Developing Professional-Level Language Proficiency by Betty Lou Leaver, Boris Shekhtman

By Betty Lou Leaver, Boris Shekhtman

This publication examines methods to instructing scholars who goal to take the plunge from "advanced" or "superior" skillability in a international language to "near-native" skill. whereas there are an abundance of courses on lecture room ideas and strategies for reduce degrees of guide, virtually not anything exists in regards to the transition, that is important when you intend to exploit international languages in high-level arenas. Compiled through best practitioners during this zone of international language instructing, the booklet fills the space for these constructing courses on the "advanced to special" point.

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The high-CF student who is operating at the Superior level (Level 3) in focusing on the “what” or the ideational plane of communication may still exhibit relatively low levels of sociolinguistic and sociocultural competence. Distinguished-level students have an even stronger ideational focus. At the same time, they have nearly full access to the mechanical aspects of the language, choosing to pay attention to language mechanics when they want to sound erudite, need to make a point very precisely (as is the case of people who must negotiate intergovernmental agreements), are talking with someone with lesser language skills but for whom the target language serves as the lingua franca, are preparing an article for publication, are giving a lecture to a group of native speakers, or are serving as a high-level interpreter or translator, among many situations in which precision in word choice and structure is essential.

Further, an increasingly smaller and more global world means that there will be an increasing need for higher levels of foreign language proficiency in future years than ever before. The issues that will be important to educating all students successfully at these levels will reflect the changes in teaching approaches at lower levels. These approaches will influence the ways in which teachers teach Superior-level students. Issues in teaching at the Superior level An educational philosophy of transaction has moved the goal of teaching from developing linguistic knowledge to being able to accomplish tasks, with or without a linguistic base.

Together, these issues require decisions on curricular sequencing and on suitable instructional interventions in order to avoid premature stabilization of interlanguage forms (Byrnes [2001b]; Byrnes and Kord [2001]; Doughty [1998]; Doughty and Williams [1998]). In light of these considerations as well as my experiences and insights in conjunction with the comprehensive curriculum renewal project in my home department, the German Department at Georgetown University,2 I begin by characterizing what I take to be the prevailing view of “advancedness” in foreign language education (FLED).

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