Productive and Receptive Skills in the ESL Classroom - Receptive Skills - Overview


This presentation is going to have a look at the idea of receptive skills and how we can go about teaching receptive skills lessons. There are two receptive skills and they are reading and listening. If we think about first of all, why do we read or listen, then there are probably two main answers to that. Firstly, it could either be for entertainment or it could be for a specific purpose. Within the reading and listening areas there are a number of sub-skills that we can teach our students. Firstly, what we can do is to show different examples of reading. So, let's say, for example, that we have just bought ourselves a new video camera and along with that video camera came a whole book of instructions. In order to find out how to get that camera working, then we would need to very carefully read each page of that brochure and that would be what is called detailed reading. Now unfortunately, most of us don't get our video cameras working straight away because we don't do that detailed reading. We tend to do something, which is slightly quicker, which is called scanning and in scanning what we're trying to do is to look for specific information. The other type of quick reading that we do is something called skimming and what we're doing in skimming is we're trying to get a general overview of what the text is actually saying. Other types of reading skill that we can actually teach is reading for prediction. So, having read a certain amount of various text, we can then say what we think is going to happen next and the final one for deduction; so from the information that's been given can we make some form of inference, for example about who actually wrote that?

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Productive skills are writing and speaking. As writing is difficult and requires a high level of accuracy, writing skills are usually an oversight in the classroom as students prefer to practice their speaking skills. Speaking requires a degree of fluency and any errors can be made right at that time. Accuracy is part of the study phase focusing on correct language that is composed. While fluency is part of the activate phase with the focus of students being creative with the language. Accuracy activities shows that the students have knowledge of the language before a fluency activity which displays more creativity from the student. There are 3 basic speaking activities which can be controlled by drilling where as the teacher says the pronunciation and the students individually or as group repeat back. Guided leads to be more productive such as role plays or dialogues and creative communication such as discussions, debates, games and simulations. Encouraging the students to participate in the class the teacher can involve activities such as group or pair work, allowing the students time to prepare, include interesting topics so the students want to speak. For speaking activities, the teacher must prepare with instructions, what the students goals will be and how they absorb the information and any problems they may have. The teacher must note the anticipated time for each activity as well. During the activity, the teacher must engage with students by showing pictures and pick topics that are interests of the student. Providing clear instructions to the students as to what the goal and aim of the activity is and allowing time for the students to prepare and monitor the activity and provide feedback. Providing feedback focus on the positive of what the students produced from the activity not what the didn?t do or could have done. Making notes of the errors and verbally discussing it with the class or one on one. Handwriting and punctuation in the English language can be quite different from the student?s native language. The teacher needs to be supportive and encouraging to the student for improvement. Spelling can be difficult and can lead to misunderstandings as there are words in the English language that are pronounced the same but are spelled differently such waste/waist or can be wrote the same but pronounced differently such as read/read. The teacher must incorporate lessons and exercises of spelling rules and different layouts of writing to practice different styles of writing. Creative writing should be encouraged as the outcomes are positive feelings from the student. Even though writing and speaking are quite different they are equally important.

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