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São Paulo MACKENZIE 2011.2 Questão: 14 Inglês Interpretação de Texto 

By Stephan Hughes

Why is it that most of our students whine that they are able to almost fully understand what we say in the classroom but when faced with English in a real-life situation, the level of comprehension falls to near bottom, leading to their puzzlement, frustration and despair (in that order)?
Some reasons for the phenomenon: teachers use a special language called teacherese. It is tailored form of the English language, which allows students to follow and obtain at least a global comprehension of what is being uttered. The speed is toned down somewhat, the lexis is full of Portuguese-like cognates so as to help students make necessary associations and/or simultaneous translations. Its linguistic variation is limited, especially at lower proficiency levels.
__( I )__ what is most noteworthy of teacherese is that its inability to stretch students’ listening skills may lie more in the fact that teachers,non-native in particular, barely use the rich idiomatic language that is used in magazines, newspapers, TV shows, movies, songs – in short, in real life situations that they usually face. The lexis may not necessarily be second nature to ELT professionals, __( II )__ its absence in everyday use in the classroom.
Another reason: apart from using teacherese, most teachers don’t have any legitimate speaking opportunities outside of the classroom, __( III )__ reducing their oral skills to instructional and explanatory phrases or typical fixed expressions prescribed in the course book. Giving these educators opportunities to use the language naturally – be it in conversational settings arranged by the institutions or with native speakers in loco or online – may be crucial to whittle away at the problem.
A third and final reason: familiarity breeds ease, which in turn breeds comprehension. The more time students stay with a said teacher, the easier it might be for them to understand them and get used to their accent, intonation, lexical choice and pace. This is a point that cannot be ignored and is worth looking into.
__( IV )__ the question we need to ask ourselves is: how effective is the language we use in the classroom and to what extent this effectiveness plays a vital role in helping our students understand the world around them in English? __( V )__, in a communicative context, the teacher is but should not be the ultimate language model for the students, so students should not gauge their listening competence by the teacher. The catch is exposing students to more and more real language in the classroom and fostering effective listening strategies.
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