Wim Gombert

CHAPTER 2. Communicative Language Teaching 23 Skinner, 1957), repeated imitation of correct models (stimulus-response pattern drills) was seen as crucial in foreign language learning: Learning happens when a stimulus elicits behavior in the sense that it triggers a response, and reinforcement is provided to guide the learner in activating the right response: positive when the response is appropriate and negative when the response is inappropriate. Maximal use of the target language for instruction was seen as necessary to prevent the students’ L1 from interfering in this process. Where L2 performance through practice and input frequency was the primary focus of the audiolingual method, L2 competence was the primary focus in Chomsky’s linguistic theory that came to heavily in uence L2 research from the 1970s onwards. Departing from Chomskyan theorizing, the focus was very much on how such grammatical competence could be achieved (for a more nuanced take on this view, see Hulstijn et al., 2015). THE COMMUNICATIVE LANGUAGE TEACHING (CLT) APPROACH Building on earlier language teaching developments that prioritized oral pro ciency, such as the Oral Approach and Situational Language Teaching, CLT came to dominate foreign language teaching in the world in the 1970s, and communicative competence replaced grammatical competence as the central notion in foreign language teaching. CLT approaches adopted a broader view of language in which both L2 competence and L2 performance were deemed important. Communicative competence came to be viewed as the ultimate goal of language teaching (Hymes, 1972) and an accumulative result of other competences like grammatical, sociolinguistic, discourse and strategic competence (Canale & Swain, 1980). e acquisition of linguistic resources needed to serve L2 performance (Halliday, 1970) and L2 acquisition was considered to emerge on the basis of communicative acts underlying the ability to use language for di erent purposes (Widdowson, 1978). Partly coinciding and following this CLT shi was a political movement for a united Europe, with intercultural awareness of European citizens and the interaction between these citizens being considered as important tools. As a result, the Council of Europe prioritized language teaching and the further development of CLT was supported by the Council of Europe’s activities in the nal decades of the 20th century (European parliament, 2022). While the focus of a traditional syllabus at the time was generally restricted to linguistic forms like grammar and vocabulary acquisition and drills, a CLT syllabus was more skills-based and focused on communicative handling given situations or topics as well as grammar and vocabulary that came to be integrated thematically in such situations and topics (Van Ek & Alexander, 1980). And while a traditional, grammar-based methodology focused on the accurate comprehension and production of sentences and grammatical patterns, o en using teacher-fronted, lecture-type