The most important goal of learning a second language is to develop a “successful” communication with people who speak that language. There are some elements that contribute to a successful communication. The most important elements are efficiency and accuracy, especially when you want to pass the information/knowledge through the conversation. For beginner, listening and speaking are expected to be the starting points, allowing learners to use (or practice) the second language in daily-life situation. Here are three stages that may give you a clear picture on making progress in improving oral conversational skills. You may also use the stages to evaluate your current language proficiency in oral conversation:.
1. Narration and description: Participate in a simple conversation by asking and answering questions
Use words or short sentence to narrate or describe things/events happen in past, present and future. This is the basic stage for second language learners. In order to narrate or describe a thing/event, a learner is not required to use sophisticate sentence structures or grammatically-correct sentence but he/she needs to capture the topic, purpose and key information of the conversation, for example, if the conversation is launched to discuss about “school life”, the learner should be able to use words and sentences related to the topic like books, teachers, reading, classroom, boring, exciting, etc.
2. Report and instructions: narrate, describe, compare in all time frames
Move to this stage, learners will gain advance skills in narrating, describing or offering instructions with the information they have. To practice for this stage, imagining you are reporting news on TV. You not only need to use words to describe but you have to tell people more details like where, when, who, what, how in chorionic orders. You may need to use more sentences and sometimes transition words between the sentences to deliver the information in a conversation. To enhance oral conversational skills in this stage, learners will be trained to organize the information and get familiar with the usage of transition words/sentences in the discourse.
3. Hypothesize and abstractions: discuss concrete/abstract issues and extend conversation.
In this stage, learners are expected to give assumptions and predictions to support their statements. Learners that aim to reach this state need to practice discussing concrete and abstract issues and handling a linguistically unfamiliar situation. For example. in your opinion, what is the place and the importance of reading in contemporary life? What needs to be noted is that the tasks in this stage is for adults since younger speakers don’t necessarily have the conceptual abilities required.
The tips and strategies provided here are more applicable for learners who already have some basic skills in second language. (Reference taken from ACTFL).
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