ERIC Number: ED187148
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Reference Count: 0
Why Speak if You Don't Need To? The Case for a Listening Approach to Beginning Foreign Language Learning. CATESOL Occasional Papers, No. 5.
Gary, Judith Olmsted
The rationale for delayed oral practice in language teaching is that the same rules underlie both speaking and listening and that the student has to understand how a language works before being capable of creating a sentence in the language. Having to focus on speaking performance as well as on listening comprehension distracts the learner from the main objective of understanding the language system underlying what is heard. Many learners are embarrassed or fearful of speaking, thus reducing concentration and effectiveness in language learning. Delayed oral practice overcomes these two obstacles to some extent. There are also advantages having to do with efficiency and utility. The learner can be exposed to more of the target language in less time if he or she is not required to retrieve it verbally. The need for listening skills exceeds the need for speaking skills, even in ordinary conversation. Therefore, it seems more useful to first develop listening skills and to require various types of non-verbal responses. A review of past and ongoing research, much of it pertaining to adults, provides support for the view that language learners not required to speak immediately make more significant gains. These gains are apparent in reading, writing, and speaking as well as in listening comprehension compared to those students required to speak right away in a typical audio-lingual approach. (AMH)
Descriptors: Adult Students, Audiolingual Methods, Audiolingual Skills, Language Research, Language Skills, Listening Comprehension, Listening Skills, Literature Reviews, Postsecondary Education, Second Language Instruction, Second Language Learning, Skill Development, Speech Communication, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: California Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.