The Importance of In-class and Outside Stimuli for the Development of English Fluency
2019-04-15 Linda Dunsmore Alumni Experiences
There are many challenges for second language learners to gain the fluency with the English language. That includes reading and listening. It is found that with second language learners there is a sense of being lost when they are attempting to speak to native speakers. Simple greetings are something that is learned to the point where a second language learner would have mastered that concept. But what would happen if the native speaker speaks too fast or they don’t enunciate like their teachers do?
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Callie L.
Reading to increase complex vocabulary
There are also instances where the native speaker will use a more complex string of vocabulary that is uncommon for the learner since they are more likely to see a very simple or basic version of everyday conversations. With that being said, reading can also be held to that regard as well. There are a lot of times where a student might not be able to understand the language that is used in whatever the student might be reading. I have noticed this problem on a personal level when casually speaking to some of my friends who are currently taking English classes. This can cause lots of problems down the road, like the student losing the motivation to learn or to lose confidence because they aren’t understanding the material that is being given to them.
The students might also become discouraged with the fact that they are not understanding the reading or recordings as well as their classmates which can potentially cause them to falsely believe that they are incapable of learning the language. This is where it can become vital to not just focus on the productive skills like; speaking and writing; but to also spend time to work on the receptive skills of reading and listening. The fluency that most students what to achieve can be reached with proper work on these skills.
Make sure you use the right material
Since productive skills tend to be more active than receptive skills, it is important to make sure that the receptive skills that you expose your students to be immersive, enjoyable, appropriate for the level that you are working with, and they will be able to receive and in turn interpret the messages within what you are providing. Keeping the texts and recordings relevant to class interest and level can really help stimulate the student’s minds. Reading and listening don’t only require the use of your eyes and ears, but your mind as well. The student must be able to understand the meaning of the words they see using any knowledge that they already have within their minds. Using the course text is useful for a more structured and simple way to learn.
Authentic text would be good to provide a student with a more natural and real use of the language. Something to keep in mind when using authentic text is to make sure they are graded appropriately to level and they are amongst the students interests.
Increase exposure of English in and outside the classroom
Since not all students will get the chance to immerse themselves in the language, such as studying in an English speaking country, there are countless ways to expose them to the language to build their receptive skills. The key to this is the amount of exposure the students get. The more exposure the better. Movies, music, YouTube, or even their own social media are all good ways to expose them to both reading and listening. With those platforms it would be much easier for the students to find the videos or posts that interest them.
Things such as idioms or sayings might be harder for the students to grasp in the classroom since they usually might not be grammatically correct. Sources such as movies and Youtube would expose the students to a multitude of different vocabulary; such as slang, idioms, and more; as well as showing them a more natural way to speak to others. A lot of these platforms can be used outside of the classroom as well. The student isn’t trapped to just using the language in a classroom setting. They can take the learning techniques that have been employed within the classroom to build their skills outside of it. The students can end up using the skills such as skimming, scanning, and so on while not even knowing that they are doing such. Using knowledge that already resides within the brains of the students can be very important to how a student can understand a text or recording that is provided in class.
I have also noticed that outside stimulation to the language that isn’t within the classroom can be extremely beneficial to the students overall reception to the English language. While learning receptive skills in the classroom is indeed a very important building block for the development of their English skills; such as skimming, detailed reading, and more; using those skills outside of the class can provide the student with a more varied and versatile range of vocabulary. It can also provide the student with a deeper understanding of the English language.
As we see both In-class and outside sources of stimuli are very important in teaching receptive skills. They will provide a more structured form of the English language as well as a more practical use that can be implemented throughout their daily lives.
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