Whatever Happened to CLT? Exploring Methodologies for C21 Italian Undergraduates, Who Communicate in an Increasingly Global Community


  • Sharon Hartle




This article examines the question of what an appropriate methodology for C21 Italian undergraduates might be and which model of English to teach young adults, who study EFL at the heart of Kachru’s expanding circle in Italian university language-centres. These are EFL learners who aspire to communicate mainly with other non-native speakers in an increasingly global world, for professional, social, academic and cultural purposes. They come mainly from a classical pedagogical tradition where teacher-centred lessons, memorizing and oral testing in class are key factors and where  critical thinking is not generally high priority even though the content is often a combination of language work and literature study. Despite this, however, the Italian Ministry for Education  advocates Communicative Language Teaching and the British English variety of English is the authoritative model.  This is reinforced by teacher and student belief as well as the globally commercial coursebooks that are generally selected for work in class.

How appropriate, however, is CLT in this context? What does CLT actually mean in the C21? How can changes be made which respect learner beliefs and expectations from a cultural viewpoint? In a world where English is increasingly seen as an International Language (McKay) EFL learners, like these, do not perhaps need to study the culture of “British English”. To expect them to attain native-speaker competence, furthermore, is unrealistic ( Alptekin, 2002) A clear model is, however, required as a starting point to study the lexico-grammatical and phonological systems of the language , and an appropriate model for Italy seems to be British English. This is the starting point from which individual learner voices can be developed  to enable local cultural expression in a global context.


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