Thursday, July 9, 2015

July 1 Reflection

Laila and I discussed in great detail the fluency/accuracy debate from the reading and came to the conclusion that fluency was far more important than accuracy, at least in the beginning stages of learning a language. Because we talked about vocabulary being the key to learning a language (and not getting stuck on grammar and verb tenses) fluency is all about using vocabulary. If a student can show that he or she can use vocabulary, that student has achieved fluency. If I can understand what he is trying to say, I try not to correct minor points and continue with functional communication, showing the student that he was understood and comprehensible, building confidence in that student. At the beginning stages of learning a language, I believe that is far more important than correcting a lack of a plural s or a verb tense. This has taken me a while to learn, and I still slip into overcorrection mode at times, as it appears to be my default when I need something “teacherly” to do. Laila and I also talked about pronunciation and teaching it. I don’t find this difficult, but again I worry with my speech pathology background I can overkill pronunciation so that it’s not useful and just tedious to students. I use IPA when I teach this, and if my students don’t understand the symbols I teach it to them. I wonder if this is a useful strategy. It’s what I was taught to do in previous classes, along with tongue placement, mouth shape, and palate movement. Some students respond really well to these kinds of drills and others just kind of look at me like I’m crazy and move on to the next thing in the lesson that day. I’m wondering if there is a better approach. 
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