Although foreign language learners have to take in receptive skills (listening and reading) before productive skills (speaking and writing) are able to be manifested, a communicative full-language approach should inundate every level of a foreign language teacher's curriculum. In my experience, I have witnessed middle school students in massively populated classrooms learn little more than feeble grammar explanations. In cultures where textbooks cater to upcoming collegiate examinations, students are misdirected towards the actual purpose of even learning language in the first place: communication. When converstation between the teacher and his or her students occurs outside the traditionally accepted enclosed walls constructing the physical classroom, instead of talking to pupils in their native language, the target language should be utilized as the medium of communication in and outside of the physical classroom if the true reason for language is to be learned.
Linguistic distinctions among basic, intermediate, and advanced proficiency levels just relate the ability of students to perform certain corresponding tasks within the limits of their current cognitive development. Conversation follows nonverbal communication but definitely preceeds composition, the most difficult of foreign language analytical activities. As soon as students rationalize that comprehension gives way to the need to efficiently communicate ideas, an undeniable urge to vocalize should take place within the heart of every foreign language learner.
As far as teaching contractions goes, I just point out that contractions are a natural phenomena that occur with accelerated speech patterns and are best understood with a combination of learning about the fields of grammar and phonetics. Advanced students will study the target language's evolution and through phonetics, learn about assimilation. Idealistically, discrimination between teachers that are native or non-native speakers should not exist since both should possess the same level in their chosen profession.
Eric Paul Monroe