Ans. Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) is a second language acquisition approach. It appeared when Situational Language Teaching and Audiolingualism were no longer appropriate methodologies for foreign language teaching. It is an approach which aims to make communicative or situational competency and develops procedures for the teaching of the four language skills that acknowledges the independence of both language and communication.
In Bangladesh, since 1971 after its independence English has become a compulsory subject at every level of schooling from primary to higher level. Grammar-Translation(GT) Method was implemented to teach English as a subject. GT method is a teacher- centered and students remain passive listeners. The challenges in implementing CLT in Bangladesh are pointed below:
Large Class: CLT approach is required very organized classroom. In Bangladesh, there are generally large classes in every educational institute. To implement CLT class, large number of students inside a single classroom is a barrier. Small group to communicate and negotiate about meaning are necessary in CLT program. Besides the sitting arrangements are not appropriate for conducting pair work or group work. Teachers cannot make pairs and groups these make the classroom noisy and hamper the environment of the class. The high number of students in a class is a challenge in implementing CLT to teach English.
The Syllabus: Another great challenge to implement CLT in Bangladesh is the syllabus and curriculum. The National Curriculum Textbook Board of Bangladesh(NCTB) took step to introduce CLT with the context of Bangladesh. The English books provide pictures, dialogues, diagrams, tasks, activities for the language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. The class should be interactive to achieve such abilities on language. But the public examination is based only on writing and reading skills. For this mismatch between the syllabus and curriculum implementing CLT in Bangladesh is a challenge. Though teachers try to practice the four skills in the classroom but students are de-motivated as examination does not include listening and speaking.
Lack of training: In Bangladesh, there is a lack of providing training to the teachers on CLT. The British Council in Bangladesh offers a 40 hour intensive training on CLT, but it costs a lot of money. Though the private colleges of capital can afford the cost, the teachers in general of Bangladesh have little opportunity to join national or international seminar, conference on CLT. No initiative has been taken so far to introduce communicative techniques to the teachers. The lack of orientation, pre-service and in-service training is also a barrier in implementing CLT class. A pre-service is not mandatory in Bangladesh to join in an educational institution as English teacher. English teachers should take pre-service training before joining as teachers.
Different culture: The socio-cultural context is different from the country where CLT was developed. In Bangladesh the teacher is center figure of the classroom and students are passive listeners. This prevents the class to be interactive and communication between teacher and students never occurs. The formal relationship between teacher and students is a cause of failing to implementing CLT in Bangladesh. Without the communication, CLT cannot be happened in the classroom. Bangladeshi students lack team spirit. CLT requires students’ participation in classroom activities. Parents forbid the students to argue or to ask questions to teacher. So, for this culture students do not talk to the teacher inside the classroom if it is not urgent.
Lack of technological support: For running a CLT class, multimedia, LED monitors, computers, pictures, CD/DVS are needed primarily. But most of the educational institutions do not have these facilities; in fact some of the institutes still go with the traditional blackboard and chalk.
These are the problems in implementing Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in Bangladesh.