Episode 12: A Performance-based Approach to Language Learning

LYE's Leo and Andrew jumped across the atlantic recently to attend the annual ELT conference at International House, Barcelona. Teacher Talking Time is happy to present a mini series chronicling their travels, the conference, and all teaching related (and some non-teaching related) takeaways from the journey.

The final installment looks at Scott Thornbury's plenary on a performance-based approach to language teaching. Mike, Leo, and Andrew ponder the differences between competence and performance, or, as Chomsky says, the difference between "knowing" about a language and the ability to put it in to use. The guys then discuss if it's important for teachers to distinguish between the two, and what impact that has - or should have - on the classroom. They also wonder why many curriculum and syllabi do not focus much on performance (as Thornbury defines it) and what the implications of that are. 

This episode also includes some interviews with teachers and soundbites of speakers from the International House Conference. It ends with the boys answering rapid fire questions on re-thinking the use of performance in the classroom and perhaps why the industry has strayed slightly - and, of course, how to get back on track. 

As always, thank you for listening. If you like the show, consider subscribing on Spotify, iTunes, or Google Podcasts and sharing it with a friend. If you have a comment or question about today's show, we'd love to hear from you: info@learnyourenglish.com 

Show Notes:

What's the difference between competence and performance? - 5:30

Chomsky's Distinction between competence and performance - 11:50

Errors: Competence or Performance? - 15:00

Performance, Syllabi, and Marketing - 22:30

Interview with teachers from Ukraine - 32:40

What makes a good production stage? - 40:00

Adding psychological stress to the classroom - 43:30

Rapid Fire Questions -  52:05

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Andrew Woodbury