In the literature on second language acquisition, performance is typically contrasted with competence – with the implication that competence is a pre-condition for performance. I.e. we should learn the rules of language before applying them. This is a distinction that has been challenged more recently, in the light of so-called ‘usage-based’ views of language acquisition, which argue that using IS learning. ‘Performance’, of course, retains its original, non-specialist, senses of production, play and drama – not to mention ‘performativity’. I will argue that these many meanings can be bundled together to create a truly performance-based methodology.
Scott Thornbury has taught and trained in Egypt, UK, Spain, and in his native New Zealand. His writing credits include several award-winning books for teachers on language and methodology, including Uncovering Grammar, Beyond the Sentence, and The New A-Z of ELT (all Macmillan). He blogs at https://scottthornbury.wordpress.com