Event Date: 25th June 2022


The term ‘Communicative Language Teaching’ (CLT) has been with us now for some 50 years and served world-wide as a focus for discussion, exploration and policy-making. Beneath the superficial term, however, we may ask to what extent the concept itself has remained unchanged?

In developmental terms, our understanding of CLT can be compared to the three stages of culture shock. In the first stage, we enjoyed a period of euphoria in which the language-teaching world seemed to be magically transformed and all problems seemed to be solved.

This was followed by a period of questioning and doubt, driven by efforts to export the original CLT principles and practices into an ever-widening range of new contexts. The emerging challenges led to a partial rejection of CLT as an intact and unquestioned package of principles and practices.

In its third period of development, which is still with us, CLT has merged with the concept of ‘Postmethod Language Pedagogy’. In this period, the core principles of CLT remain intact, namely: we teach (a) towards appropriate forms of communication and (b) in ways that stimulate as much learner-engagement as possible. However, teachers are charged with implementing these principles in ways that are ‘context-sensitive’ in ways that suit specific situations and learners.

This talk explores in more detail the nature of the principles and how they may be implemented.

About the Speaker:

William (‘Bill’) Littlewood is a Professor (Emeritus) at the Language Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University, teaching on MA courses in language studies.

He has worked in secondary schools and teacher education in the UK where he was also a member of several professional committees for modern language teaching and was elected President of the British Association for Language Teaching. He was also involved in Council of Europe projects.

His publications include Communicative Language Teaching and Foreign and Second Language Learning (both with Cambridge University Press), which have been used widely in teacher education and translated into several languages.

You can download his recent publication for FREE here.