Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate in TEFL, Allameh Tabataba’i, University

2 Associate Professor, Allameh Tabataba’i University


Although Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) has been widely advocated by a considerable number of applied linguists and English language teachers, its implementation in English as a Foreign Language (EFL) contexts has encountered a number of difficulties.  Reviewing the literature suggests that one of the reasons for unsuccessful implementation of CLT may be neglect of learners' beliefs in the process of learning. Using a Likert-type scale, the current study was undertaken to explore 242 Iranian EFL learners' beliefs towards six core tenets of the CLT approach: namely, the importance of grammar; the use of group work and pair work; the role and contribution of the learners; the role of the teachers in the classroom; the quality and quantity of error correction and assessment; and the role of the learners' native language in EFL classes. Analysis of the data revealed that although in some cases learners had viewpoints that opposed CLT principles, a considerable percentage of the respondents appreciated and had a high perception of CLT principles, indicating a welcoming atmosphere toward the implementation of CLT in Iran.


Anani Sarab, M. R., Monfared, A., Safarzadeh, M. M. (2016). Secondary EFL school teachers' perceptions of CLT principles and practices: An exploratory survey. Iranian Journal of Language Teaching Research. 4(3), 109-130.
Asassfeh, S. M., Khwaileh, F. M., Al-Shaboul, Y. M., & Alshboul, S. S. (2012). Communicative language teaching in an EFL context: learners' attitudes and Perceived Implementation. Journal of Language Teaching and Research. 3(3), 525-535.
Aubrey, S. (2010). Influences on Japanese students' willingness to communicate across three different sized EFL classes (Master Thesis). Asian EFL Journal. Retrieved from
Brown, H. D. (2001). Teaching by principle: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. San Francisco: Longman.
Celce-Murcia, M. (1991). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. 2nd (Ed.). New York, Newbury House.
Celce-Murcia, M. & Hilles, P. (1988). Language teaching approaches: An overview. In M. Celce-Murcia (Ed.), Teaching English as a second or foreign language (pp.3-11). New York, Newbury House.
Chomsky, N. (1965), Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.
Chung, I. F. & Huang, Y. C. (2009). The implementation of communicative language teaching: An investigation of students' viewpoints. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 18(1), 67-78.
Dörnyei, Z., & Csizér, K. (2012). How to design and analyze surveys in second language acquisition research. In A. Mackey & S. M. Gass (Eds.), Research methods in second language acquisition: A practical guide (1st ed., pp. 74-94). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Dörnyei, Z., & Taguchi, T. (2010). Questionnaires in second language research: Construction, administration, and processing. New York: Routledge.
Dorshomal, N., Gorjian, B. and Pazhakh, A. (2013), “The role of pedagogical films in developing pre-intermediate Iranian EFL learners’ speaking skill: the case of motivation”, International Journal of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics World, Vol. 4 No. 4, pp. 254-268.
Ellis, R., Basturkmen, H., & Loewen, S. (2001). Learner uptake in communicative ESL lessons. Language Learning, 51(2), 281-318.
Ettelaat Daily(2011), 25 December 2011, available at: ImageGallery1471/p15.pdf
Gamble, C., Aliponga, J., Koshiyama, Y., Wilkins, M., Yoshida, K., & Ando, S. (2013). University students' beliefs, perceptions and attitudes towards communicative language teaching. MEXTESOL Journal, 37(2), 1-9.
Horwitz, E.K. (1988).The beliefs about language learning of beginning university foreign language students. Modern Language Journal, 72(3), 283-294.
Hymes, D. H. (1972). On communicative competence. In J. B. Pride & J. Holmes (Eds.), Sociolinguistics (pp. 269-293). Baltimore, USA: Penguin Education, Penguin Books Ltd.
İnceçay, G., & İnceçay, V. (2009). Turkish university students' perceptions of communicative and non-communicative activities in EFL classroom. Procedia_Social and Behavioral Sciences, 1, 618-622.
Jarvis, H., & Atsilarat, S. (2004). Shifting paradigms: from a communicative to a context-based approach. Asian EFL Journal, 6(4). Article 8.
