Proficiency and Fluency are the natural use of language that occurs when a speaker takes part in meaningful interaction and maintains communication despite inaccuracy. They often require negotiation of meaning and address misunderstandings.
Accuracy focuses on correct use of language and structures.
Activities in the foreign language classroom tend to fall into these two categories.
Taking the key words from these activity descriptions, we can see that Proficiency-Based Activities focus on meaningful communication, employ strategies to navigate unpredictable language, use language in context, and don’t use dictated structures. Accuracy-Based Activities focus on small amounts of correct language used out of context, use dictated structures and don’t focus on communication.
Where does this leave us, given that accurate language is needed to communicate in context? I believe that there is a place for both types of activities in the foreign language classroom. Traditional teaching methods have focused most attention on accuracy of language at the expense of proficiency and fluency. In the communicative language classroom instruction should provide a balanced approach that gives students opportunities to build proficiency, while at the same time tending to the accuracy of their language.
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