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Bridging Communication Gaps: Strategies for Success A Plenary Presentation at the conference on English for Communication: Building Bridges for Success.

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Presentation on theme: "Bridging Communication Gaps: Strategies for Success A Plenary Presentation at the conference on English for Communication: Building Bridges for Success."— Presentation transcript:

1 Bridging Communication Gaps: Strategies for Success A Plenary Presentation at the conference on English for Communication: Building Bridges for Success Quetzaltenango, Guatemala Kathleen M. Bailey Monterey Institute of International Studies

2 Bridging Communication Gaps: Strategies for Success Abriendo juntos un mundo de opportunidades

3 Bridging Communication Gaps: Strategies for Success Many thanks to Brenda, Cris and Tyler, and all the conference organizers at IGA XELA at IGA XELA Father Guzmán & the staff at Liceo Guatemala Ana Sylvia, Cynthia, German and Don Luis at IGA GUATEMALA

4 Accuracy, Fluency, and Proficiency Accuracy: speaking with “correct” grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc.; applying the rules of English Fluency: speaking fluidly, confidently and at an appropriate pace, pausing at expected points

5 Accuracy, Fluency, and Proficiency Proficiency: Speaking in a wide range of contexts, combining accuracy and fluency while speaking. Proficiency permits fluid, confident, “correct” speech at an appropriate pace, with pauses at expected points.

6 Accuracy, Fluency, and Proficiency A CCURACY + FLUENCY = PROFICIENCY PROFICIENCY

7 Accuracy, Fluency, and Proficiency At beginning and intermediate levels, efforts to speak accurately and fluently often work against each another.

8 Risk-taking Risk-taking: Choosing a course of action when the outcome is uncertain. The result may or may not be successful, so we must choose…

9 Risk-taking Choose to take the risk -- and maybe fail somehow, or… Choose not to take the risk – and maybe miss an opportunity.

10 Risk-taking There are risks when we communicate in a second for foreign language:  Missed opportunities  Embarrassment and loss of face and loss of face  Offending someone  Miscommunication and misunderstanding and misunderstanding

11 Risk-taking English sayings that link water and risk-taking  Don’t change horses in the middle of the stream. of the stream.  Don’t make waves.  Don’t rock the boat.

12 Risk-taking  You’re getting into muddy water.  Don’t get bogged down.  I’m up a creek without a paddle.  You’re on thin ice.

13 Communication Strategies What are they? Procedures language learners use to make up for gaps in their knowledge and skill with the second or foreign language they are learning…

14 Communication Strategies …Learners’ efforts …Learners’ efforts to communicate successfully without to communicate successfully without the linguistic tools needed to do so. the linguistic tools needed to do so. Communication strategies help learners bridge the gap between what they can say and what they want to say.

15 Communication Strategies 1. Paraphrase 2. Borrowing 3. Appeal for Assistance 4. Mime 5. Avoidance

16 Communication Strategies 1. PARAPHRASE 1-A. Approximation: Use of a single word which is not correct but which shares semantic features (for example, “The car is, uh, stop in the mud” – using “stop” instead of “stuck”)

17 Communication Strategies 1. PARAPHRASE 1-B. Word Coinage: Making up a new word (“air ball” for “balloon”) 1-C. Circumlocution: Description of an action, or of a thing’s function or characteristics (for example, “the thing that makes your hair hot” for “hair dryer”)

18 Communication Strategies 2. BORROWING 2-A. Literal Translation: The learner translates literally word for word from translates literally word for word from his first language (for example, “he his first language (for example, “he became smoke” for “he disappeared”) became smoke” for “he disappeared”)

19 Communication Strategies 2. BORROWING 2-B. Language Switch: The learner uses a native language term while speaking the native language term while speaking the foreign language (for example, “The car foreign language (for example, “The car is stop, uh, in the, in the, uh, lodo”) is stop, uh, in the, in the, uh, lodo”)

20 Communication Strategies 3. APPEAL FOR ASSISTANCE The learner asks for the word, the spelling, or the structure that he doesn’t know (“What is this? What is it called? Can you spell it please?”)

21 Communication Strategies 4. MIME The learner uses nonverbal methods to convey his meaning (for example, by clapping his hands to illustrate the word “applaud”)

22 Communication Strategies 5. MESSAGE AVOIDANCE 5-A. Topic Avoidance: The learner doesn’t talk about doesn’t talk about topics for which he topics for which he lacks the grammar lacks the grammar or the vocabulary or the vocabulary

23 Communication Strategies 5. MESSAGE AVOIDANCE 5-B. Message Abandonment: The learner stops talking if he lacks the vocabulary or the grammar. (Topic avoidance and message abandonment are really the opposite of communicating. They are decisions NOT to communicate.) (Topic avoidance and message abandonment are really the opposite of communicating. They are decisions NOT to communicate.)

24 Communication Strategies Think about a time when you used communication strategies to continue a conversation.  What were you trying to say?  What strategy did you use?  What was the result?

25 Communication Strategies Communication strategies help students Communication strategies help students  Continue a conversation when they don’t know the words and/or structures  Convey their ideas and understand others people’s ideas  Get more input and have more interaction with English speakers

26 Communication Strategies Communication strategies help students Communication strategies help students  Gain confidence in speaking  Increase their fluency  Appear interested in communicating  Learn target language vocabulary and structures and structures

27 What Teachers Can Do Set up activities that involve students taking limited risks in a safe and supportive classroom environment Set up activities that involve students taking limited risks in a safe and supportive classroom environment

28 What Teachers Can Do Use pair work and group work without pre-teaching unknown vocabulary Use pair work and group work without pre-teaching unknown vocabulary

29 What Teachers Can Do Do role plays with a “twist” (where something unexpected occurs) Do role plays with a “twist” (where something unexpected occurs)

30 What Teachers Can Do Encourage learners to go further Encourage learners to go further and say more during speaking turns and say more during speaking turns

31 What Teachers Can Do Help learners deal with anxiety and past frustrations, in order to build confidence.  That’s water under the bridge.  That’s all water over the dam.  It’s like water off a duck’s back.

32 What Teachers Can Do Don’t penalize students for using their first language. If they need to do so, encourage them to speak in their mother tongue first, and then in English.

33 What Teachers Can Do Plan fluency-oriented activities. Limit correction during fluency activities.

34 What Teachers Can Do Help learners deal with barriers to frustration so they won’t give up. Languagelearning takes time….

35 What Teachers Can Do …And the outcome is not always certain – either in an individual conversation or in the long run.

36 What Teachers Can Do Share your own language learning experiences and efforts to communicate with your learners. You are their role model. Your history can be helpful to them.

37 What Teachers Can Do Encourage learners to try using communication strategies.   Go on --- get your feet wet   Take the plunge

38 What Teachers Can Do Give learners practice conveying the same message in different ways:  Approximation  Word coinage  Circumlocution

39 What Teachers Can Do  Literal translation  Language switch  Appeal for assistance  Mime

40 What Teachers Can Do Help students to see language learning as a bridge to a possible future…

41 What Teachers Can Do …Whether that may be a future in  Education  Agriculture  Business  Industry  Tourism  Social work….

42 Parting Thoughts For reference lists on teaching speaking and pronunciation, pronunciation, and also on professional development, visit my website: (Click on “Resources” then “References”)

43 Parting Thoughts Thank you for your time and your attention. Enjoy this wonderful conference!


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