Conversation Instead of Classroom Time

  • Length: 1 pages
  • Sources: 1
  • Subject: Education (general)
  • Paper: #16657997
  • Related Topics: Language Acquisition

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Is Talk Cheap?

The feedback that these Spanish learners received in the course of a conversation with a native speaker may have contributed to increased noticing, attention, and intake on the part of the language learner precisely because it was in a real-world situation and not in learning lab. Practice makes perfect is the saying, and learning on the job is a common enough practice that the expression is also popular. Language learners learn best when they are obliged to actually use the language and start to make sense of it. However, getting good feedback helps and in this case it helped because it was instructive in that it brought to the attention of the language learners mistakes they were making in a real-world way, which is shown by Call and Sotillo (1995). By engaging directly with another person, they make themselves open to feedback in a way that they are not really doing when they are exercising in the classroom. It is a totally different environment and therefore a totally different experience. The benefits are that the feedback hits more deeply and the student becomes more aware of how he is using language.

In a lab, this type of feedback might only apply to a test or to an assignment and therefore carry less weight than it would if it came from a real-world person who could deliver a much greater lesson simply by engaging in conversation with a language learner and giving feedback that could improve their skills. It is no different from a friend offering advice or from an apprentice learning a new job from an old master. The act of being part of a real experience like a conversation makes the lesson so much more vital and allows the feedback exchange to be so much more meaningful in this sense that it is no surprise that language learners learn more deeply from this type of experience than they in a classroom.


Call, M.E., & Stillo, S.M. (1995). Is talk cheap? The role of conversation in the acquisition…

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