Productive and Receptive Skills in the ESL Classroom - Speaking Skills - Study Phase

 

Once we're satisfied that all the students have been engaged and that they've been given the opportunity to say something, we can move on to our study phase. Here, it may be necessary or useful to actually pre-teach some gaps in knowledge that have been shown from the engage phase and those gaps in knowledge may include actual grammar structures or indeed useful vocabulary and it's very important that, before we move on to doing any forms of activity, we check their understanding of this material. So, we need to do some study exercises. It's also very useful if you leave this information up on the board through all that study period. Those study activities can just be the normal types of gap fills or matching activities and, as always, we need to demonstrate those activities, elicit correct answers before we actually give out the material and, once they are doing the activity monitor. When it's complete, we can then feedback and correct as necessary.


Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

This particular unit is of great importance since it helps me understand the Receptive skills - reading and listening skills for ESL learners. 1) How we read and listen a) predictive skills b) specific information scanning c) general idea- skimming d) detailed information = read in order to understand everything in detail e) deduction from context = deduce the meaning of individual words or phrases from the context in which we hear/read them. We sometimes need to see beyond the literal meaning of words. 2) Problems with reading and listening: a) language - sentence length, word length, unfamiliar words can present problems to learners - reading presents fewer problems as the text are 'captured' and students may read it countless times Way of approaching language difficulty: I) pre-teaching vocabulary = teach difficult/unknown language structures, prior to commencing a reading or listening activity. Learning to understand text without knowing every single word is a skill that we should encourage in our students. II) careful selection of text = non-authentic will allow students access to materials that contain language more suited to the student's abilities, whereas authentic text will expose students to text that should give them confidence in their skills. Authentic materials (and the task that go along with them) must be carefully selected so as to focus on what the students know, rather than how much they don't know. b) topics = knowing our students and what really interest them c) create interest = students will learn with enthusiasm, whether or not they are really interested in the topic. We can get students engaged by discussing the topic, showing pictures, predicting what the text will be about and other 'engage' phase activities d) task = we need to promote comprehensive task that promote understanding, as opposed to, just checking understanding. A good task shouldn't be too easy or too difficult; in other words, a challenge that is realistically achievable (eg: Jigsaw reading, where students are placed in pairs and each reads part of the text. They then share their information to complete other tasks). (Another example: Jumbled text, paragraphs of a text are jumbled up, for the students to reorder. You can even jumble two stories together, for the students to sort out both. The basic keys to successful receptive skill lessons are: - choose material that interests/motivates the students - build interest before reading/listening - pre-teach complex vocabulary or structures if necessary, but don't overdo it - vary the type of material - use the material to practice different skills - use realistic comprehension tasks that aid understanding - incorporate activate phases that naturally lead on from the text

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