instruction and Feedback
You see, face-to-face instruction and an instructors
feedback on a learners work are not as important in
fluency training as in learning other subjects of study.
dont need face-to-face instruction
Fluency is a unique skill the only one of its kind.
Its a learning oriented skill, and not an
instruction oriented one. Its a skill thats
of a type quite different from other skills like cycling or
is because fluency in speech depends mainly on a series of
mental processes that go on within you. These are a series
of actions that you carry out within your mind (to compose
what to say and to say it at the same time). And these are
not external actions, or actions that are visible
or obvious to other people. Others have no way of noticing
or finding out what actually goes on inside your mind.
The point is this: While youre training to speak fluent
English, the kind of help teachers will be able to give you
is quite different from the kind of help theyll be able
to give you while youre training to swim or ride a bicycle
or while youre learning mathematics or computer
programming or machine repair. And note this: While youre
training to speak fluent English, the kind of help that teachers
will practically be able to give you is of a kind that can
effectively be given through self-study books.
You see, face-to-face interaction between an instructor and
a learner may have great importance in learning most other
subjects. But its role is limited when you learn a skill like
fluency. The performance and progress of a fluency learner
(who already knows English) does not actually depend on learner-instructor
interaction or on feedback or on the instructor watching the
performance of a learner or on a learner watching the performance
of the instructor.
work doesnt normally need correction
When you learn a subject like mathematics or computer programming
or machine repair, youll need to interact with a teacher
from time to time.
reason is this: In subjects like these, even the smallest
thing you do has to be according to a rigid framework
a framework that you cannot modify at all to suit your convenience.
And such frameworks are not only rigid, but also externally
imposed that is, they come from sources outside your
own mind. In subjects like these, you have to follow principles,
rules, concepts, formulas and procedures that others have
set. And youre not free to deviate from them or to adapt
them to different conditions and circumstances (as and when
those conditions and circumstances occur).
So in subjects like these, youll need a teachers
help and guidance from time to time. In subjects like these,
teachers may have to get feedback on your work, so that they
can tell you where youve gone wrong and why, how well
or badly youve been doing, and how you could improve.
when you learn a unique skill like fluency, things happen
you learn a skill like fluency, there are no rigid frameworks
that you have to follow compulsorily. Whatever frameworks
you may happen to follow are those that you yourself decide
on according to your convenience. And youre free
to adapt and modify them to suit your speech-composition needs
(from moment to moment). Whatever external constraints may
happen to be there are not of a rigid nature, but are quite
flexible. And anybody who has learnt fluency techniques can
deal with those constraints in a number of different ways
(according to their communicative convenience). This is so
about all externally imposed constraints in spontaneous speech
constraints imposed by the content as well as form,
semantic and syntactic constraints, lexical and grammatical
constraints, and constraints imposed by verbal and situational
is total master of language manipulation
You see, its not as though you can only compose a long
stretch of spontaneous speech by a single method. Each learner
is free to compose it in any of the several ways they find
Also, a natural speech-situation is ever alive, fluctuating
and open-ended. And there are no restrictions or limits set
in advance on the way speakers can give shape to their speech-units
and organize these speech units into a spoken text. And speakers
themselves are the only people wholl be able to decide
what restrictions or limits they should set on things as they
speak on, and how they should keep adapting their speech units
to the speech situations from moment to moment.
So when you learn a skill like fluency, you dont have
to solve any problem of a mathematical or machine-related
type or of a manual or technical type. In particular, you
dont have to solve any problem that can only have one
answer or solution. So the question of accuracy (in the sense
of mathematical accuracy) or the need for correction of mistakes
(by an instructor) does not arise at all.
The only question of accuracy that can be thought of in fluency
training is the question of grammatical accuracy or word-related
accuracy of an elementary type. Here, you should note two
Prof. Kev Nairs self-study books are meant for people
who already know reasonable English, and not for beginners.
Even then, they deal extensively and thoroughly with various
aspects of grammar and vocabulary that would help you in
spontaneous speech production. (Of course, Prof. Kev Nairs
self-study books do these things from the fluency development
angle, and not from the conventional angle).
If you want to become good at English production, youll
have to learn to sort out all grammatical and word-related
difficulties on your own without help from other
people. You can easily do this with the help of a dictionary
meant for advanced learners.
in fluency training, the question of a learner needing to
get his work corrected by an instructor doesnt arise
in the way that this question arises when youre
learning other subjects or skills.
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