Brrr… It’s cold here in my Japanese home. The snow is falling, and the mountains are white-peaked. Bring on the sake! Despite the cold, here’s my latest blog to warm your eyes.
Which is more important – fluency or accuracy? I was asked this question recently regarding learning English. It could be argued that a fluent speaker must be accurate to be fluent, but in the real world you meet many people who can converse quite easily in English but who often make mistakes.
The real issue
The question more accurately is this: Is it more important to adhere to grammar, or to be able to speak your mind (albeit with the occasional poor word choice or grammatical mistake)? Your answer to this affects how and what you teach.
I would say that fluency is the more desirable quality. Someone who speaks fluently and easily will be a better communicator than someone who stodgily takes time to correctly formulate every sentence before saying anything. The fluent speaker also practices language more – a vital key in attaining and retaining new language.
If you agree that fluency is all-important, then it’s wise to teach thusly:
1. Practice: get your students to speak up in the classroom!
2. Teach real English: Textbook English often conflicts with actual practice. Of course, you don’t want to teach incorrect English, but the practical vernacular style will be far more useful than clunky obsolete phrases.
3. Correct their mistakes: Show your students where they are going wrong and help them to improve – a fluent and accurate speaker is ideal, afterall!
Do you have any tips to add to that? Leave a comment below! I’m going back to my futon to hibernate. Speak to you on Thursday!