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Interactive speaking and listening

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Last updated 26 October 2012 15:29 by NZTecAdmin

Listen with Understanding and Speak to Communicate: Interactive Speaking and Listening progression

The Interactive Speaking and Listening progression, which is identical in the two strands Speak to Communicate and Listen with Understanding, describes the learning a person needs to undertake in order to become an active participant in the most dynamic of speaking and listening situations, face-to-face interaction. The progression focuses on four particular kinds of speaking skills:16

  • Skills in managing an interaction. These can include taking the floor, interrupting, redirecting a conversation, agreeing while disagreeing, reiterating a point of view and closing a discussion. Other examples include hesitating and withholding a turn.
  • Skills in negotiating meaning. These skills are important for all adults. Participants negotiate meaning by using communication strategies to ensure they have expressed or understood meaning clearly. (The negotiation of meaning that can occur around face-to-face interactions is an excellent context for ESOL learners who are working to improve their language knowledge.)
  • Skills in using appropriate conversational formulas and fillers. Effective speakers and listeners are able to give and respond to feedback, using such oral language forms as appropriate formulas (for example, “How are you?”), conversation fillers (for example, “I’ll never forget…”) and evaluative comments (for example, “Great idea!”), as well as repetition.
  • Skills in taking short and long speaking turns. These skills enable people engaging in conversations to take speaking turns of increasing length and complexity. Such speaking skills are a mark of expertise. They are more likely than the other kinds of speaking skills to be constrained by a speaker’s lack of language knowledge because they cannot be based on memorised or formulaic oral language.

16 Nunan, 1989.


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