Recent articles in the ELT Journal offer interesting debates on CLT. On one side, Bax (2003) proposes that CLT should be abandoned since the methodology fails to take into account the context of language teaching. On the other side, Liao (2004) suggests that CLT is best. However, within the broad theoretical position on which CLT is based, different understandings of CLT exist, and it is not clear what version(s) or element(s) of CLT these authors reject or advocate.
This article presents what are considered to be the key theoretical tenets of CLT. It then discusses the meanings of CLT theory in classroom practices, showing the dynamics of context that construct these meanings. Drawing on a study of teachers'' beliefs and implementation of CLT in Vietnam, the article argues that inherent in CLT is a view of language, of language learning, and teaching that most teachers aspire to. When CLT theory is put into action in a particular context, a range of issues open up, but these issues do not necessarily negate the potential usefulness of CLT.