27 August 2020 at 10:34 pm #2737adminKeymaster
I quite liked Widdowson’s quote about proficiency. It certainly is thought-provoking, as I’d never seen it in the way he describes it. When one says “proficiency” what normally comes to mind is sounding like a “native” speaker, and proficiency tests like TOEFL, Cambridge etc. that measure your level of language use and put a label on it. While these are important as they are used for university and employment purposes, I don’t think that they should dictate how well someone can use the language. Like the course said, passing these tests makes one a good test taker but not necessarily an efficient language user, communicator. These follow certain strategies that a test taker can learn to apply, but are quite rigid and do not allow for any creative use of language. I agree that when a speaker takes hold of the language they are using and confidently uses it for successful communication, then they can consider themselves proficient, why not? When you “submit to the dictates of its form” you cannot help but monitor your accuracy and I think that with that you lose fluency and perhaps communicate less effectively than you truly are able to. “Native” speakers hardly speak with 100% grammatical accuracy (as expected from a standard-English perspective), so asking this of an L2 speaker seems rather ridiculous.
English inside and outside the classroom
In terms of in-class activities that might be adapted to the way learners learn outside the classroom, I think it would be helpful to bring the outside inside the classroom. Some ways might be: creating blog posts and actively responding to classmates’ posts as they would in their daily life; watching TED talks from varied speakers of English both as L1 and L2 (already heavily practiced) — I have heard many times that it was hard for learners to understand what the speaker was saying because he/she had a British and not an American accent — and using them effectively in class; reading from actual newspapers etc.; using corpora to access authentic speech from different varieties of English; giving learners the opportunity to step out in the real world during class and use the language; listen to different types of music and discussing its message and thus the language it uses; watch TV show episodes with focus on vocabulary.
Would love to hear more ideas and/or comments.
To view past replies go to: https://changingenglishes.proboards.com/thread/19/unit-3-reflections
- This topic was modified 1 year ago by admin.
18 October 2020 at 3:42 pm #3268Sahar AmerMember
Let’s have a look first at what proficiency is and how it is measured. Here in Saudi Arabia, it’s measured by the ability to communicate effectively in English and pass a standardized exam. Is it looked upon in the same way in all countries? I don’t think so
18 October 2020 at 9:48 pm #3273Ayman Mahmoud MohammedMember
Good speakers of English should have the ability to communicate with native speakers easily . They must understand that practice makes perfect .using English daily gives you an opportunity to master it and widens your mind and knowledge.
24 October 2020 at 9:42 am #3416Ayman Mahmoud MohammedMember
Proficiency tests are designed to measure the test taker level of proficiency . Even the native speakers take the test , Ielts to measure their levels . Some people believe that the score you get depends on many factors like stress management , time management self confidence , culture and proficiency . I had the test one day and it has helped me a lot to grow professionally and to improve myself.
Students are advised to use English inside and outside the classroom . Inside the classroom, they are encouraged to communicate in English with the classmates . They must use the language in real life situations. They should play a fundamental part during the English course to master the target language
Outside the classroom , they should use the social media to communicate their native speakers of English . They are advised to make the best use of their free time to learn English better.
15 November 2020 at 9:19 pm #3745Ahmed Abdullah AliMember
Proficiency: I don’t believe it can be solely and reliably tested with exams such as IELTS. As previously mentioned, if you know the tricks, you’ll get a decent score.
In my opinion, fluency plays a massive role in how language proficiency is perceived in real life. In the classroom, as outside, I’ve noticed that those who are natural and confident speakers (but not accurate) are perceived as more fluent than those who are accurate but less confident/natural.
3 December 2020 at 9:43 am #4167Angelica Marie EstrabelaMember
English varies in whichever contexts or purposes we use it. Fluency and accuracy are both important.
Widdowson emphasized that we own our own English and it makes sense every single time since we are communicators of our language regardless of any rule.
14 December 2020 at 2:22 pm #4372Buddhika DaladawaththaMember
Though we say in forums ‘ we own our own English as Ayman says in a previous comment, proficiency tests are designed to test taker level of proficiency checking the extent to which standard has been established in learning L2. Mat be what we teach in class differs with what they really encounter in their real life situations or sometimes both classroom and other L2 sources coincide to make their own variety of English enriched with the culture, religion and other affective factors.
