David Hayes

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Rules of speaking are complex and often differ from language to language Native speakers of a language only acquire proficiency in their use after years of socialisation in the language environment. For foreign learners of that language to be equally adept they would generally need to have extensive knowledge of the language and the target culture allied to years of experience within it. Yet most learners of a foreign language will never be able to acquire such knowledge and, indeed, most of them will never need to. This is particularly true of the vast majority of FL learners in schools. In addition, the majority of non-native-speaking teachers of English will themselves be far from "communicatively competent" in the language. How, then, should the teaching of rules of speaking be approached? This article investigates some rules of speaking for English and their representations in two textbooks. From this analysis general criteria are deduced for the handling of rules of speaking in classes. Some training activities to sensitise non-native-speaking teachers to the complexities of rules of speaking for English are then presented, with an emphasis being placed on a skills-based approach. It is also argued that some of these activities can be equally valid if adapted for use in schools.



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