Task-based language teaching (TBLT) and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) are both communicative approaches to language learning and teaching. TBLT has grown out of CLT; however, they share and differ in some advantages and disadvantages. First of all, both of them are among “current communicative approaches”. That’s why, the classes those are instructed with CLT or TBLT are student centred and teachers are facilitator. That can be seen as the good side of these approaches.
On the contrary to the traditional classes, students are actively involved in learning process and this motivates them more. Because they are motivated, they learn more, and it turns to be an advantage. As it is a pedagogical fact, it is also true for Turkish learners. Both CLT and TBLT emphasise communication, they give the opportunity to talk more, as opposed to traditional methods, which is a big advantage for language learning. CLT emphasises that language should be as close as in real life, and TBLT shares this principle.
It means both put emphasis on authenticity. This is important because today many researches prove that language should be taught in real life situations or with authentic materials. As the language is a living thing, it cannot be parted from real life. This is how it should be not only in Turkish context but everywhere in the world. However, there are some limitations in Turkish context of learning for these two communicative approaches. First of all, Turkey is a country where English is not spoken officially.
And, almost all of our English teachers are non-native. And this is one of the main constraints for TBLT and CLT classes. Although the teacher is a facilitator, it can be too demanding for non-native teachers to teach in such communicative classes. And also, the size of classes in Turkey is not perfectly suitable for both CLT and TBLT. Both are communicative approaches, and language activities / tasks should be carried out in groups or in pairs. Nevertheless, it is almost impossible to do it in crowded classes.
A communicative activity or a task cannot be carried out in such too crowded classes. The teacher faces the problems dividing the class into groups or pairs and if she can achieve dividing, there comes the time limit. She cannot practice the activities in her lesson in those crowded classes On the other hand, it’s difficult for the teacher to walk around and monitor all the students at the time of communicative activities. Nonetheless, CLT and TBLT have some differences also.
In CLT classes, although activities are real-life situations and enable learners to interact, they can be perceived as too abstract by learners. In spite of the teachers’ efforts, classroom activities are not real life. That’s because Turkish learners of English cannot hear the language except for the classroom and they just ‘pretend’ to be real life. On the other hand, TBLT has an advantage over CLT in this case. Tasks have immediate outcome, and that can motivate the Turkish learners more.
It can also be said that CLT doesn’t meet the needs of the different types of learners, but again TBLT has an advantage over it, as tasks can be adapted for different learning styles or for different cultures. To practice CLT in Turkish context, the first phase should be developing a syllabus that’s compatible with CLT. However, in Turkey, we generally prepare a syllabus, and then, we choose our methods or our course books. Since TBLT is more instructional, those specially designed instructional tasks can be the basis of learning situations, in Turkish context TBLT has another advantage.
To sum up, I think both the two methods achieve communicative purposes and real use of language as they are important aspects in language learning & teaching. They should be combined also with other methods concerning every factor that influence teaching. Each method has its advantages as well as its limitations. A method is effective only when it is appropriate to the teaching context. The best thing to do is to develop one’s own teaching methods based on the context of where one teaches and integrates the merits of different methodologies to fulfill their own teaching objectives.