ESL job interview question: What are the advantages and the disadvantages of the communicative language teaching method?

Recommended answer:

Communicative language teaching method provides opportunities for students to focus on practical use of the language in as meaningful a way as possible. This method can be very effectively applied in an ESL classroom of twenty five students or more.

Like all other language teaching methods, the communicative language teaching method has its advantages and disadvantages. 

The most obvious advantage in communicative language teaching is that it increases fluency in the target language. This enables the learners to be more confident when interacting with other people and they also enjoy talking more. Also, this method leads to gains in the areas of grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse, and strategic competence through communication. 

One major disadvantage of this method is that it is difficult for the teacher alone to check the language use of every student in large class sizes. The students are allowed to make errors. The students' errors are corrected, at a later stage (not whilst in the middle of a conversation). Larger classes usually need a teacher's assistant. 

An important point concerning the communicative language teaching method is that the teacher needs to prepare learning material carefully in advance, at home, and needs to make the material as motivating as possible so that the students find the tasks meaningful and interesting and are eager to communicate with each other. It is very important to select interesting topics for discussion. However, it is sometimes difficult for an inexperienced English teacher 'to open students mouths' and make them talk, especially when the students' foreign language level is low.