Communicative Language Teaching versus Grammar-Based Language Teaching

My experience when I worked in Higher Learning International as an English Tutor in SMA N 4 Yogyakarta really affects my view of English teaching and learning.

Somehow i don’t agree with grammar-based teaching and learning- except for structure classes or training for any English tests. In general English classes, the final goal should focus on the improvement of students’ communicative competence. Since language is not only a set of rules but it is a means of communication.

However, in the previous year, the teaching and learning process in school is mostly focused on the grammar. The students have to ‘comprehend’ the language from its structures. That is why some students think that studying English is to study about Simple Present Tense, Passive Voice, etc. Hence, Language teaching and learning is not only to learn to ‘comprehend’ the language but to learn to listen, speak, read, and write in the language.

The students should not be given structure at the very beginning of the first instruction. In my opinion, structure should be given in the last pace of the language teaching and learning process. The first activity should be the activities that initiate the students to interact, to practice, or to get exposure of the language being learned.

Then, after that teachers or instructors can continue to move on the surface structure of the language. So if there is a language teacher or instructor says in the very first meeting ‘today, we’ll study about simple present tense’, it doesn’t seem right for me.

However,  the curriculum and also language evaluation emphasize the assessment of students’  language competence on how well the students ‘comprehend’ the language. Then, i come to the conclusion that teachers or instructors should combine smartly the communicative goal and structural cues of the language in the class. We should teach the learners to become a fluent and accurate language learner.




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