According to Dr. Cummins and our text book “The concept of conversational fluency refers to “the ability to carry on a conversation in familiar face-to-face situations” (Cummins & Man, 2007, p. 799)” (Honigsfeld & Cohan, 2015)
“Academic language proficiency refers to “the extent to which an individual has access to and command of the oral and written academic registers of schooling” (p. 800), in which register refers to the variety of language used in the context of school.” (Honigsfeld & Cohan, 2015)
“Discrete language skills. Discrete language skills are not directly connected to other language skills. For example, students can learn the names of the letters of the alphabet or can read words written in English but might not know the meaning of what they read.” (Honigsfeld & Cohan, 2015)
As a teacher we must understand the differences because we never want to assume that because a student is able to speak the language without an accent or if they seem to speak fluently that we mistake that with academic language proficiency. This could hurt a student who may be able to speak it really well but can pick out words or even know when to properly use them. “In other words, students may develop conversational skills and might even have a strong command of grammatical structures (such as using the past tense morpheme), yet they do not do well with academic English skills, such as writing an essay or doing an oral presentation in class. Thus, all three types of language skills will need to be developed using appropriate methodologies.” (Honigsfeld & Cohan, 2015)
“Rhythm and Rhyme To improve student fluency within sentences, try doing chants and rhymes as a class. Depending on the age of your students, you may want to go with anything from nursery rhymes to popular poetry or lyrics to current hits. Give each student a copy of the rhyme you will be using. Then stand in front of the class and read the rhyme for them. The next time through, your class should read along with you. Don’t modify your speed or intonation to aid your students. The goal in this activity is for them to keep up with you as you read. This will help them mimic your pace and intonation as you read aloud, which in turn will help them with their fluency when they speak. You can also do this with prose.” (taken from, http://busyteacher.org/15921-improve-student-fluency-5-classroom-activities.html )
This would be great at helping them in their fluency.
Something that you could do for a discrete language skills is to give “all of the directions orally in English, thus causing students to use their listening ability to understand the assignment. In this course, students might discuss their readings, thus employing speaking and listening skills and certain associated skills, such as pronunciation, syntax, and social usage.” (taken from, http://www.ericdigests.org/2002-2/esl.htm )
For a learning activity for academic language proficiency I would try the following.
After identifying critical vocabulary in, say, a persuasive essay unit — convince, reason, counter-argument, etc. — we will pre-teach approximately 20 words, first by reviewing pronunciation, and then by having students . . .
Act out the words in a skit.
Identify a physical gesture for the word (“opinion” might mean pointing to one’s head).
Write definitions of terms using their own words — in English or in their home language.
Create a “word chart” that we will also replicate on the wall. During the unit, students will periodically note when those words are used, and add new ones that they believe are important enough to recognize and remember. (taken from, https://www.edutopia.org/blog/english-language-learners-academic-language-larry-ferlazzo )
Honigsfeld, A & Cohan, A. (2015). Serving English language learners. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education
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