posted by Jürgen Kurtz, Karlsruhe University of Education, Germany
Three months ago I pointed out on this blog that communicative language teaching (CLT) is a ‘fuzzy’ concept which has been interpreted and translated into secondary school EFL syllabuses, textbooks, and everyday classroom practice in a variety of ways around the world since its inception in the 1970s (see: “A Cognitive Science View on Communicative Language Teaching”). In theory, advanced university students of English as a foreign language understand this in principle, as the following key-word summary which a class of mine came up with collectively illustrates (click on image to enlarge).
Unfortunately, this does not automatically mean that students of English as a foreign language can indeed implement CLT in actual classroom practice successfully (and many, but not all are well-aware of this). More classroom research is needed on how to enable students and novice teachers to translate the principles of CLT into practice in primary and secondary schools (including task-based and content-based instruction as well as CLIL; becoming aware of its potentials and problems).
In Germany, however, arguing for a better mix of theory and practice, of knowing and doing in initial teacher education is problematic, because of the relatively low status of Fachdidaktik (i.e. domain-specific pedagogy and methodology) in general, and Fremdsprachendidaktik (i.e. research-based foreign language pedagogy and methodology) in particular, which is still seen by many decision-makers as a mere additum to, and not as a core element of initial teacher education in the twenty-first century.