How to accelerate communicative competence in secondary schools

Vasić, Nebojša (2012) How to accelerate communicative competence in secondary schools. In: 2nd International Conference on Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (FLTAL’12), 4-6 May 2012, Sarajevo.

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Having in mind that average person utters around 15 000 words a day we must treat our speaking skill as the most significant cognitive activity which encapsulates the quality of pronunciation, grammar (accuracy), lexical power (expression diversity), listening comprehension, public skills, non-verbal communication, creativity, spontaneity etc. Furthermore, learning a foreign language should not be reduced to sheer memorizing bunch of words or language definitions but much more to the intensive usage and massive exposure which leads to advanced language competence performed in a real time. Unfortunately, the development of speaking skill is tantalizingly slow in our traditional education due to the predominant focus on language forms. Secondary school teachers are preoccupied with the correctness and “deadly accuracy”, in other words, they underestimate the value of speaking skill activities in their daily lessons. Although research in this area has proven that both teachers and students appreciate speaking skill as the most needful of all language skills, English teachers rarely teach or assess speaking skill in their classrooms. Moreover, one of prevailing misconceptions is that speaking skill will spontaneously come out as the result of scrupulous language instructions, which is not the case. Some teachers claim that speaking skill is retelling or answering the questions, namely they don’t differentiate between controlled language practice and the spontaneous usage of language in a real time. Consequently, the development of speaking skill is unjustifiably delayed and it remains mainly marginal - sporadic activity instead of being the hub of language learning. My research comprised over 400 students and 45 English teachers who all (almost unanimously) agree that speaking skill is the most desirable language goal, but high percentage of students are not satisfied with the level of their communicative competence when compared to their grammar and lexical knowledge. Thorough research in the field of applied linguistics offers solutions to this (rather embarrassing) problem, and one of intentions of my paper is to elaborate the modern and achievable concept of accelerating communicative competence.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Acquisition, life-long learning, distributive practice, knowledge vs. skill, fluency vs. accuracy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Depositing User: Mr. Fatih Ozturk
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2012 14:35
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2012 14:35

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