CLT is considered an approach, rather than a teaching method, and can seem non-specific at times in terms of how to actually go about using practices in the classroom in any sort of systematic way. The real problem when attempting to define CLT is that there are many interpretations of what CLT actually means and involves. It means different things to different people. Or perhaps it is like an extended family of different approaches, and.. as in the case with most families, not all members live harmoniously together all of the time.
There are squabbles and disagreements, if not outright wars, from time to time. However, no one is willing to assert that they do not belong to the family (Nunan 2004). One of the things that CLT embraces within its family is the concept of how language is used. Instead of concentrating solely on grammar, CLT focuses strongly on communicative competence. Learners are encouraged to apply various language forms in various contexts and situations such as making hotel reservation, purchasing airline tickets, ordering at a restaurant, booking tickets to a show, asking for directions etc.
It is this constant exposure to language in realistic situations, which is thought to aid language acquisition. Learners are given a clear reason for communicating in the form of role-plays and simulations. Accuracy of the language is seen to be of less importance than fluency and communicating successfully. Brown (2007) offers the following seven interconnected characteristics as a description of¦