Freeing teachers and learners: How can we promote fluency in the language classroom?

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Freeing teachers and learners: How can we promote fluency in the language classroom?. Dr. Stephen Bax Canterbury Christ Church University England KTEC, Kuwait May 2006. Background. Dr. Stephen Bax My background. -Sudan -Algeria -Damascus, Syria -Baghdad, Iraq - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Freeing teachers and learners: How can we promote fluency in the language classroom?Dr. Stephen BaxCanterbury Christ Church UniversityEnglandKTEC, Kuwait May 2006

  • Background

    Dr. Stephen Bax

  • My background-Sudan-Algeria-Damascus, Syria-Baghdad, Iraq-Canterbury-UAE national review of education-Jordan national review of English teaching-Kuwait, Qatar, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia

  • Why focus on fluency?Professor Christopher Brumfit (1940-2006)

    1984 Communicative methodology in language teaching: The roles of fluency and accuracy

  • The nature of languagewe cannot operate with a view of language simply as a descriptive system to be handed over to the learner;

    language is not a package to be given from one owner to another..

    (Brumfit 1980:116, my emphasis)

  • Why is this important?

    Maybe our whole idea of language is damaging for our learners!

    by defining language as knowledge, a deficit view of the learning process has been established for all second language learners(Brumfit 1980:120)

  • Why is this important?

    In other words, we need to realise that language learning is unique:

    It is a SKILL and not just packets of KNOWLEDGE.

  • Skills work needs fluency workSo our question today is, how can we promote a focus on skills and a focus on fluency?

    .. particularly for Arabic speaking learners?

  • What do teachers do in practice?Handout 1

  • What is the teachers role?Facilitator, model and so on. but also

    To act as a provider which means to provide all that learners need.

    Note: only the teacher can do this

  • How do we learn a language?Four Keys to Language LearningAffect (motivation)Learners need to feel right about learning

    InputThey need the right quantity and the right quality of input

    OutputThey need the right quantity and the right quality of output opportunitiesForm (accuracy work)They need awareness of correct formscf. Willis 1996

  • What is missing in these classes?Use of active tasks to promote fluencyTeachers ability to develop their own activities and materialsChecking student learning (spot checking)Using errors as a way of teaching

  • 1. So what teachers can dofocus on skillsprovide tasks and materials for fluencycheck that all pupils are practisinguse errors creatively

    Teacher as provider - providing what the coursebook does not

  • 2. What coursebooks can dofocus on skills

    give space and time for fluency work

    give tasks for fluency practice

  • Problemparents, headteachers and learners have the view of language as a fixed package (Brumfit)this leads to certain views about learning and views about the teacher's role

  • 3. What the authorities can doMinistries: need to remember that language is not a fixed package, but a skill

    the need for a syllabus with holes, giving extensive space for fluency practice

    the role of inspectors and supervisors

  • Tests and examsneed to be skills-basedmove away from grammaruse unseen texts and passages

    Exams as the main tool for change?

  • ConclusionWe can see WHAT we can usefully do to promote fluency

    We have seen some pointers as to HOW to do it

    Lets do it!

  • Thank you

    Dr. Stephen Bax