English As A Second Language

An Advanced English Course for Foreign Students by Brian Kelly

By Brian Kelly

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Principles and practices in teaching Superior-level language 27 Discourse competence. Discourse competence at the Superior level means the ability to understand and construct full texts. At Distinguished levels, those texts can be very long manuscripts, as in the case of reading or writing books or dissertations. Professional redaction activity might also be expected from a Level 4 in limited environments. Discourse competence is needed both for handling lengthy texts, which usually have a different structure from the shorter texts used at lower levels of proficiency, and for producing texts that include all the communication management devices and discourse devices present in literary and professional texts produced by native speakers.

Again, the vast majority of research on these variables has been conducted on groups of students with mixed backgrounds and at lower levels of proficiency. In our seventeen-year experience in extensive and intensive work with Superiorlevel students, learners at this level, especially those studying in courses and groups, tend to have a different set of anxieties, most of which are more closely tied to linguistic aspects of job performance than to the intellectual risktaking required of language learning in general.

Second, this approach defines the mutual tasks of a student and language instructor: to reduce the number of Type 2 mistakes, to make Type 3 patterns more automatic, and to introduce a specified quantity of new grammar patterns to a student. The fluency level of Advanced-High students, while by definition strong, depends to a great extent on the method used in their previous classrooms. Students trained in grammar–translation or cognitive code approaches to language teaching tend to sacrifice fluency for accuracy.

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