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Practical Classroom Strategies to Promote L2 Oral Fluency

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Collocation phrases, phrasal verbs and idioms are the most commonly used chunks in teaching of second language to promote oral fluency. Other chunks that are used include common polite expressions like ‘take a seat’. These polite expressions are used in everyday communication and when the L2 teacher uses them in teaching a second language, the fluency of the learner is greatly improved (Birch, 2014). Moskal & Camille (2006) characterize chunks that can be effectively used to promote oral fluency in a second language. Some of the characteristics of the chunks include phonological coherence, repeated use and greater complexity as compared to the other learner’s output.

Chunks are also repeatedly used and are always in the same form. This is in addition to the fact that their use is situation dependent. In order to promote oral fluency, L2 learners can be made to listen to a recorded tape in that second language and be asked to identify the various commonly used chunks. This allows them to understand and appreciate how the common chunks are used in various contexts, rather than focusing on the meaning of the words in the language. Focusing on Fluency Instead of Grammar Many students are afraid of making grammatical mistakes in the language that they are learning.

The reason why this is the case is due to the fact that they are afraid of making a mistake under the watch of their peers or fellow learners. This can be avoided by the teacher explaining the error patterns of the natives, minimizing grammatical error correction and taking errors as a skill that the L2 learners need to master in order to be fluent in the second language.

Teaching oral fluency in a second language is quite different from teaching the various other aspects of a language. In teaching and promoting fluency, the L2 teacher should be willing to let go some of the control in the classroom (Derwing et al. , 2004). This allows for the setting up of a situation where fluency can be developed and also encourage the students to be communicative. Unlike the teaching of language knowledge, promoting and teaching fluency is considered to be the ‘automatization’ of the language knowledge.

Being fluent is something that is automatic, and that does not require much attention. This is because it is a process that is characterized by psycholinguistic processes associated with that particular language. This automatically occurs when the teacher focuses on the fluency of the speaker rather than on the grammar of the sentences that are made or constructed by the speaker or learner.

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