Jafari, S. M., Shokrpour, N., Gutterman, T. (2015). A mixed methods study of teachers' perceptions of communicative language teaching in Iranian high schools. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5 (4), 707-718.
Kachru, B. (2005). Asian Englishes: Beyond the canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
Koosha, M. & Yakhabi, M. (2013). Problems associated with the use of communicative language teaching in EFL contexts and possible solutions. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Research, 1(2), 63-76.
Li, D. (1998). "It's always more difficult than you plan and imagine": Teachers' perceived difficulties in introducing the communicative approach in South Korea. TESOL Quarterly, 32 (4), 677-703.
Li, D. (2001). Teachers' perceived difficulties in introducing the communicative approach in South Korea. In D. Hall & A. Hewings (Eds.), Innovation in English language teacher: A reader (pp.149- 165). London: Routledge.
Littlewood, W. (2010). Chinese and Japanese students' conceptions of the ‘ideal English lesson’. RELC Journal 41.1, 46-58.
Loewen, S. Li, F. Fei, A., Thompson, K., Nakatsukasa, S., & Ahn, S. Chen. X. (2009). Second language learners' beliefs about grammar instruction and error correction. The Modern Language Journal, 93, 91–104.
Mangubhai, F., Marland, P., Dashwood, A., & Son, J.-B. (2005). Similarities and differences in teachers' and researchers' conceptions of communicative language teaching: Does the use of an educational model cast a better light? Language Teaching Research, 9(1), 51-86.
Matsuura, H., Chiba, R., & Hilderbrandt, P. (2001). Beliefs about learning and teaching communicative English in Japan. Japan Association for Language Teaching, 23(1), 69-82.
Ngoc, K. M., Iwashita, N. (2012). A comparison of learners' and teachers' attitudes toward communicative language teaching at two universities in Vietnam. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL, 7, 25-49.
Nunan, D. (1988). The learner-centered curriculum. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nunan, D. (1993). From learning-centeredness to learner-centeredness. Applied Language Learning, 4, 1–18.
Pallant, J. (2007). SPSS survival manual: A step by step guide to data analysis using SPSS for windows (3rd ed.). Maidenhead, England: Open University Press and McGraw-Hill Education.
Raissi, R., Mohamad Nor, F., Aziz, M. A., Zanial, Z., & Saleh, Z. M. (2013). A Comparison between Students’ and Teachers’ Ideas Regarding Communicative Language Teaching Implementation in Malaysian Secondary Schools; A Qualitative Survey. Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research. 3(4), 608-614.
Rao, Z. (2002). Chinese students' perceptions of communicative and non-communicative activities in EFL classroom. System, 30, 85–105.
Richards, J., & Rodgers, T. (2001). Approaches and methods in language teaching (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rogers, E. M. (1971). Communication of innovation: A cross-cultural approach, London: Collier-Macmillan.
Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations (5th ed.). New York: Free Press.
Sarfraz, S., Mansoor, Z. & Tariq, R. (2015). Teachers' and students' perceptions of the communicative language teaching methodology in the CALL environment. Procedia_Social and Behavioral Science, 199, 730-736.
Savignon, S. (1997). Communicative competence: Theory and classroom practice (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw- Hill.
Savignon, S. J.  (2002). Communicative language teaching:  Linguistic theory and classroom practice.  In S. J.  Savignon, (Ed.), Interpreting communicative language teaching. New Heaven: Yale University Press.
Savignon, S. J. (2007). Beyond communicative language teaching: What's ahead? Journal of Pragmatics, 39, 207-220.
Savignon, S. J. & Wang, C. (2003). Communicative language teaching in EFL contexts: Learner attitudes and perceptions. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 41(3), 223-249.
Schulz, R. A. (1996). Focus on form in the foreign language classroom: Learners' and teachers' views on error correction and the role of grammar. Foreign Language Annals, 29(3), 333-364.
Sharifian, F. (2010). Globalization of English in world Englishes: An emerging variety among Persian speakers of English. In M. Saxena & T. Omoniyi (Eds.), Contending with globalization in world Englishes (pp. 137-158). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Straub, D. W. (1989). Validating instruments in MIS research. MIS Quarterly, 13(2), 147-169.
Thompson, G. (1996). Some misconceptions about communicative language teaching. ELT Journal, 50(1), 9-15.