The grammar of a language, together with its lexicon forms the base of any language but its knowledge is not sufficient to successfully communicate in that language; communication includes knowing how to use the grammar and vocabulary and in a culturally appropriate way. The…
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n 2002), and China following a history of more traditional teaching based on the grammar-translation method (GTM) started reforms within their middle and high schools and universities in the early 1990s by introducing CLT.
The question is whether or not the introduction of CLT into the Chinese education system by the government has been successful in terms of teachers actually using such an approach for the teaching of grammar and whether they have the knowledge and ability to do so appropriately.
Prior to the 1970s, the goals of teaching English was to impart correct, error free language; emphasis was placed more on form than on use, thus the Grammar Translation Method was very popular. As the name implies, focus was on the rules and structures of the language, used to translate from the mother tongue to the target language, and the oral/aural skills of listening and speaking were ignored in favour of reading and writing.
Except for the period of the Cultural Revolution Chinese governments have been committed to the teaching of foreign languages and although Russian was popular for a while, English has been regarded by the new communist regime as significant to modernization (Ji Fengyuan 2004). The teaching of English has always been teacher, textbook and exam focused and so the GTM has been the ruling approach to the teaching of English, with students taking a passive role in the learning process. In traditional classrooms therefore, language learning is reduced to mastery of the grammar and lexicon, and students attain more knowledge of the language in terms of perfect grammatical structures reproduced in grammatical exercises and exams, than their ability to use it in real life.
Led by British linguists such as Halliday and Firth and in reaction to GTM, CLT was advocated as the new method in language teaching, addressing the need to acquire communicative competence with natural exposure not teaching, to all four skill areas of reading, writing, listening
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