Community Language Learning

A Foreign Language Approach

community language learning

The Approach

Community Language Learning was created in 1976 by Jesuit priest and psychologist Charles A. Curran. This approach was introduced along with suggestopedia, TPRS, and the silent way in an attempt to create a more humanistic approach to language learning. CLL encourages teachers to view their students as "whole persons", including their intellect, relationships, feelings, desires, etc. It aims to be a holistic method since learning is both cognitive and effective. In this approach the student determines what is to be learned, making the role of the teacher the facilitator. This approach "outlines the ideology of learning as an interrelated process of an entire person" (P.Nagaraj). CLL aims to "remove anxiety from learning by changing the relationship between the teacher and student" (P.Nagaraj). The environment created through CLL allows the students to share their life experiences helping to establish community.

Classroom Use

Community Language Learning is conducted in classes of 6-12 students. These students sit in a circle around a tape recorder while the teacher stands outside the circle. If the students wish to say something they raise their hand and speak in their native tongue. The teacher translates the utterance to the student then the student repeats the utterance in the second language recording it and evaluating it later.

The CLL approach can be broken up into 5 stages providing a scaffold for students as they progress.


1.Birth: The learners know nothing of the target language, and are completely

dependent on the teacher for everything they want to say.


2.Self: The learners start to get an idea of how the language works and to use it for

themselves, but still seek the teacher’s help.


3.Separate Existence: They start to use the language without referring to the teacher.


4.Adolescence: The learners continue to express themselves independently, but being

aware of gaps in their knowledge, and start to turn back to the teacher.


5.Independence: The learners continue their learning independently. They no longer

need the teacher, and may start to act as counselors for less

advanced students. (P.Nagaraj)



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