Natural speech using language that emerges from the need for communication allows us to focus more completely on students’ ideas. This has built incredible community and student engagement in our classrooms.
When getting repetitions of targeted language is the focus in the classroom, the language is not allowed to do its natural job of expressing human ideas, of bringing people closer together, and most especially of building community. Focusing on the language puts the cart before the horse. It puts pieces of the language before communicating comprehensible messages. It is like everyone opening up the hood of a car and staring at the engine instead of getting in the car and enjoying a nice drive down the road.
A community talking about interesting topics in a relaxed atmosphere, just zipping down the road, fosters language acquisition. In fact, according to Dr. Krashen’s Affective Filter Hypothesis, it may well be a requirement.