This presentation reports on an experiment undertaken using Fluency First, a whole-language approach, to teach reading and writing with a group of sophomore English majors at Tamkang University. The approach is the brainchild of a group of ESL educators at the City College of New York who disseminate knowledge about fluency-first instruction through an on-line seminar, the TESLFF-L branch of the TESL-L electronic network. Building on the theories and philosophies of whole language learning the approach follows the principle that language should be "meaning driven" and that fluency should be the initial goal of teaching and learning a second language, followed by clarity and accuracy. Students develop fluency through massive amounts of enjoyable reading and writing along with plenty of authentic input and cooperative activities designed to integrate all language skills. The Fluency First experiment at Tamkang University began during the fall of 1996 with three sophomore speaking and writing classes. Taught by teachers well versed in the fluency first techniques, these combined classes met four hours a week for two semesters. The year-long experiment is reported with a focus on the course design and implementation of the approach. The results are discussed in terms of the students' response and their overall performance after a year of fluency-first instruction. Caveats and pitfalls of implementing the approach are also included along with suggestions for designing ongoing projects to promote learning outcome.
Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium on English Teaching=第六屆中華民國英語文教學國際研討會論文集, pp.332-341