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Fluentzy.com > English > Fluency Facts > Feedback, not as important or practical in fluency...
  Back to index of questions   Fluency Facts >> 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15    
  Answer to Q10.
Feedback, not as important or practical in fluency training as in other subjects of study

 Q10. If an instructor does not get feedback of my work from me, and if I don't get feedback of my performance and progress from the instructor, can the fluency training I get be effective?
  Fluency work doesn't normally need correction by an instructor
  Speaker is total master of language manipulation
  Self-evaluation: Best-suited to fluency training
       Self-evaluation is what's really important
       Self-evaluation is what's really possible

Yes, it can. Your fluency training can be really effective without feedback.

This is an important point. So please listen with all your attention.

Here's something you must understand first: You see, in fluency training, the role of instructor-learner interaction is not important. And so, fluency learners won't need personal counselling and guidance from an instructor. No, they won't.

Fluency work doesn't normally need correction by an instructor
Now, remember this: We're speaking about fluency, and not about a subject like mathematics or computer programming or machine repair.

When you learn a subject like mathematics or computer programming or machine repair, you'll need to interact with a teacher from time to time. The reason is this: In subjects like these, even the smallest thing you do has to be according to a rigid framework - a framework that you're not free to modify to suit your convenience. And such frameworks are not only rigid, but also externally imposed - that is, they come from sources outside your own mind. In subjects like these, you have to follow principles, rules, concepts, formulas and procedures that others have set, and you are not free to deviate from them or to adapt them to different conditions and circumstances as those conditions and circumstances occur. So in subjects like these, you'll need a teacher's help and guidance from time to time. In subjects like these, teachers may have to get feedback on your work, so that they can tell you where you've gone wrong and why, how well or badly you've been doing, and how you could improve.

But when you learn a practical skill like fluency, the position is quite different. You see, when you learn a practical skill like fluency, there are no rigid frameworks that you have to follow compulsorily. Whatever frameworks you may happen to follow are those that you yourself decide on according to your convenience - as you speak on. And you're free to adapt and modify them to suit your speech-composition needs from moment to moment. Whatever external constraints may happen to be there are not of a rigid nature, but are quite flexible. And anybody who has learnt fluency techniques can deal with those constraints in a number of different ways according to their convenience. This is so about all externally imposed constraints in spontaneous speech - constraints imposed by the content as well as form, semantic and syntactic constraints, lexical and grammatical constraints, and constraints imposed by verbal and situational contexts.

Speaker is total master of language manipulation
You see, it's not as though you can only compose a long stretch of spontaneous speech by a single method. Each learner is free to compose it in any of the several ways they find convenient.

Also, a natural speech-situation is ever alive, fluctuating and open-ended. And there are no restrictions or limits set in advance on the way speakers can give shape to their speech units and organize these speech units into a spoken text. And speakers themselves are the only people who'll be able to decide what restrictions or limits they should set on things as they speak on, and how they should keep adapting their speech units to the speech situations from moment to moment.

So when you learn a practical skill like fluency, you don't have to solve any problem of a mathematical or machine-related type or of a manual or technical type - especially, a problem that can only have one answer or solution. So the question of accuracy (in the sense of mathematical accuracy) and the need for correction of mistakes (by a teacher) do not arise at all.

The only question of accuracy that can be thought of in fluency training is the question of grammatical accuracy or word-related accuracy of an elementary type. Here, you should note two things: First, the Fluentzy books are meant for people who already know English, and not for beginners. Even then, they deal extensively and thoroughly with various aspects of grammar and vocabulary that would help them in spontaneous speech production. (The Fluentzy books do these things from the fluency development angle). Second, anybody can easily sort out all grammatical and word-related difficulties on their own with the help of a modern dictionary.

So in fluency training, the question of learners needing to get their work corrected by an instructor doesn't arise - in the way that this question arises when you're learning other subjects or skills.

People who buy the Fluentzy books are those who are very keen to become fluent. They're people who are willing to really learn and to make enough effort themselves. And they're adults, and not children. And so, most of them don't need encouraging comments or critical remarks on their work by an instructor in order to motivate them, or to reinforce their learning or to prevent them from making mistakes.

Self-evaluation: Best-suited to fluency training
You see, what is important when you learn a skill involving mental abilities like fluency development is how you rate your own performance and progress - and not how an instructor evaluates them.

     Self-evaluation is what's really important
When you falter, and are not able to speak English fluently, you know you're not speaking fluently at that point of time. And if you've had fluency training, you'll know why you've faltered, what you can do about it on the spot (to prevent the speech from breaking up), whether you falter often for the same reason, and what aspect of the fluency training has to be focused on. 

When you speak fluently, you know you're speaking fluently. And when you falter, you know you're faltering. Of course, others may not always notice that you've faltered - unless you've faltered in a very obvious way. And even if they do, they won't know why, and won't be able to tell you why.

This is because the process that results in spontaneous speech is a series of actions that take place in your mind - such as the moment-to-moment mental planning, monitoring, improvisations and editing of your idea units and the moment-to-moment mental organization of a series of idea units into a spoken text. This process happens in a way that others can't see or notice. So nobody, but you, will be able to spot what went wrong with that mental process. Others will only be able to speculate. But you know why. Your mind would know why - if you've had fluency training.

That's why, as far as educated adult learners of fluency are concerned, any feedback they may send to an instructor by turning in written work, and any feedback they may get back after evaluation, scoring and grading from the instructor won't be of much value. What'll be of real value is what the learners themselves find out. But this itself will only be possible when they've trained themselves in fluency techniques.

     Self-evaluation is what's really possible
Actually, what is truly possible in fluency training is self-evaluation by the learners themselves, and not by an instructor.

You see, while your training progresses, at some point along the way, you'll notice that you've started being able to compose your speech and speak at the same time - in most of the real-life situations you face. Yes, at some point along the way, you'll notice that you're able to do this almost consistently - with success most of the time. This point is the fluency threshold. That is the point or level at which you start being able to deal with hesitations successfully and to prevent hesitations from causing your speech to collapse. It is only when you've reached the fluency threshold that you can call yourself fluent. You see, only you will be able to tell whether you've reached that threshold level, because you are the only person who can say how you've been mentally processing what to say and saying it in each of the real-life situations you face every day.

Now, you should note that the fluency threshold is not a definitely identifiable point or level. Rather it's an indeterminate point - and nobody will be able to say where exactly it is. Even you yourself will not be able to point to a particular speech situation or to a particular point in that speech situation and say that that was the occasion when you started speaking quite fluently for the first time. So even for the speaker, the fluency threshold is an indeterminate point or level. So you can imagine how much more difficult it'd be for someone else to decide if you've reached the fluency threshold - or when. You know, consistency or near consistency is the true test. That is, you can only say that you've reached the fluency threshold level if you can speak easily and effortlessly nearly every time you express yourself.

Once you've reached the fluency threshold, you're on the path to reaching higher and higher levels of fluency. And there's no such level as the ultimate level, because fluency is an ever-expanding skill. And if you want to reach higher and higher levels of fluency, fluency techniques are the things you should keep on applying to speech situations.

So remember this: The sort of learner-evaluation that is most suited to fluency development training is self-evaluation, and not an evaluation by another person like a teacher. And so, self-evaluation is the type of evaluation the Fluentzy system has adopted.


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