a mentor’s guidance.

In traditional classroom instruction, the teacher is typically the leader of a lesson, the focus of attention, and the primary disseminator of information during the class period. The teacher responds to questions while students defer directly to the teacher for guidance and feedback. Many traditional instructional models rely on lecture-style presentations of individual lessons, limiting student engagement to activities in which they work independently or in small groups on application tasks, devised by the teacher. The teacher typically takes a central role in class discussions, controlling the conversation’s flow.[2] Typically, this style of teaching also involves giving students the at-home tasks of reading from textbooks or practicing concepts by working, for example, on problem sets.

The flipped classroom intentionally shifts instruction to a learner-centered model, in which students are often initially introduced to new topics outside of school, freeing up classroom time for the exploration of topics in greater depth, creating meaningful learning opportunities. With a flipped classroom, ‘content delivery’ may take a variety of forms, often featuring video lessons prepared by the teacher or third parties, although online collaborative discussions, digital research, and text readings may alternatively be used. The ideal length for a video lesson is widely cited as eight to 12 minutes.

Flipped classrooms also redefine in-class activities. In-class lessons accompanying flipped classroom may include activity learning or more traditional homework problems, among other practices, to engage students in the content. Class activities vary but may include: using math manipulatives and emerging mathematical technologies, in-depth laboratory experiments, original document analysis, debate or speech presentation, current event discussions, peer reviewing, project-based learning, and skill development or concept practice. Because these types of active learning allow for highly differentiated instruction,[9] more time can be spent in class on higher-order thinking skills such as problem-finding, collaboration, design and problem solving as students tackle difficult problems, work in groups, research, and construct knowledge with the help of their teacher and peers.

A teacher’s interaction with students in a flipped classroom can be more personalized and less didactic, and students are actively involved in knowledge acquisition and construction as they participate in and evaluate their learning.

GBL is often confused with gamification, a term that is often heard in school environments. EdTechReview defines gamification as “the application of game elements and digital game design techniques to non-game problems, such as business (growing in education technology) and social impact challenges.”

So-called “game elements” can be points, achievements, badges, and leaderboards. Basically, they are used as extrinsic motivational tools in traditional classroom activities. The line between GBL and gamification is sometimes very thin; the elements of gamification are normally present in a GBL activity, not vice versa. GBL usually includes a game-like environment and practice of the learning content through activities like theatre and role play. In GBL, the learning process comes as a result of playing the game.

Gamification, instead, is about inserting some elements of a game into traditional activities. Although Quizzes can be considered an example of gamification, tools like web apps for creating quizzes, such as Kahootor Quizizz, are not considered GBL. They are just quizzes, a stack of questions, a story, or an environment without characters or rules.

Student-centered learning, also known as learner-centered education, broadly encompasses methods of teaching that shift the focus of instruction from the teacher to the student. In original usage, student-centered learning aims to develop learner autonomy and independence by putting responsibility for the learning path in the hands of students by imparting to them skills, and the basis on how to learn a specific subject and schemata required to measure up to the specific performance requirement. Student-centered instruction focuses on skills and practices that enable lifelong learning and independent problem-solving. Student-centered learning theory and practice are based on the constructivist learning theory that emphasizes the learner’s critical role in constructing meaning from new information and prior experience.

Student-centered learning puts students’ interests first, acknowledging student voice as central to the learning experience. In a student-centered learning space, students choose what they will learn, how they will pace their learning, and how they will assess their own learning by playing the role of the facilitator of the classroom. This is in contrast to traditional education, also dubbed “teacher-centered learning”, which situates the teacher as the primarily “active” role while students take a more “passive”, receptive role. In a teacher-centered classroom, teachers choose what the students will learn, how the students will learn, and how the students will be assessed on their learning. In contrast, student-centered learning requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning and with their own pace of learning.

Usage of the term “student-centered learning” may also simply refer to educational mindsets or instructional methods that recognize individual differences in learners. In this sense, student-centered learning emphasizes each student’s interests, abilities, and learning styles, placing the teacher as a facilitator of learning for individuals rather than for the class as a whole.

Cooperative learning is an educational approach which aims to organize classroom activities into academic and social learning experiences.There is much more to cooperative learning than merely arranging students into groups, and it has been described as “structuring positive interdependence. Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward academic goals. Unlike individual learning, which can be competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively can capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.).  Furthermore, the teacher’s role changes from giving information to facilitating students’ learning. Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds. Ross and Smyth (1995) describe successful cooperative learning tasks as intellectually demanding, creative, open-ended, and involve higher-order thinking tasks. Cooperative learning has also been linked to increased levels of student satisfaction.

Five essential elements are identified for the successful incorporation of cooperative learning in the classroom:

1)positive interdependence

2)individual and group accountability

3)promotive interaction (face to face)

4)teaching the students the required interpersonal and small group skills

5)group processing.

According to Johnson and Johnson’s meta-analysis, students in cooperative learning settings compared to those in individualistic or competitive learning settings, achieve more, reason better, gain higher self-esteem, like classmates and the learning tasks more and have more perceived social support.

Project-based learning (PBL) is a student-centeredpedagogy that involves a dynamic classroom approach in which it is believed that students acquire a deeper knowledge through active exploration of real-world challenges and problems. Students learn about a subject by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, challenge, or problem.It is a style of active learning and inquiry-based learning. PBL contrasts with paper-based, rote memorization, or teacher-led instruction that presents established facts or portrays a smooth path to knowledge by instead posing questions, problems or scenarios.

The core idea of project-based learning is that real-world problems capture students’ interest and provoke serious thinking as the students acquire and apply new knowledge in a problem-solving context. The teacher plays the role of facilitator, working with students to frame worthwhile questions, structuring meaningful tasks, coaching both knowledge development and social skills, and carefully assessing what students have learned from the experience. Typical projects present a problem to solve (What is the best way to reduce the pollution in the schoolyard pond?) or a phenomenon to investigate (What causes rain?). PBL replaces other traditional models of instruction such as lecture, textbook-workbook driven activities and inquiry as the preferred delivery method for key topics in the curriculum. It is an instructional framework that allows teachers to facilitate and assess deeper understanding rather than stand and deliver factual information. PBL intentionally develops students’ problem solving and creative making of products to communicate deeper understanding of key concepts and mastery of 21st Century essential learning skills such as critical thinking. Students become active digital researchers and assessors of their own learning when teachers guide student learning so that students learn from the project making processes.


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