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Is fluency being ‘neglected’ in the classroom? Teacher understanding of fluency and related classroom practices

Tavakoli, P. and Hunter, A.-M. (2018) Is fluency being ‘neglected’ in the classroom? Teacher understanding of fluency and related classroom practices. Language Teaching Research, 22 (3). pp. 330-349. ISSN 1477-0954

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1177/1362168817708462

Abstract/Summary

This paper reports on a study examining second language (L2) teachers’ understanding of speech fluency and their self-reported classroom practices for promoting it. Qualitative and quantitative data collected from 84 L2 teachers in England were analysed to answer the research questions. In addition to the descriptive statistics and lexical frequency analysis used to explore teacher understanding of fluency, Rossiter, Derwing, Manimtim and Thomson’s (2010) framework was employed to analyse the teachers’ reported classroom practices. The results suggest that teachers often define fluency in a broad sense, with many using fluency and speaking ability interchangeably. Similarly, a large majority of the activities reported by the teachers were useful for enhancing speaking practice rather than focussing on fluency specifically. The findings underline the interaction between teacher understanding of fluency and their classroom practice (Borg, 2003), and highlight a mismatch between what fluency research recommends and what teachers do in class. Though the study highlights the complex and multifaceted nature of L2 oral fluency, we argue that adopting a narrower and more focused definition of fluency could help teachers take a more active and practical approach to promoting it in the classroom.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > International Study and Language Institute (ISLI)
ID Code:70038
Publisher:Sage

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