Presenting language in small fragments hoping that they will one day automatically transform into fluent near-native talk may not be enough. This talk will highlight ways in which skilled performers achieve excellence and focus on practical activities promoting holistic language learning using a variety of free online tools.
Rationale - Details of Talk
The standard practice of the Foreign Language classroom is to present language in fragments, smaller chunks, or grammar McNuggets, as Scott Thornbury recently called then in a blog post on his A-Z blog.
Teachers do so in the hope that these partial views of language will one be successfully synthesized to form a coherent whole in the learner's mind, hopefully resulting in fluent output.
Research and experience have proved this inadequate.
In this talk, I will be looking at the profiles of skilled performers, drawing analogies between what they do to achieve a polished and skillful performance and what this implies that foreign language learners ought to do in order to improve their productive skills – their performance skills, in other words, in the target language.
Suggestions for practical classroom activities will focus on holistic language practices involving
Sustained talk / long turns
Engaging learners in higher order thinking processes
involving technology which promotes holistic learning rather than iterative practice
motivating learners to acquire language through collaborative and meaningful projects using a variety of Web 2.0 tools.