22 December 2020 at 11:14 am #4579Dauda PikawiMember
I can’t agree less with your acceptance of the concept of ‘proficiency’ by Widdowson. It is your expressive ability that determines your proficiency not adherence to some kind of precriptive rules.
I also believe that the outside class use of the language should be brought to the class as well. It reduces the stiffness of the learning. We can expose learners to different context of usage rather than the monolithic stiffness.
22 December 2020 at 11:57 am #4581Dauda PikawiMember
I believe that the outside class should be brought into the classroom, this reduces the stiffness that monolithic concept encourages. If the learning is made flexible, and use of the language as well without some precriptive rules.
2 January 2021 at 8:43 pm #4763Deborah AyersMember
I spend my days at work rating what constitutes “operational proficiency” level of language use, and I realize some of the other non-native users of the language I encounter every day are functioning in the language with much greater ease and certainly more purpose as their livelihoods depend on it.
I do ask my students (particularly those that interact with the locals more) to note the different types of usage, and the proficiency with which the different types of locals use the language.
3 January 2021 at 6:44 am #4765Pabasara PonnamperumaMember
According to my opinion, as a teacher when I teach English for my students, there are two prominent things that I need to consider. The very first thing is, teach students English language and make them competent in all four language skills including Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading. When I build up their proficiency, I can relate the authentic situations, daily routine patterns with the activities. So, here are some suggestions.
For the primary level students;
Teacher can teach students with basic good habits in the classroom, for that teacher can be creative and make a sample bathroom using plaster of paris or on a whistle board.
For the secondary level students;
Teacher can teach students with typical conversation patterns like conversations happened at a market, post-office, hospital, bank, and etc
For the tertiary level students;
Teacher can teach students with email writing, letter writing, how to create a poster and etc.
11 February 2021 at 11:12 pm #5230
The context is important to learn in the classroom and outside of the classroom, they need to put into practice these parts of the language. Schools need to create an environment to continue practicing English and put in practice the context.
15 February 2021 at 4:55 am #5252Alexandra PakMember
Sometimes the presence of a proficiency certificate does not show the real picture of English language skills.
21 February 2021 at 6:34 pm #5283Richard ZadoriMember
Communicating at a nativesque level is pivotal
25 February 2021 at 5:22 am #5317Hajar RanjbariMember
● what ‘proficiency’ means, given that learners inevitably construct their own English;
I think what we usually give our learners is the knowledge of learning the language structures which helps them to clarify the rules of English, but what we consider less and practically we don’t spend enough time in constructing the new themes and situations in which they can use their input to see their own output and to feel like they are living and experiencing something that at the time comes naturally whenever they want to speak or write in different situations. Besides, if they are lucky enough to get a chance to practice what they have learned is almost 5% in our country. So that’s why they usually don’t become effective and proficient users of the language even after several years of passing courses in academies and institutions. Thus considering these facts, what proficiency means, outside of the class, they have almost no opportunity of using their English, rather they are mostly the recipients of it, like watching movies, reading stories, listening to music, searching in social media to exchange some ideas to some extent. So as I have learned from this course and is very interesting is being a learner actually defines us as being a user from the beginning to the end since language learning is a skill and should be developed over time through consistent practice and using it.
25 February 2021 at 4:28 pm #5333Richard ZadoriMember
To me proficiency means the following idea: expressing yourself 100%-ly, understand everything 100%-ly, getting familiar with the major accents and dialect of the language and adjust to it if needed.
I have developed my English to a level even natives think I am one of them.
When I talk to, for instance, a native British lad or lass, they instantly ask me: ‘You from Yorkshire?’.
And I always have to ‘let ’em down’ by stating ‘Nae, Hungarian, me, born and bred, eh.’
