Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in Bangladesh: Effectiveness and Enhancements
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education (MEd)
This investigation reports on a study that explores the views of students, teachers and parents about the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach in learning English as a second language in Bangladesh. This study focuses on the improvement of English language outcomes in Bangladesh. Though compulsory for fifteen years of schooling, public examination results indicate that students perform poorly in English. This research is conducted at the secondary schools in Bangladesh where English is compulsory because of its global nature as the second or foreign language. Mainstream students learning English using the Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) approach are facing many challenges. The study employs a mixed methods approach which includes qualitative interviews, semi-structured focus group interviews and observations; and quantitative data involved achievement tests to find gaps between oral and written attainment, in order to determine the effectiveness of CLT developing language skills to communicate in and outside the classrooms. ESL learners in Bangladesh have been using CLT for nearly two decades, but the attainments are not satisfactory particularly in oral language (listening and speaking) compared to written language (reading and writing). Four schools (two high and two low achievement) were selected from two divisional cities according to the public examination results. Five students, all English subject teachers and five parents from each school were invited randomly to participate.Findings indicated a confirmation of the gap between oral and written language achievements and highlighted that CLT is not working effectively to develop communicative competence to the learners. The participants identified several factors causing this. Among these were large class sizes (number of students), an extensive curriculum, insufficient class time (duration), an inappropriate examination system, excessive teacher workload, lack of parent awareness of CLT, and negative relationships between home and school. All of these factors impact on the effectiveness of CLT in Bangladesh. All participants agreed that CLT as an approach is better than other approaches used in Bangladesh to develop English language learning, but the varied interpretation and implementation (practice) makes it less effective. Therefore, they suggested some issues for local and national level policy makers that could enhance the CLT practice in Bangladesh.