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Four Tips To Create Balance Between Accuracy And Fluency

In this article, I’m going to give you four tips to create the required balance between accuracy and fluency.

Learners With A Disconnect

I noticed that a lot of English learners have a “disconnect.” A disconnect means that the language skills are imbalanced in development.

It means that learners consume English more than they speak or practice it.

Students probably read & listen to English much more than they write and speak it.

In other words, we can say that there is a kind of unbalance between accuracy and fluency activities in the classroom or teachers focus more on accuracy.

When Teachers Focus More On Accuracy Activities, They:

  • Focus on forming correct examples of language use.
  • Produce language in a controlled way.
  • Deal with grammar explicitly.
  • Insist on receiving grammatically correct and complete sentences.
  • Practice language out of context.
  • Practice small samples of language.
  • Do not require authentic communication.

In brief, students don’t get enough English-speaking opportunities or don’t have daily material to “practice” with.

On The Other Hand, When We Focus On Fluency, We:

  • Reflect natural language use
  • Deal with grammar implicitly.
  • Encourage free production of the language.
  • Reflect automatic performance.
  • Produce language that is not always predictable.
  • Require the use of improvising, paraphrasing, repair and reorganization.
  • Require real communication.

So, your students need to start “producing” English on a daily basis to be able to unlock their fluency.

The Problem

But the problem is that when we focus on fluency activities, we would help learners develop communicative skills at the expense of their linguistic competence.

In other words, the use of authentic communication particularly in the early stages of learning would help students often develop fluency at the expense of accuracy.

That may result in learners with good communication skills but a poor command of grammar.

The Four Tips To Create Balance Between Accuracy & Fluency

To solve this problem, I give the teachers these four tips to do during fluency activities:

  1. Get the learners’ attention to the presence of a linguistic feature in the input.
  2. Treat with grammatical features explicitly but within context.
  3. Focus on form but within task-based activities.
  4. Use various activities that develop the learners’ communicative skills and increase their attention to linguistic forms as well.

Do you think of more tips for creating the required balance between accuracy and fluency? Please, share them with us in a comment below.

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One thought on “Four Tips To Create Balance Between Accuracy And Fluency

  1. N-N says:

    I’ve been teaching English to uni students in Japan for about ten years now and these techniques are always a struggle. I’ve found that they only work with students who are already at A2 or above. The majority of my students are A1 or below, and completely shut down when I try open-ended, free communicative tasks. They respond well to canned, scripted tasks that only have one or two possible answers, but of course that does not help their learning at all. Even the slightest bit of ambiguity throws them off. They rarely, if ever, respond to CCQs due to fear of being judged by their peers if their English is “too good” or “too bad.” A lot of it is compounded by the education system itself requiring 15 or 30 90-minute classes, which necessitates too much inauthentic, out-of-context language instruction as filler to meet governmental guidelines.

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