Edited By Christiane Dalton-Puffer and Ute Smit
Claudia Mewald - A comparison of oral foreign language performance of learners in CLIL and in mainstream classes at lower secondary level in Lower Austria 139
A comparison of oral foreign language performance of learners in CLIL and in mainstream classes at lower secondary level in Lower Austria Claudia Mewald If language were totally predictable, communication would be unnec- essary (i.e. if I know in advance what you are going to say, then there is no point in my listening to you). If language were totally unpredict- able, communication could probably not occur. (Nunan 1995:42) 1. Introduction Looking at classroom communication we find that quite frequently it seems to reflect the described predictable scenario although Nunan sug- gests that "most interactions can be placed on a continuum from relatively predictable to relatively unpredictable." However, while real life seems to encourage the continuum, educational settings often seem to tend towards predictability. Asked for their reasons why they favour predictable situa- tions, teachers often justifY their cautiousness with the aim to avoid mis- takes through restricting themselves to the structures or phrases already practised. Not only do teachers stick to language already used, they also seem to keep the learners away from situations which would require them to understand and/or use new language. As a consequence, the questions asked and the answers as well as the language to be used are of a kind that does not offer surprises. This holds particularly true for foreign language (FL) lessons, where learners often find themselves put into artificial situa- tions which require them to speak about the most obvious things such as asking for each other's names even if...
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