Professional Development

Theresa Clementson – Towards effortless fluency for your high level learners

Lucija Dacic

The first of this week’s webinars focused on extending lexis through and beyond texts as the key to ‘effortless’ fluency, using authentic materials and examples from face2face Second Edition. Using CEF descriptors, Theresa Clementson showed how teachers can bridge the gap between B2 and C1-C2, and how to help students discuss conceptually difficult topics.

Many teachers find teaching advanced learners challenging. It can be difficult to engage them, since they need appropriate cognitive challenges and affective engagement in order to improve. This is why we must provide advanced students with texts that are authentic, complex, and hard to grasp.

At a B2 level, students will be familiar with common forms of words, like ‘normal’, but not with rarer forms, such as ‘normality’. Teachers can introduce students to the different stresses of these less common forms in order to improve their fluency and enrich their vocabulary. You can also introduce advanced learners to prefixes with multiple meanings, such as ‘inter-‘ and ‘counter-’, as well as productive suffixes such as ‘-free’, ‘-ish’, or ‘-proof’. Why not get your advanced students to think of multiple words with these prefixes or suffixes?

You can also improve your students’ fluency by getting them to identify and categorise collocations in authentic texts. Additionally, you can build on collocations in texts by looking at antonyms and how they too can also be used in collocations. Compensating for gaps in your vocabulary and structure is another key skill in sounding fluent; by learning synonyms and antonyms, your students will develop their ability to substitute for terms they don’t know and as a result sound more fluent.

How can you engage your students in these activities? One way is to ask them to find and read articles on a particular theme related to your classroom topic. Alternatively, you can use video to give your students exposure to authentic English texts, then present to the class on what they saw. Role-playing can also help push students outside their usual conversational comfort zone.

Want to find out more about engaging advanced learners, good sources of complex lesson content and the importance of writing in class? Watch the webinar recording below:


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