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six areas of language learning
There are six areas of learning a language, each has it's own level of priority and is divided into 3 main categories. Going in order of necessary learning they are:
1: Basic foundation (this category includes all aspects of writing as well)
Vocabulary: This is the first thing any learner needs. Cat, Dog, elephant, hypochondriac...
Grammar: This is the second thing focused on. how much is this? May I go to the bathroom? I forgot my book. I'm fine thank you, and you?
2: Accent (this is always important, but mostly during the vocabulary phase)
Pronunciation: Actually, this starts right at the beginning (gotta learn to say cat instead of gad or ka-teu) but the most focus should start coming after basic sentences have started coming.
Stress: Pronunciation is for the word, stress is for the sentence. These two things together are what give someone a natural sounding accent.
3: Conversation (this is important even for very low level, but at low level it's only important for the limited speech they know.)
Listening skills: Once they know enough words that they can ask questions (about the lesson and language) without going back to their mother-tongue, they no longer need their mother tongue in the classroom. Also, they no longer need a classroom focus on accent and vocabulary, they can learn this on their own or by asking questions. A heavy focus on the ability to recognize the new language is necessary... don't talk slow, don't dumb down your speech.
Fluency: Fluency is not a level of skill, but a skill in itself. How quickly can someone respond in their second language, how much thought is needed first? Sharpen their ability to respond with emotion and to speak like water.
Of course, all stages are necessary and valuable at all times during language progression, but the balance should shift toward the later stages as the learner advances.
disclaimer: I don't have a PHD and my biggest claim to fame is my experience. If anyone disagrees with these or thinks they can make adequate modifications, you can send me an e-mail.
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