Learning French for communication


Wherever French is a foreign language, the issue of competence in the language and the teaching methods is crucial. As a teacher needs a teaching method, the choice of the method should tally with the needs of the learner. The Communicative Language Teaching, the official method in Nigerian secondary schools, will suit people who want to use French for communication in real life situations.

The CLT is not a well-defined teaching method, it is rather a broad approach to teaching, characterized with classroom practices which take into consideration the communicative dimension of language, i.e. making the learner to communicate in French.
It focuses on the ability to communicate the meaning of a message rather than concentrate on grammatical perfection or phonetics.
It is learner centered. Authentic materials are brought into the learning situation in a bid to harmonize classroom language learning with language activities in real life situations.
All teaching practices should aim at developing the communicative competence in an authentic context. The 4 communicative competences to develop are Oral Comprehension, Written Comprehension, Oral Production and written Production. All other competences (grammatical, textual or pragmatic) are used through the communicative competences to realize speech acts (actes de parole).
The CLT classroom is characterised by pair and group works, activities that encourage learners to develop confidence; role-plays to develop language functions.
It is important for the teacher to understand the student, which implies that the teacher would modify its syllabus to satisfy the needs of the students. It places a heavy demand on learners too. CLT is not the best method of teaching, but its vitality will surely pay both the learner and the teacher.

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