This article explains the main points of Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) techniques and appropriate teaching material in a CLT classroom.

What is the Trinity CertPT CLT Accredited Communicative Language Teaching course?

The Trinity CertPT CLT:

  1. gives you the skills for selecting, creating and using relevant and relatable teaching material in a CLT classroom
  2. is an accredited Ofqual level 6 diploma level course
  3. is a continuing professional development (CPD) course

How to increase your value as a modern teacher

Want to earn more and grow as a modern educator? Take the Trinity College CertPT CLT accredited Communicative Language Teaching course and make yourself even more marketable.

Click here to learn more about the Ofqual level 6 accredited Trinity CertPT CLT course, including a one-year Spanish student visa option for Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, and San Sebastian.

Read on to find out more about Communicative Language Teaching techniques.

Is Communicative Language Teaching important?

Why do language school owners, DOS (Directors of Studies), HR Managers, hiring departments ask about Communicative Language Teaching?

On a recent ZOOM job interview, an EBC Trinity course graduate had a 20-minute talk with the interviewer solely about Communicative Language Teaching. Is this something you learn? Is this something that increases your marketability when looking for TEFL jobs? Is it taught and implemented on Trinity College London teacher training courses?

What is Communicative Language Teaching, aka CLT?

CLT is an educational approach to teaching foreign languages that emphasises interaction as both the means and goal of language learning.

With CLT, ELLs (English Language Learners) learn to communicate with accurate and relevant meaning.

CLT appeared in the 1970s due to a shift in language learning views. British linguists, dissatisfied with the audio-lingual and grammar-translation method of second language education, proposed a new approach based on the need for communicative proficiency within a social context rather than mere mastery of particular vocabulary and grammatical structures.

They created a communicative classroom using learning models that mimic or simulate real-life situations.

How to create a communicative classroom?

The Communicative Approach is the most popular and most used in most modern, reputable, and international educational institutions.

You need to use exercises that encourage (surprise, surprise) communication. The communication exercises should be as realistic as possible. The material must be engaging, accessible and relevant to your learners.

Relevant and relatable teaching material is critical to the success of a CLT classroom, so learn how to create and use the best CLT material.


Role-play is a communicative activity that allows students to play a specific role, putting themselves into somebody else’s shoes. Students interact with their peers and students in a supported environment, thus developing experience and trying different strategies.

You should assign roles depending on your ELLs’ topic, level, and objectives. An example would be a written strategy like an email and a spoken strategy like a Zoom meeting. All topics and roles are personally relevant to the students. For example, suppose your ELLs are C1 level secretaries dealing with international clients. In that case, the role should be directly relevant to this function. You may need to give your students some instructions on what to say or how to act. Your ELLs will see their peers acting out the scenario in the personally relevant role chosen for them. Afterwards, you can reflect and discuss the outcome of the exercise altogether.

Filling in missing information

Gap filling is a practical communicative activity that allows your students to practice oral and written expression and comprehension. An example is learning about different nationalities. There will be two sheets per pair of students. The two sheets will have a map of the countries you wish to teach, and the ELLs will have to fill out the missing information. Then, each student will have to ask questions, and their partners will fill in the missing data. Afterwards, in pairs, they can discuss the outcome of the exercise.

Telling a story

Group your ELLs in a circle. You will have a small ball in your hand and start by telling the story’s first sentence and passing the ball onto a student. After that, your ELLs continue creating the story (using verbs in the past tense) and passing the ball to the next student. You can adapt and modify the activity, change the verb tense as you like, your students will enjoy it a lot!

Describing a picture

This is an excellent activity for practising oral expression and comprehension. Your ELLs practice how to tell stories in the chosen tense. For example, they can tell a story in the past. Then, in pairs, one partner describes a picture to the other. The listening partner draws an image according to the description and explanation. Afterwards, they both compare what they have, and I can guarantee you that there will be lots of fun in this activity.

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