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Moving from B2 to C2

 Language Learning Forum : General discussion Post Reply
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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3615 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 81 of 177
20 February 2015 at 5:08pm | IP Logged 
Ari wrote:
...

Of course, Krashen may be wrong. I'm not a linguist. But I think we can establish that a credible
argument, supported by at least some research, can be made that working with a tutor and getting
your output corrected will not help you get you from a B2 level to a C2 level
. That time is better
spent on reading strategies focused on exposing oneself to the kind of material that will help you
master all kinds of speech and writing.

Again, this may be wrong. I'm not saying I'm sure Krashen is right. But it's not obviously wrong. It
could be right. I personally believe it is, based on my experience. If it is, then learning some explicit
grammar and maybe getting some corrections might help you get better at corrections, meaning you
might spot a few errors you're making, but it will not enhance your base writing skill (i.e. stop you
from making the errors when you're not consciously looking for them). And since speech cannot be
corrected after the fact, it will likely do little good in improving your speaking skills.


Let's put Krashen aside for the moment and look at this question in simple terms. The argument I see
here is that instead of looking at your output with personalized attention from a professional tutor
you should spend more time reading. Well, if this works for this poster, all I can say is be my guest. Go
for it.

I am certainly not against more reading. The only thing that I'm saying, and I'm getting tired of hearing
myself, is that many people, not all obviously, find it very useful and effective to work on their output
with outside help.

I really fail to understand how having one's mistakes corrected "...does little good in improving your
speaking skill." How in the world can you improve if you don't learn from your mistakes?
1 person has voted this message useful



Ari
Heptaglot
Senior Member
Norway
Joined 4767 days ago

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Speaks: Swedish*, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Cantonese
Studies: Czech, Latin, German

 
 Message 82 of 177
20 February 2015 at 7:00pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:
The only thing that I'm saying, and I'm getting tired of hearing myself, is that many people, not all obviously, find it very useful and effective to work on their output with outside help.

I just got into this thread, so sorry if I'm repeating things. I'm just enjoying the theoretical discussion. People can do what they want. But if the comprehension hypothesis is correct, then what people find useful and effective might actually not be so useful and effective after all. Lots of people find healing crystals to be useful and effective, too, after all. But the hypothesis could be wrong, or not apply to all people. And if one is making progress one is probably well advised to keep doing what one is doing. What I'm saying is that maybe the answer to the question "What's the most efficient way to get to a high level?" does not include tutors and corrections.

Quote:
I really fail to understand how having one's mistakes corrected "...does little good in improving your
speaking skill." How in the world can you improve if you don't learn from your mistakes?

By comprehensible input, of course. :) If the hypothesis is correct, then either we don't actually learn from our mistakes, or learning languages is inherently different from other types of learning. I think it's entirely possible that getting corrected does not improve one's speaking. I've always found that we learn a lot more from getting things right than from getting things wrong.
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s_allard
Triglot
Senior Member
Canada
Joined 3615 days ago

2704 posts - 5424 votes 
Speaks: French*, English, Spanish
Studies: Polish

 
 Message 83 of 177
20 February 2015 at 8:03pm | IP Logged 
I think enough time has been already spent on this issue of correction and tutoring. Let's skip the
theoretical debate and look at a concrete example for the OP. Assuming that money is no object and
that our learner has 60 minutes of extra time a week, here are two options:

1. Spend an hour over Skype with a professional tutor reading out aloud, speaking and correcting texts
written by the learner.

2. Read for an extra hour.

What would most people choose? Before we answer, we have to ask a more fundamental question:
What are your goals? Are speaking and writing well your priority? Or is just reading your priority
because you do not have any active use for the language?

So both options above are valid. As I have mentioned before, most HTLALers would jump for option 1
because they would love to interact with a native speaker. What I find curious is the argument that if
speaking and writing well are your priorities then option 2, reading for an extra hour is better than
option 1.

What I find even more curious is the idea that we don't learn from our mistakes. I'm at not saying that
the only way to learn is to make mistakes. What I'm saying is that making mistakes is often part of the
learning process, and eliminating mistakes and understanding why and how we make them are
important.

For example, I've never heard of anyone speaking a language with perfect pronunciation from day 1.
Acquiring a good accent is basically a gradual process of retraining the vocal apparatus to form new
sounds. Along the way mistakes are made. In French for example, many learners confuse "rue" and
"roue". This is a common mistake that we have to work on. The mistakes of English-speakers in
French are very well known, so with these learners we concentrate on specific drills that address these
problem areas.

A lot of hard work could be avoided if people did not make mistakes in the first place. That's the goal.
When you're at a C2 level you should not be making any mistakes or, like a native, you should be able
to correct yourself instantly. The problem, as we all know only too well, is that we make lots of
mistakes on our way there.

