Community Language Learning (CLL) – Methodology of FLT

May 18th, 20117:20 am


Community Language Learning (CLL) – Methodology of FLT

Community Language Learning (CLL) – Methodology of FLT

The age of audio-lingualism with its emphasis of surface forms and the rote practice (A-Z and vice versa) of scientifically produced patterns began to wane (die out), when the Chomskyan revolution in linguistics turned linguists and language teachers toward the “deep structures” and when psychologists began to recognize the fundamentally affective and interpersonal nature of learning.

By the decade of 1970’s was increasingly recognized new innovative method which took on a distinctly affective nature. CLL was a classical example of an affectively based method.

Charles Curran is the author of CLL and he extended his method of language-learning contexts. Particular adaptations of CLL are numerous and the basic methodology is explicit.

The group of learners which are called clients having first established in their native language an interpersonal relationship and trust are seated in a circle with a teacher on the outside of the circle.

The clients may be complete beginners in the FL. When one of the clients wishes to say something to the group or to an individual he/she says it in a native language and the counselor translates it to the FL. The learner then repeats the English sentence as accurately as possible. Another client responds in English: the utterance is translated by the counselor; the client repeats it and the conversation continues. If it is possible the conversation is taped for later listening. In the end of each session the learner is inductively attempt together to gleam the information about the new language. If desirable, the counselor may take the more directive role and provide explanation of certain linguistic rules or items. The first stage of intent struggle and confusion may continue for may sessions but always with the support of the counselor and the fellow clients.

Gradually the learner becomes able to speak the word of phrase in FL and without translation. This is the first sign of learner’s moving away from the complete dependence of the counselor.

As the learners gain more and more familiarity with the language, more and more direct communication can take place with the counselor providing less and less direct translation and information until the learner achieves fluency in the spoken language. The learner becomes independent, completely or relatively.

CLL reflects the principle of Carl Rodger’s view of education but also basic principles of the dynamics of counseling in which the counselor through careful attention to his clients’ needs aids the client in moving from dependence and helplessness to independence and self-assurance. There are advantages and disadvantages to a method like CLL. The affective advantages are evident. CLL is an attempt to put Carl Rodger’s philosophy into action and to overcome some of threatening affective factors in second language learning. The threat of all-knowing teachers, of making mistakes in front of the classmates are completing against peers – all threads that can lead to a feeling of alienation and inadequacy are presumably removed.

The counselor allows the learner to determine the type of conversation and to analyze the FL inductively. In situations in which explanations and translations seems to be impossible it is often the client-learner, who steps in and becomes a counselor to aid the motivation and capitalize an intrinsic motivation. But there are some practical and theoretical problems with CLL. The counselor-teacher can become too non-directive. The student often needs direction, especially on the first stage in which there is a such apparently endless struggle within the FL. Supportive by a certain direction from the counselor could strengthen the method.

Another problem in CLL is its reliance upon the inductive (only examples, no rules) strategy of learning. Deductive learning is viable and efficient strategy of learning and adults particularly can benefit from dedication as well as induction. While some intent struggle is a necessary component of second language learning, the initial grueling days and weeks are floundering in ignorance in CLL could be elevated/ alleviated by more directed deductive learning by “being told”. Perhaps only in the second or third stage really successful learner has moved to more independence, where the inductive strategy is successful.

Finally the success of CLL depends largely on the translation expertise of the counselor. Translation is a complicated process that is often easier said then done. If subtle aspects of language are mistranslated there could be a less that effective understanding of the target language.

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