Accuracy or fluency

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Accuracy or fluency

Unread post by Paula » 23 Feb 2005, 14:14

Which do you think is most important for students? To speak accurately or to be able to express themselves?


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Unread post by chosimba » 20 May 2005, 21:24

Hey there,
I think that communicative fluency is the long-term goal, although pronunciation and accuracy is the first step in the learning process. Too often, too much emphasis is placed upon accuracy with no progression towards fluency. So many learners from different cultures take TOEFL and other "template" exams and score highly, yet are unable to communicate well. Introducing learners to pragmatics and conversational analysis not only improves cultural awareness but improves fluency too.

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Communicative Ability

Unread post by Micro67 » 28 May 2006, 10:53

I have always emphisized communicative ability, but being an English teacher in a classroom often means that I know what it is they want to say, so by that standart it does them a disservice in the 'real' world. My feeling is that fluency will come well before accuracy no matter what you do, but I try to be pro-active about pronunciation in the classroom and re-inforce grammatical accuracy at every opportunity.

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Unread post by Glenski » 29 May 2006, 02:15

Accuracy or fluency? Well, depends on the students' goals, don't you think?

If you're just having a conversation, then conveying your meaning is ok without needing perfect grammar.
If you're presenting some scientific report, then perhaps accuracy is better, but you'll need a higher level of fluency.

Just what did you mean by "accurately"?

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Unread post by brendaschouw » 19 Dec 2007, 15:30

Personally, I believe the emphasis should be on fluency. Especially at the beginning of a new school year or when you’re dealing with a group that doesn’t know each other very well yet. For some students it can be very difficult or even hurtful to be confronted with their mispronunciations in front of the group or class. The risk is that they don't dare to speak in class anymore. Therefore I feel you should be careful with correcting students on their mispronunciations. Once you have established a safe atmosphere in class, you can slowly start focusing on accuracy. All in all, you want your students to be confident and enthusiastic about learning English. Focusing on accuracy in an early stage might diminish their enthusiasm.


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Re: Accuracy or fluency

Unread post by chrisw » 12 Jan 2008, 17:37

Both are important. I think the most important skill to push with speaking is getting students to feel comfortable actually doing it. It's great if a student can speak accurately, but if they do not have the practice or self confidence to actually speak, then their ability is useless.
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Re: Accuracy or fluency

Unread post by systematic » 20 Jun 2008, 07:23

I agree with Glenski:

In situations where pure academic achievement is the goal ( i.e. passing exams), accuracy - particularly in grammar, orthography, and use - is the most important.

In situations where the learner wants to communicate effectively for personal, travel or business reasons, fluency of oral and written expression is more important than trying to ape the perfection of native speakers.

Courses and textbooks are available which separately address both needs.
I offer any information or advice 'as is' and hope that it has been of help. I am not an admin of this board, and my postings do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the board management.
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Re: Accuracy or fluency

Unread post by max_bt » 22 Mar 2009, 17:32

If I had to pick between accuracy or fluency, I would pick fluency. Although accuracy is important it is not necessary to communicate message. Having a conversation with someone and passing message and ideas through language is the goal of language. However, I have to agree that in order to pass message effectively, one needs to be accurate in his use of langage.

Accuracy is something that will be developed as the learner acquires new aspects or language. Also, isf someone is not accurate when expressing ideas the other person will ask for clarification. Therefore, problems pertaining to accuracy will be monitored by others. Fluency is the first step in getting better in a language because it allows the learner to try new structures or words in context. Like I mentioned earlier, corrections will occur as the learner speaks.

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