Fluency is a slippery concept: we think we know it when we hear it, but we have a lot of trouble trying to define it. And even more trouble trying to teach it! Various contributing factors have been proposed, including speech rate, lack of pausing, accent, vocabulary range, idiomaticity and grammatical accuracy but it’s not always clear which of these factors are key, nor which are teachable. In this talk we will together assess a speaker’s fluency, and then address the difference between ‘productive fluency’ and ‘perceptive fluency’ – that is, the impression speakers give that they are fluent even if their overall language competence is relatively low. Finally we will look at how these ideas might impact on classroom teaching.
Scott Thornbury’s Bio
Scott is a teacher and teacher educator, with over 30 years’ experience in English language teaching, and an MA from the University of Reading. His previous experience includes teaching and teacher training in Egypt, UK, Spain (where he lives), and in his native New Zealand. His writing credits include several award-winning books for teachers on language and methodology, as well as authoring a number of papers and book chapters on language and language teaching. He is the series editor for the Cambridge Handbooks for Teachers (CUP). He was also the co-founder of the dogmeELT group.