3. Integrating Skills

Building from the previous module. ‘2. Building Language Awareness‘, in this module here we create activities that bring out all aspects of language out in use tailored to meet all types different expectation and goals from students through the use of ‘3. Integrating Skills’. The skills we are talking about are the four primary language skills grouped into receptive and productive.

  • Receptive skills are: 1. Listening, 2. Reading
  • Productive skills are: 3. Speaking, 4. Writing

Each of the four primary language skills build upon each other in language usage. We can not have one skill without the other. Think of how you use all these skills in our daily lives. Therefore in teaching English all skills should be practiced together in an activity to fulfill full use of meaningful and purposeful language learning.

In-order to have the primary four skills, we need the basic understanding of the underlying language skills of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and non-verbal skills. As teachers, we must have a solid understanding of all the underlying language skills to a ‘T’ and ways to teach them. That is why most language schools seek out teachers with post-secondary degrees to teach as they have higher levels of schooling.

This integrated skills approach is best demonstrated and taught by using real fun natural world language social situation activities that demonstrate receptive and productive skills. That way students will more likely to be motivated to get involved and thus learn the language.

For example, each student can find his or her own topics they are interested to read and write about from a library resource and then share their notes by reciting them openly to the class. This ‘Show and Tell’ method demonstrates both receptive and productive skills and is exciting exercise where the students are able to be show what they like and tell it to their peers. This sharing method helps student get comfortable in the language because it is personal and related to others and themselves.

Another great sharing activity  is called ‘Good Deeds’. When we show compassion and concern for each other or in other words supportive, we encourage whatever task. In allowing students to explain in their own words what is a ‘Good Deed’, they are able to practice English in supportive mannerisms. Most likely students will aid and add to the discussion (work together in groups) what it means to be a person in performing ‘Good Deeds’ as naturally we humans in the right supportive environment are helpful to one another. Themes of help, need, love and concern will motivate students to talk and share. All this discussion will also demonstrate both receptive and productive skills. Students can research what it is to perform ‘Good Deeds’ and write summaries and even make lists of examples and perform examples of good deeds in their class and community.

Another great sharing example is to allow students to befriend another classmate or even a ‘Pen Pal’ via the Internet or E-mail who speaks English. This will enable students to practice their language skills as they can share common interests and share their culture. Using the Internet is one of the best ways for students to learn English as it enables them to reach out to English speaking people and talk. Dominant Western English culture is exciting to learn and talk about and by allowing students to engage to talk to people who come from different backgrounds and beliefs they can enjoy the exchanges in cultural differences. They can talk about differences in family, school, religion and type of work their parents do.

To integrate skills of both receptive and productive, the theme of sharing was presented as key examples in ‘Show and Tell’, ‘Good Deed’ and ‘Pen Pals’ (‘Internet Pals’). Sharing interests and knowledge is motivating for students and will allow the students to communicate in English in meaningful and real ways. Each example had its own sharing method that were more in-depth requiring more thinking than others but each were personal which help ‘break the ice’.