Than they tend not to believe me… 🙁
1 May 2021 at 3:32 pm #5423Abdulsalam AderibigbeMember
As a linguist and an English language teacher in Nigeria, I believe Winddowson definition of “proficiency” is relative based on the environment of the language learner. To some, it would mean the ability to read, write, speak and understand a target language which may be at the beginner’s level, intermediate or advance. To other’s it may mean some partial command of the target language which are largely characterized by the influence of the L1 or other languages in the learners environment.
In my own opinion, if we must maintain the true nature of proficiency, we must stick to the former as it is difficult to determine the level of ones mastery of the language if we go by the latter.
8 May 2021 at 1:31 pm #5449Josephine RicciMember
Proficiency is an aspect of English learning that is ongoing especially as a L2 learner. It is important to learn, use and practice English from various mediums such as classroom, social outings, internet, movies. Learners are exposed to diverse forms of English and need to be learned. Also, learning can only take place if there is motivation, and a positive attitude.
20 May 2021 at 1:47 am #5464Alex FerreiraMember
what ‘proficiency’ means, given that learners inevitably construct their own English;
~ In my opinion, proficiency would be the ability, and skill that the student develops his idea and grammar during a conversation. As teachers we could help them with the mistaked that they did.
27 June 2021 at 11:39 pm #5488Mustapha MourchidMember
Context plays an important role in learning English, in that it helps learners encounter real English as spoken in reality. I think that students should be encouraged to learn English outside the classroom, which will help them develop their own sociolinguistic awareness.
28 June 2021 at 11:11 am #5489Eleni VerikakiMember
By proficiency, we do not necessarily mean how close to a native speaker the learner’s English may be, but how the learner uses the language to communicate effectively and efficiently and to express their identity and their purposes. We use “proficiency” in a plurilithic communicative way rather than in a monolithic way, where only the standard form of English is accepted.
24 July 2021 at 1:33 am #5524Saul SantosMember
This unit has given me a lot to think about.
To me, interlanguage is a foundational construct in SLA theory and has played an important rolein LT. I had never thought about the ‘inter’ bit in the word, as meaning a bridge between the L1? and the idealized L2. To me the appealing part of the concept was the idea of a system generated by the learner in constant change and revision, now I see that from the interlanguage theory viewpoint, that change goes in the direction of an idealized version of the target language. The alternative term for the system crated by the learner/user of the language is language; the difference between the learner and user is blurred, the user is a learner, and the learner is a user, each one developes an internal system in their own way, everchanging: spirallanguage…
I also like the idea of proficiency advanced by Widdowson. Instead, we should be taking about ‘efficiency’, ‘communicativility’: an efficient user in terms of functionality, task accomplishment.
Oh my God, al my ELT key meanings are being shattered!!!! I am looking forward to reading the next unit.
24 July 2021 at 1:37 am #5525Saul SantosMember
This reply is for the first comment in the forum:
All the activities suggested here are excellent ideas to bringing the outside world into the classroom, but I see then more suitable for students with more ample linguistic repertoirs. I think it is also worth thinking about ideas to be used with students with very limited experience with the target language. I am also thinking about classrooms of other languages, minority languages (such as indigenous languages) where resources are more limited. Losts of work need to be done!
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Saul Santos.
27 August 2021 at 7:44 am #5571Neill PorteousMember
Proficiency will depend on context. Sometimes just being able to communicate using your full language repertoire, as well as body language (translanguaging) is all that is needed. For others who want to use the language for work – an adherence to the monolithic ‘native speaker’ English will likely be required by potential employers. Or the ability to pass a standardized English test will be all that is needed. From my experience, these individuals are excellent test takers but often struggle to communicate well.
16 September 2021 at 3:10 pm #5602Manuel CadedduMember
(The contexts in which your students encounter and use English outside the classroom, and how you might build on these English experiences in classroom learning activities.)
Students encounter English more and more in the virtual world, as they use the internet every day to play, buy, read, watch, etc. Of course, they still go on holiday or meet the chance tourist asking for directions in their own city, but I think online input prevails. In any case, they will encounter versions of English different from what they find in their textbooks.
As a teacher, I’d like to use this input to compare forms found in the real world with forms found in books, stressing differences and similarities. This kind of reflection on language could help them both to improve their academic English and their communication skills in the real world.
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