Unit 4 – Teaching Skills

So, just a quick reminder, there are 3 main parts to learning a language. Without all of these parts developed, it is difficult to be an effective English user. The parts are:

Accuracy – Using the right vocabulary and grammar in the right way, including pronunciation.

Fluency – The speed it takes for the student to get what they want to say from the brain to the mouth. It is often very difficult to listen to people when they continuously pause mid-sentence or stutter.

Confidence – If a student is not confident then they will go out of their way to avoid situations where they might have to use English. All that knowledge will be wasted as the student will be reluctant to use it.

Normal vocabulary and grammar lessons are mostly based around accuracy. The Presentation and Practice stages are about explaining it, pronouncing it and making sure the student uses it correctly. This pretty much takes care of the accuracy part of learning a language, but the fluency and confidence aspects are just as important. Sure, the Perform stage helps, but it isn’t enough on its own. That’s the beauty of skills-based lessons, not only do they help improve the skills but they help with confidence and fluency.

The 4 skills are:

Receptive                     Productive

Reading                        Writing 

Listening                       Speaking

Generally speaking, students often find writing and reading the easier of the skills because they have more time to analyse and think about it, whereas the listening and speaking skills are immediate and there is usually no chance to prepare.

Although we plan a skills-based lesson around one skill, naturally the other skills come into play. If I set a reading exercise, then I will naturally explain the task verbally and ask my students questions thus incorporating the speaking skill.