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There are four basic skills that need to be taught in english which can be put into two categories, Receptive skills (reading and listening), and Productive skills (speaking and writing). Each of these skills is very important when teaching english and so each one should be incorporated into every lesson as much as possible. This provides balance in the student's learning. It is also important to realize that in order for the students to truly learn any of the skills time has to be spent on it, therefore the focus of the lesson should only be on one of the skills at a time, but all the skills should be used at some point in the lesson if possible. In this article we are going to focus on the receptive skills, reading and listening. Reading and listening are very important skills to teach because with these skills the students will be able to understand everything that is going on around them. The motives students may have to learn reading and listening skills in english can basically be summed up in two categories: learning
For a Purpose, or For Entertainment. Reading or Listening for a Purpose is when students are trying to learn something specific from something, such as how to put together an engine from an instruction manual. Reading or Listening for entertainment is when students want to be able to understand something for the enjoyment of it, such as the lyrics of a song they like, or a joke in a magazine. Some things can fall in both categories, such as listening to a program on the radio that they really like, and using what was learned from it to write an article for a class at school. Reading and listening are important skills to teach, but before teaching them it is important to understand how they work. People use their eyes and ears to read and listen, but they also must use their brains in order to fully understand the information they receive. Students must learn to use their mind to recognize, understand and grasp the meaning of the words and phrases they come in contact with through what they already know. They must realize that they need to know how to take the literal meaning of a word and add the word to the context it was received in, as well as to their knowledge of the world, in order to conceive true understanding. This can make teaching receptive skills difficult and frightening,
so they have been broken down into even smaller categories. These categories, or ‘specialist skills' of reading and listening, are: Predictive skills-learning how to predict the content of a text or speech from the headline or intro; Scanning for specific information-learning how to scan through a text or speech for the information that is wanted; Skimming for a general idea-learning to skim over a text or speech in order to gain the general idea of what it's about without focusing on every word; Detailed information-reading or listening to every word in a text or speech in order to learn every detail; and Deducting from context-figuring out the intended meaning of a word or phrase outside of it's literal meaning by paying attention to the context it is in. Because of how complicated these skills are, there are many potential problems that can come up in trying to teach them, and many things that need to be considered. In order to avoid many of the problems that will come up in teaching receptive skills, a teacher should pre-teach new vocabulary that will come up in a text or listening activity, carefully select texts to match student's level and needs, carefully select interesting topics to match student's interests,
create interest in new topics, and provide tasks to promote understanding and provide realistic challenges. Remember to start simple, with the very basics of the language. Make sure the students have learned the basics well before moving on to more complex language. It is also important to teach some tangible vocabulary and simple phrases right off the bat so that the students feel that they are learning some language they can use right away, and help them to not feel bored or frustrated. Receptive skills are complex and take a long time to teach, but they are very important and rewarding, and make learning english faster and easier as time goes on. Sources: - ITTT 140-Hour certificate Course, Unit 11, pages 1-4 -Personal experience
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