A couple nights ago, Stephen Krashen came to Busan. That's pretty big news! He is one of the foremost people in the world of Language Acquisition theory. I'll do a couple of posts about the good stuff he talked about (and any of those who know his theories well/were there at the speech, please feel free to leave a comment if I misunderstood anything).
Basically, he explained that there are 2 ways to learn a language:
1. Acquisition. This is the "natural" way and happens subconsciously. It can happen at any age, so you're never too old to learn a language! If you can speak a language fluently and easily, it's because you've acquired it.
2. Learning. This is the "conscious" way and is what happens in a classroom. It deals with grammar rules, etc.
He used to think that a program balanced between the two was the way to go. However, that's actually not true. If you learn a language by acquiring it, you'll be able to speak/write fluently and you'll actually be similar to or better than the "learners" in grammar tests.
So how does someone "acquire" a language? By getting large amounts of comprehensible input, which is at the learner's level, in a light, easy kind of way. A teacher talking louder, or saying it again if useless if the learner doesn't understand it. And speaking, especially for beginners is not really necessary. There is a silent period where learners just take in this input, and eventually, they'll be able to speak in a coherent way. As teachers, we should encourage speaking, but not force and actually, the most value in speaking is for the partner who gets more input.