I’m standing outside the classroom, looking in at my students as they chat. Am I teaching? Yes.
What exactly does it mean to “teach,” then? Traditionally, we think that we are teaching if we are giving knowledge or information to students. Nowadays, however, we believe that a teacher’s job is to help the students learn. Often, the best way to do that is to allow students to learn things by themselves. We all know that real experiences are the best way to remember and understand!
There are two key parts to good speaking: fluency and accuracy. Fluency means that you can speak smoothly without stopping to think. Accuracy means speaking correctly (grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, etc). We need both for good speaking! The problem is that we can’t practice both at the same time. For example, imagine my student is speaking and I interrupt him/her to correct some grammar. Now the student’s sentence is accurate – but I have killed the fluency (because I stopped the sentence).
So, we need to practice fluency and accuracy separately. At REV, some activities will be accuracy practice – the teacher will listen carefully and help you make good sentences. Other activities will be fluency practice – the teacher will stand back and let you focus on communicating with your classmates. As you practice more and more, you will eventually be able to do both at the same time!
So, take a second look at this picture. What are my students doing? Why am I standing outside the classroom?