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to native speakers5. Due to automatic mastery of grammar and vocabulary they can focus on meaning

during communication. This has several implications for their language instruction. First of all, it

means that all the instruction for these students can be and should be done in a target language.

Secondly, students are capable of understanding elements of linguistic theory that help them to

improve studied competencies. Thirdly, superior level students are capable not only of understand the

methodology of teaching and learning (what the teacher is doing and why s/he is doing it) but to

actively participate in selecting and developing the teaching/learning tools and techniques that can

maximize learning. As a result, “teacher-student interactions change from master –apprentice to near-

peers with the same mission” (Betty Leaver and Boris Shekhtman, “Principles and Practices In

Teaching Superior-Level Language Skills, Developing Professional-Level language Proficiency”,

2002, p. 18).

The close resemblance of a superior level foreign language student’s speech to that of a

native speaker with regard to the mastery of grammar and vocabulary, does not mean that he or she

can fully function as a native speaker in the language.. There is a huge gap between the FL student

and native speaker which becomes obvious if you compare their levels of proficiency in other major

components of communicative competency including socio-cultural information and sociolinguistic

pragmatics. Superior level students still lack the specific socio-cultural and sociolinguistic

competence that an educated native speaker possesses and readily displays. The main purpose of the

current project, is to try to fill this particular gap by explicitly teaching that which a native speaker has

learned by osmosis and implicitly.

2. Establishing the significance of developing SCC and SLC for students working

5 It doesn’t mean that at level 3+ students have no challenges in grammar, vocabulary or strategic competencies. At this level students still need to master the obscure, complex, and erudite grammar models that are not generally considered the “basic system” but an elaboration of it, domain-specific vocabulary, and particularly complex aspects of discourse analysis/competence.


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