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The University of Southampton

LING6021 Principles of Communicative Language Teaching

Module Overview

The module is intended to provide a theoretical framework for CLT together with examples and practice in how these principles may be applied to language teaching in the classroom.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Provide you with a theoretical framework for exploring teaching and research in ELT through a critical examination of the influence of developments in Communicative Language Teaching (CLT), Second Language Learning, and Classroom Research on teaching practice. • Help you to identify approaches in communicative course design and materials planning for CLT and the ideas about language and learning they are based on • Equip you to carry out communicative course design processes for ELT within your institutional contexts • Enable you to examine and reflect on your learning and teaching experiences and current beliefs and relate this to familiar and unfamiliar professional contexts.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • Principles and practices of communicative approaches to language teaching
  • Theories of learning related communicative approaches
  • Processes of communicative curriculum development
  • The relationships between course and materials design principles and practice in a variety of institutional contexts
  • Current critical debates concerning post-communicative approaches
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Communicate through synchronous and asynchronous computer mediated communication
  • Communicate in a variety of written formats
  • Use ICT skills appropriately in e-communication
  • Use ICT skills appropriately in the presentation and discussion of work, and teaching/learning issues
  • Demonstrate online interpersonal and collaborative skills in the presentation of work, tutorials and workshop discussions
  • Use ICT skills appropriately in the planning and development of group projects, and peer support
  • Identify, select and use critically in professional communication a range of reference resources, printed and electronic
  • Monitor and evaluate professional activity including self-evaluation
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Design communicative language learning programmes and materials for ELT
  • Plan modules of ELT work for a range of different contexts and time frames
  • Assess and select materials and resources for different ELT contexts
  • Reflect on and evaluate the effectiveness of communicative approaches in a specified context
  • Link appropriate teacher and learner roles to classroom practice
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically assess developments in CLT and evaluate their impact on pedagogic principles and practices in general and in your own teaching context
  • Explain the relationship between language teaching and learning in ELT
  • Describe, justify and evaluate the processes and outcomes of communicative course design in ELT
  • Evaluate ELT materials in terms of pedagogic principles and underlying theoretical rationale
  • Reflectively assess your own experience in language teaching and learning and explain changes in beliefs and practices


a. Module Overview The module is intended to provide a theoretical framework for CLT together with examples and practice in how these principles may be applied to language teaching in the classroom. b. Module Syllabus We first examine the broader context of approaches to language teaching, tracing the origins and development of the communicative approach. We shall then focus on the learner, the classroom environment and practical applications of a communicative approach to language teaching including material development, skills development and testing.

Special Features

In a traditional module, contact time would typically be with materials, tutor, and fellow participants, all in a classroom setting. Online learning is self-instructional learning and there are no classes as such. A large degree of responsibility for and control over your learning rests with you. However, it is important to help you to structure your study time and we do this through two important online forms of contact or interaction. Tasks and feedback which help you to preview, focus, check on or explore issues related to your independent study reading are one form of possible contact time, taking up 3 hours a week. There will also be a 2 hour weekly asynchronous forum of discussion, presentation and interaction tasks, moderated by tutors and providing important opportunities for interaction with tutors and peers. This is also supplemented by a weekly ‘chat session’ synchronous tutorial with a module tutor for 1 hour a week.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Online tutor led discussion forums • Interactive tasks in topic learning objects • Presentations and lectures via podcasts/audio/video files • Synchronous chat/small group discussions Learning activities include: • Reading key texts • Accessing online resources • Participating in online forums • Private study, research and reflection • Action research and reporting/presentation in forums

Independent Study75
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Littlewood, W. (2007). Communicative and Task-based Language Teaching in East Asian classrooms. Language Teaching. ,40 , pp. 243-249.

Tomlinson, B. (2005). Testing to learn: a personal view of language testing. ELT Journal. ,59 , pp. 39-46.

Vandergrift, L (2007). Recent developments in second and foreign language listening comprehension research. Language Teaching. ,40 , pp. 191-210.

Thornbury, S. (2008). How to Teach Listening. 

Hinkel, E. (2006). Current perspectives on teaching the four skills. TESOL Quarterly. ,40 , pp. 109-131.

Waters, A. (2009). A guide to Methodolgia: past, present and future. ELT Journal. ,63 , pp. 108-115.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (2006). TESOL Methods: Changing Tracks, Challenging Trends. TESOL Quarterly. ,40 , pp. 59-81.

Stapleton, P. & Radia, P. (2010). Tech-era L2 Writing: Towards a New Kind of Process. ELT Journal. ,64 , pp. 175-183.

Truscott, J. (2007). The effect of error correction on learners’ ability to write accurately. Journal of Second Language Writing. ,16 , pp. 255-272.



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 50%
Practical assignment  (2500 words) 50%


MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:

Books and Stationery equipment

Richards, J.C. & Rogers, T.S. (2001) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. (approximate cost: £5.00)

Lightbown, P. & Spada, N. (2006) How Languages are Learned. Oxford, Oxford University Press. (approximate cost: £10.00-20.00)

Harmer, J. (2001) The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow, Longman ELT. (approximate cost: £10.00)

Seidlhofer, B. (2011) Understanding English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford, Oxford University Press. (approximate cost: £35.50)

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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