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Foreign Language Instructors Helping Students Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jan 24th, 2022

In the article, Hubert (2013) looks at the role of foreign language (FL) instructors in helping students to develop various aspects of language proficiencies. Language acquisition includes the process of obtaining writing and speaking skills. Some foreign language students develop spoken skills in a faster way than writing skills. Other students develop writing skills more successfully than the speaking skills. Consequently, there has been an argument about the role of teachers in helping the students develop both types of skills. This article is important because Hubert (2013) establishes the relationship between speaking and writing skills among Spanish language students. In particular, the article provides an overview of the relationship between development of oral and writing skills among foreign language students for students studying ‘Second Language Acquisition’ courses.

Summary of the Article

Hubert (2013) studies a group of 17 persons enrolled in Spanish classes. This is in the process of determining the rates of obtaining writing and speaking skills among foreign language students. All participants are native English speakers. However, they have different levels of Spanish language proficiency. In the research, the first group involved seven students drawn from Spanish beginners’ class. The next four students were in the intermediary level of Spanish class. The last six participants had an advanced level of Spanish language skills. In fact, the last group of participants were about to receive the certificate of proficiency in Spanish. They had studied abroad in some of the Spanish-speaking countries.

The participants were give tests to evaluate their speaking and writing skills. After the tests, Hubert (2013) compared the results among the three groups of participants. This was in order to determine the relationship between development of the oral and writing skills. The results of the study showed that many participants had a higher level of writing skills than speaking ones. This was regardless of the level of their studies. Indeed, seven students recorded a higher level of writing proficiency than speaking abilities (Hubert, 2013). The results were contrary to the notion that foreign language instructors should focus on speaking and writing instructions equally. The reason is that all students showed different levels of speaking skills and writing skills. This means that development of both skills does not happen in a similar way. Hubert (2013) explains that the results contradicted conclusions made by Weissberg (Hubert, 2013). Nonetheless, Hubert (2013) admits that speaking and writing proficiencies might develop at equal rates if they are observed over a long period.

Criticism

Throughout the article, Hubert (2013) assumes that development of language skills and acquisition of various aspects of a language depends on the role of the teachers. The article ignores the fact that different students have different motives of learning new languages. Some students take a second language class for such reasons as improving their interactions with peers and workmates. Others may take up those classes for academic purposes. Students who learn new languages to improve their interactions values the importance of oral proficiency is more than writing skills. Students learn second language classes for academic purposes might require better writing skills than speaking ones. Besides, the sample size of the research presented in the article does not represent all foreign language students. In particular, the second group of participants is not large enough to provide accurate and reliable results. As such, making conclusions on the relationship between development of writing and speaking skills in this group might not be useful for the study. Overall, the article reveals the gaps that exist among students during development and acquirement of various language aspects.

Reflection

This article is helpful because it provides important insights into second language acquisition. From the outset, Hubert (2013) argues that the rates at which foreign language students obtain speaking and writing skills are not the same. However, the research shows that students have different abilities and, as such, acquisition of language skills depends on a specific student. This conclusion is important for all foreign language instructors because they will understand the academic needs of each student in their classrooms. Besides, the article provides new information that teachers can use in the modern teaching environment. As Hubert (2013) explains, the findings of the research show that Weissberg’s ‘three routes to literacy model’ do not work similarly to all foreign language students. It is therefore the role of the instructor to choose the best model to use when teaching different categories of students.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the article establishes the relationship between acquisition of speaking and writing skills among foreign language students. Through a scientific research, Hubert (2013) finds out that the relationship between obtaining oral and writing skills varies among all participants. In fact, the greatest variations occur in a group composed of advanced language students. This is contrary to the view that advanced language students have a similar level of language proficiency in different aspects (Hubert, 2013). It is clear that the variations occur because of students’ motives of enrolling in a second language class. In addition, the variations could also occur because of the challenges encountered by the author during the process of sampling. The article is important and useful to teachers because it helps them to plan effective methods of teaching foreign language students.

Reference

Hubert, D. (2013). The Development of Speaking and Writing Proficiencies in the Spanish Language Classroom: A Case Study. Foreign Language Annals, 46(1), 88-95.

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