Journal article Open Access

Authentic Materials for Development of Communicative Competence

Arnab Ray

Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) came into vogue in English language teaching in the late 1960s
and by the 1970s revolutionised language teaching. It contested the previous approaches to language
teaching aroused by a deep dissatisfaction with earlier approaches. Language teachers and learners were
frustrated by the fact that the latter could master the intricacies of grammar and yet were unable to
communicate in English. Learning grammar rules and structures allowed mastery on the language but
served no communicative purpose. Thus the focus in ELT shifted from viewing language as a system to
seeing language as a social phenomenon, from learning grammar to acquiring the ability to use English in
social discourses.
Since the goal of teaching English shifted to developing competence in communication, language had to
be authentic. Authentic materials help learners learn the language by using the language. Here learning
and using a language happen simultaneously unlike the traditional textbook-based method where learning
preceded using the language. Authentic texts help the learners master texts from diverse contexts
extending to a vast range of discourses. Authentic texts used in CLT, it is believed, helps in developing
communicative competence. This paper explores the use of authentic material in the CLT approach to
develop communicative competence.

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