Fluency in Conversation

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The lesson that was observed was given to a group of adolescents around fourteen years old, with B1 and B2 level (Intermediate to Upper Intermediate). It aimed to practice the use of past and past perfect through conversation. The strategy was basically to encourage students to talk about their experiences during this academic year, therefore to make them produce language and to foster the use of complex grammatical structures. Regardless the complete fulfilment of the objective, the session was a useful opportunity for the learners to concentrate on fluency by taking away the stress of evaluation to which they are often exposed to. Samples: 1.- We begun explaining to the teacher our problem. (wí bɪgə́n ɪksplénɪŋ tú ðə títʃər áwər prɑ́bləm) Grammar. This is an example of inaccurate use of verb tense. It shows that the speaker is in the process of learning past and past participle, and therefore he is still confusing both. However, the imprecision demonstrates that he is aware that some change in the form of the verb (to begin) has to be made to express an action that happened in the past. 2.- I don’t like him. He can be a very good scientific but as a person... (áj dɑ́nt lajk hɪ́m. hí kǽn bí ə vɛ́ri gʊ́d sɑ̀jəntɪ́fɪk bə́t ǽz ə pə́rsən) Vocabulary and discourse. In this example, we can find an inappropriate word choice. “He may be” would have been a more precise lexical item. Even though, when use as a central modal, the extrinsic meaning of can also expresses possibility, the use of may is more adequate. Aside from that, there is also a misuse of the word “scientist” caused by contamination by L1. The term “científico” in Spanish is both a noun and an adjective, while in English, distinction has to be mad... ... middle of paper ... ...at she has been exposed to spoken language, thus, identifying and properly using stress to mark meaning. (Brown, 1977, p. 51) 10.- My mother was waiting for the second hand book sale. (máj mə́ðər wəz wétɪŋ fɔ́r ðə sɛ́kənd hǽnd bʊ́k sél) Grammar. This last example, also shows accuracy in the election of verb form. The student properly used past progressive to describe an ongoing action that took place when other action occurred. (Carter & McCarthy, 2006, p. 608) The class gathers several levels, and while there are many students with the capacity to produce very complex structures, many of them are not very confident of their ability to speak. I would suggest the teacher to focus more on fluency than on accuracy, because the written exams prove that most of the students understand grammar patterns. Yet, they still need more exposure to spoken language.
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