Saturday, January 2, 2016

Conversation with Natives

Just to clarify:

Conversation (communication) classes with a native teacher are an important part of the process of learning a foreign language. In the case of younger (preschool or primary) children, this is because the naturalness of the accent* and the prosody (primarily intonation, and this is often underestimated or not understood) contributes greatly to the way the foundation of learning is built. They will mostly be hearing native speakers in the resources used to back up the class, and on the television and in the songs they hear and sing, and the natural rhythms of a native speaker reinforce the memory and the ease of use.

For older students this is much less important, but a native speaker, one who grew up in a cultures where the language was part of life, can provide a much more interesting background to the conversation, which adds a lot to motivation, and leads to real communication.
When I say native teacher, of course, I do mean teacher, not some random unemployed graduate found on the streets of London or Dublin or San Francisco. Teaching is not nuclear physics, but it requires competence and experience.

*it doesn’t matter all that much where it’s from, or what kind of education it denotes, as long as it’s something that most of the English speaking world would understand and accept

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