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Fluency versus literacy: A case of discordance between learning and teaching expectations, and perceptions of teaching

Hélène Jaccomard
Department of European Languages and Studies, The University of Western Australia
Students' expectations of their own performance and their perception of teaching affect their results in any discipline. When they enrol in French at The University of Western Australia, as in any language course, students expect to become fluent speakers of French. Over the years students often express feelings of disappointment with their oral skills. They tend to ascribe the discrepancy between their expectations and their 'poor' results, to teachers emphasising literacy over fluency ('too much grammar, too many lectures"). However fluency and literacy are not opposite ends of a spectrum, and students' perception of teaching is not necessarily accurate.

Irrespective of whether universities, by providing an artificial but safe learning setting, can or can not fill students' expectations, and whether students' fluency is indeed poor, teachers need to do three things: firstly equip students with a meta-language to recognise the nexus between fluency and literacy; secondly state courses' objectives clearly - for instance that teaching will encompass all four integrated language sub-skills, and finally ensure that courses' configuration do concur to those objectives and their accurate perception by students.

Please cite as: Jaccomard, H. (2003). Fluency versus literacy: A case of discordance between learning and teaching expectations, and perceptions of teaching. In Partners in Learning. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, 11-12 February 2003. Perth: Edith Cowan University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/jaccomard-abs.html


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Last revision: 14 Jan 2003. This URL: http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf2003/abstracts/jaccomard-abs.html