Communicative Language Learning

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I was quite interested in reading Chapter 8 of Richard’s and Roger’s book on CLL because the language used in the chapter is much easier to understand than in other chapters in the book. Community Language Learning principles are from the “Counseling Learning Approach” developed by Charles A Curran, and I see it was created especially for adult learners who might fear to appear foolish; so the teacher becomes a language counselor who understands and leads students to overcome their fear.

Dealing with the types of learning and activities in CLL, they are combination of conventional and innovative tasks: translation, group work, recording, transcription, analysis, reflection and observation, listening, and free conversation. As I see it, those activities are good to improve student’s oral proficiency, because as members of a community, students must be more active and attentive as the teacher is more focused as counselor. I think the techniques used in CLL can build relationship between students because they feel in control and interact among them without any fear. Especially noteworthy is the non-threatening atmosphere and the non-defensive learning, which can enhance security, involvement, attention, and cooperation.

If I am to use CLL, I think I will use it for diploma I students of STAN (State College of Accountancy) Jakarta from Eastern Indonesia classes, and I put it in the introductory speaking class. I just can adopt the lesson plan of CLL to my class. This will be different for my diploma IV classes, because all students have intermediate-advanced level mastery of English. I think I will put it on class presentation activities and I don’t allow students to use native language (Bahasa Indonesia) in this level (English for diploma IV focus on the ability to write academic paper and make presentation). Indeed, it is a tough task for me to teach at STAN, since my classes are ESP, which means I must not only rely on my proficiency but also have to improve my knowledge on Accounting to explain the technical terms. I am not quite sure that I can be such that counselor, who must be non-directive (teaching traditionally or correcting mistakes), but I can be a sympathetic teacher to cope with any responses by my adult learners.

Another thing is on the analysis and reflection techniques. The objective of English classes in my campus is more on the student’s fluency, so actually minor grammatical mistake is alright for me. I explain grammar only if my students make fatal or major mistakes in grammar. What I can do according to CLL is then I must repeat the correct sentence over and over again until students learn from the mistake.

In other words, I can say that CLL will work with my elementary classes; but to deal with more advanced students, I cannot use a hundred percent CLL technique. This method is constrained by the system under which it operates, and I don’t guarantee that using it will help my students in the examination (UTS and UAS). But, to conclude, I think CLL also has contribution to make lessons communicative and interactive.

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