We believe the language that learners produce during their conversations with each other is the richest source of potential learning available. This is because whatever learners say reveals where they are in the linguistic development and also indicates where they would like to move next – assuming, of course, that they have freedom to choose the forms and words to use. We believe that teachers who become skilled in noticing and working with this language have two advantages over their colleagues who can’t.
Firstly, those teachers can use this language for awareness-raising purposes immediately after it has been used. Striking while the linguistic iron is hot here means making as immediate a connection as possible between a learner’s attempt, a proposed improvement, and a meaningful context for its use: the “correction” has the best chances of being understood in both formal and pragmatic terms. We believe this makes it more likely that learners take this up.
Secondly, those teachers can use these language notes as the raw material from which to hew dedicated lessons exploring language areas which their learners are evidently ripe for, as evidenced by their attempts to use them.
That’s all for now – we’ll be back soon!