"Chapter 8. Community Language Learning."

(key words)

Community Language Learning (CLL), counseling learning, Charles Curran, humanistic approach, Rogerian counseling, language alternation, teacher-learner relationship, knower, social-process model, whole-person learning, consensual validation, convalidation, SARD, 5 stages of CLL


Community Language Learning --- application of counseling learning to teach languages

developed by Charles Curran

basic procedures are derived from the counselor-client relationship

related to humanistic approach (engaging the whole person)

application to bilingual education

language alternation --- a message/lesson/class is presented first in the native tongue and then again in the second language


Theory of language

language theory is built on basic sound and grammatical patterns

language as social process (distinctively different from information-transmission type of communication)

interaction is the key element of CLL

Theory of learning

CLL advocates a holistic approach (whole-person learning), contrasted with 1)a putative learning and 2) behavioral learning.

5 stages of the development of the learner's relationship with the teacher

  1. birth stage
  2. child stage
  3. speaks independently stage
  4. secure enough to take criticism stage
  5. adult stage

the key element --- consensual validation, or convalidation, in which mutual warmth, understanding, and a positive evaluation of the other person's worth develops between the teacher and the learner.

SARD --- psychological requirements for successful learning

S (security)
A (attention and aggression)
R (retention and reflection)
D (discrimination)


The syllabus

course progression is topic based

the syllabus emerges from the interaction between the learner's expressed communicative intentions and the teacher's reformulations of these into suitable target language utterances.

Types of learning and teaching activities

  1. Translation
  2. Group Work
  3. Recording
  4. Transcription
  5. Analysis
  6. Reflection and observation
  7. Listening
  8. Free conversation

Learner roles

Learners are expected to listen attentively to the knower, to freely provide meanings they wish to express, to repeat target utterances without hesitation, to support fellow members of the community, to report deep inner feelings and frustrations as well as joy and pleasure, and to become counselors to other learners.

5 stages of learner development
Stage 1Learners are completely dependent on the knower for linguistic content.
Stage 2Learners begin to establish their own self-affirmation and independence.
Stage 3Learners begin to understand others directly in the target language.
Stage 4Learners function independently, although his or her knowledge of the foreign language is still rudimentary.
Stage 5Learners refine their understanding of register as well as grammatically correct language use and may become counselors to less advanced students.

Teacher roles

Teachers are like counselors

in the early stages of learning the teacher operates in a supportive role

Teachers are responsible for providing a safe environment

How much security and insecurity are optimal for language learning?

The role of instructional materials

A textbook is not necessary

materials may be developed by the teacher as the course develops


learners sit in a circle, all facing one another

Constraints and Problems of CLL

  1. the number and knowledge of fellow learners
  2. unusual demands are placed on teachers
  3. teachers must be relatively nondirective and be prepared to accept aggression of learners
  4. lack of evidence that language learning parallels the processes of psychological counseling
  5. lack of a syllabus

Further Reading

Brown, H. D. (1977). "Some limitations of C-L/CLL models of second language teaching." TESOL Quarterly 11.

La Forge, P. G. (1983). Counseling and Culture in Second Language Acquisition. Pergamon Press.

Moskowitz, G. (1978). Caring and Sharing in the Foreign Language Class. Newbury House.

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