Edited by s_allard on 20 February 2015 at 8:03pm

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Sterogyl
Diglot
Senior Member
Germany
Joined 2552 days ago

152 posts - 263 votes 
Studies: German*, French, EnglishC2
Studies: Japanese, Norwegian

 
 Message 84 of 177
20 February 2015 at 8:25pm | IP Logged 
I don't buy into Krashen's sweet-sounding theories that you only need a certain amount of "comprehensible input" and voilà, you are a proficient language speaker. Does he himself actually speak a foreign language to a reasonably high level to make such claims?

In my experience, it is absolutely necessary to a) study grammar (thoroughly) as well as vocabulary and b) receive feedback in terms of having your written and/or spoken language corrected by a teacher/a tutor. You don't know what you don't know!




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patrickwilken
Senior Member
Germany
radiant-flux.net
Joined 2718 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 
 Message 85 of 177
20 February 2015 at 8:38pm | IP Logged 
s_allard wrote:

1. Spend an hour over Skype with a professional tutor reading out aloud, speaking and correcting texts written by the learner.

2. Read for an extra hour.

What would most people choose? Before we answer, we have to ask a more fundamental question:


But what about 1000 hours doing Skype tutoring or a 1000 hours reading? Who would be better off at the end?

3 persons have voted this message useful



mrwarper
Diglot
Winner TAC 2012
Senior Member
Spain
forum_posts.asp?TID=Registered users can see my Skype Name
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Speaks: Spanish*, EnglishC2
Studies: German, Russian, Japanese

 
 Message 86 of 177
20 February 2015 at 8:49pm | IP Logged 
Sterogyl wrote:
I don't buy into Krashen's sweet-sounding theories that you only need a certain amount of "comprehensible input" and voilà, you are a proficient language speaker.[...]

That's also quite easy to debunk, whether it's Krashen's real claim or not:

We all know not all learners do equally well. Sure, we are all slightly differently skilled at stuff. But if ONLY a certain amount of input is needed to gain proficiency, all you need to get equally proficient learners is feeding each of them sufficiently large (yet slightly different) amounts of input.

For a change, an experiment easy enough to perform. Good luck with that btw :)

Mental work on the part of the learner is always necessary, and individual differences gain become an even more important source of variation with that at play.
1 person has voted this message useful



cpnlsn88
Triglot
Groupie
United Kingdom
Joined 3222 days ago

63 posts - 112 votes 
Speaks: English*, German, French
Studies: Spanish, Esperanto, Latin

 
 Message 87 of 177
20 February 2015 at 9:15pm | IP Logged 
Well the title of the thread is moving from B2 to C2. It's an enormous jump of course
but one has already learned a large amount of the language to B2. I think there is a
contrast here, that a Krashen style approach might be better for developing up to B2
but certain other things come in to play in the leap from B2 to C2; here I can imagine
that speaking with a native speaker (because at B2 one now can do so) and studying
grammar more in depth.

There are certain things reading (and listening) will definitely get you and overall
this might be the biggest thing even on the path to C2 but C2 is a kind of 'near-
native' level. So I think that there are certain principles of grammar which start to
play a role that can be swept under a carpet at B2 that actually pay some looking at
at C2, accent, pronunciation do come into play where certain minor things can get
corrected.

And, finally, there is a Krashen aspect to a tutor also - after all they give you lots
of comprehensible input!! They speak a bit slower, avoid more complicated expressions,
explain things and so on. So at this level, even if there is some correction it's
mainly comprehensible input (also correction does not need to be always explicit - if
you get a phrase wrong the teacher can just use the phrase correctly a few times later
on and usually that's enough, rather than stopping the flow). The role of the language
learner is to use some of the language to get more comprehensible input, correct the
more significant mistakes and identify gaps in vocab that impeded communication.
2 persons have voted this message useful



iguanamon
Tetraglot
Senior Member
Virgin Islands
Speaks: Ladino
Joined 3447 days ago

2224 posts - 6708 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole

 
 Message 88 of 177
20 February 2015 at 9:17pm | IP Logged 
It doesn't have to be an either/or proposition. I have benefited hugely from massive input (reading, listening), output (writing, speaking), listening AND tutoring. The tutoring has been the missing link in tying it all together for me.

Obviously, some people can't afford the cost of a tutor. Some tutors are good and fit well with an individual learning style and some are not so good and do not fit very well. It may take a while to find the right person.

I haven't attempted to take any CEFR level (or equivalent) tests for reasons of cost and time involved. Living far away from any centers, I cannot justify the cost for what is for me, not a necessity to have the piece of paper.

If I were working on a CEFR C-1 or C-2 level test, I would definitely hire a tutor familiar with what it takes to pass such a test and work with that person. The work done to pass such a test would be much more intense than what I could do myself and probably cover areas I wouldn't think to cover on my own, but that's just me. My hat is off to those who have achieved this on their own. You have worked hard and have a tremendous accomplishment as a result.

Edited by iguanamon on 20 February 2015 at 9:22pm



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