#KELTChat – 6th April 2014 – Too much fluency?

Hello #KELTChatters,

Your favorite Korean online teacher development group (I’d call us an organization but I think it would be a contradiction in terms) offers you the chance to offer advice on a possible problem for teachers in Korea during our one hour chat on Sunday night at 8pm Korea time. We’d point out that you neither need to be involved for the whole hour, nor be in Korea to participate. Any and all contributions are welcome.

The problem is this*:

My classes are heavily fluency focused, with a lot of free talking, conversational tasks and role playing. We use a textbook, but students claim that they already know most of the language that it aims to teach. Therefore I try to focus on getting them to use the language that they already have. I also feel like this is what my administration expects of me. During activities I try to supply language at the point of need, which students appreciate, but if I try to use this to teach grammar or lexis past individual vocabulary words, then I sense attention starting to wane and boredom setting in. I wonder if there is more to be gained from fluency work than just fluency gains and incidental vocabulary.

* This is an imaginary scenario compiled from my experience and that of teachers that I have spoken to. I have left it deliberately vague in order that it can be adapted to different contexts. Feel free to invent or assume anything about this situation that is not given in the description.

Some questions that we might like to answer:

– What other learning oppportunities do conversation and tasks provide?
– How can we take advantage of these for learning?
– Can we structure tasks and conversations differently in order to provide language learning opportunities without explicitly focusing on language?
– How can we help students to achieve or set language goals within tasks?
– How can we create opportunities for students to use target language within freer speaking?

– Do you think that native speaking English teachers in Korea are expected to have more fluency based classes?
– If so, where does this expectation come from? Does it work against native speaking teachers? How can teachers counter it if they wish to?

If you have any answers to these questions, or any comments in general, we would be delighted to hear them during the chat. If this your first time, you can find a how- to guide on the tab above, or simply ask anyone in the Facebook group. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday night.


Alex (@breathyvowel)