One of the best ways to acquire language


I am convinced that one of the best ways to acquire language is to become involved in a conversation that matters. I observed my students in class today doing just that. They did all the exercises in the book and got all the questions right. They appeared to understand the use of the present perfect tense very well (e.g. I have finished the exercise). However, when they spoke in conversation, the present perfect tense was never used, even when it was obvious they should have been using it. Only after a great deal of practice – answering questions like “Have you ever eaten..?” did they even realize that they should be using this tense in their speech. After much discussion of witchetty grubs and various unmentionable parts of animal anatomy, they warmed to the discussion AND started to say “I have eaten …). It will be interesting to see if they use the present perfect tense when they speak tomorrow! What do you think?

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One Response to “One of the best ways to acquire language”

  1. Neil Barker Says:

    Agreed. Sometimes I see the textbook conversation examples as being too dry in content. I like to have students practice once or twice, and underline the main structure of the dialogue. Next, I tell them to use their own examples. The conversation practice usually leads into 5-10 minute conversation that sounds much more natural.

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