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THE BREAK IN THE LINK: Why is it easier to write than to speak?

4 years ago

Why is it that we can usually read and write English better than we can speak it? Why is it so difficult to use the rules we know?

What happened?

Many ESL learners started learning English at school which, let's be honest, was a few years ago. Since then, education has had a makeover, we use technology, focus on speaking, and practice with peers. When most adults learned English, the school focused on grammar, writing, and committing rules to memory. They read and wrote for about 70%-90% of the time and when they did speak, it was a prepared and memorised oral performed for the class.

What does that mean?

It means we have spent so much more time reading and writing that our conversation skills are falling behind.

So, what can we do to change this?

In my classroom, I like to have a conversation lesson (or at the end of the lesson if lessons are far apart) after a grammar/vocabulary lesson to commit what we learn to memory. For tenses, I like to practice answering questions, getting the student to come up with example sentences and correcting it with them.

As a student, are you familiar with this problem?

If you are a teacher, how do you overcome this with your students?

Comment below! I'd love to hear your opinion!