Common strategies help weave the skills together.
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Teaching students to improve their learning strategies in one skill area can often enhance performance in all language skills Oxford, Fortunately, in many instances where an ESL or EFL course is labeled by a single skill, the segregation of language skills might be only partial or even illusory.
If the teacher is creative, a course bearing a discrete-skill title might actually involve multiple, integrated skills. For example, in a course on intermediate reading, the teacher probably gives all of the directions orally in English, thus causing students to use their listening ability to understand the assignment. In this course, students might discuss their readings, thus employing speaking and listening skills and certain associated skills, such as pronunciation, syntax, and social usage.
Students might be asked to summarize or analyze readings in written form, thus activating their writing skills. In a real sense, then, some courses that are labeled according to one specific skill might actually reflect an integrated-skill approach after all. A particular series might highlight certain skills in one book or another, but all the language skills might nevertheless be present in the tasks in each book.
In this way, students have the benefit of practicing all the language skills in an integrated, natural, communicative way, even if one skill is the main focus of a given volume. In contrast to segregated-skill instruction, both actual and apparent, there are at least two forms of instruction that are clearly oriented toward integrating the skills.
Two types of integrated-skill instruction are content-based language instruction and task-based instruction. The first of these emphasizes learning content through language, while the second stresses doing tasks that require communicative language use. Content-based language instruction is valuable at all levels of proficiency, but the nature of the content might differ by proficiency level.
For beginners, the content often involves basic social and interpersonal communication skills, but past the beginning level, the content can become increasingly academic and complex. The theme-based model integrates the language skills into the study of a theme e. The theme must be very interesting to students and must allow a wide variety of language skills to be practiced, always in the service of communicating about the theme. This is the most useful and widespread form of content-based instruction today, and it is found in many innovative ESL and EFL textbooks.
In the adjunct model, language and content courses are taught separately but are carefully coordinated. In the sheltered model, the subject matter is taught in simplified English tailored to students' English proficiency level. Tasks are defined as activities that can stand alone as fundamental units and that require comprehending, producing, manipulating, or interacting in authentic language while attention is principally paid to meaning rather than form Nunan, The task-based model is beginning to influence the measurement of learning strategies, not just the teaching of ESL and EFL.
Academic and professional skills for language learning
In task-based instruction, basic pair work and group work are often used to increase student interaction and collaboration. For instance, students work together to write and edit a class newspaper, develop a television commercial, enact scenes from a play, or take part in other joint tasks. More structured cooperative learning formats can also be used in task-based instruction. Task-based instruction is relevant to all levels of language proficiency, but the nature of the task varies from one level to the other. Tasks become increasingly complex at higher proficiency levels.
For instance, beginners might be asked to introduce each other and share one item of information about each other. More advanced students might do more intricate and demanding tasks, such as taking a public opinion poll at school, the university, or a shopping mall. The integrated-skill approach, as contrasted with the purely segregated approach, exposes English language learners to authentic language and challenges them to interact naturally in the language.
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Learners rapidly gain a true picture of the richness and complexity of the English language as employed for communication. Moreover, this approach stresses that English is not just an object of academic interest nor merely a key to passing an examination; instead, English becomes a real means of interaction and sharing among people.
This approach allows teachers to track students' progress in multiple skills at the same time. Integrating the language skills also promotes the learning of real content, not just the dissection of language forms.
Finally, the integrated-skill approach, whether found in content-based or task-based language instruction or some hybrid form, can be highly motivating to students of all ages and backgrounds. With careful reflection and planning, any teacher can integrate the language skills and strengthen the tapestry of language teaching and learning. When the tapestry is woven well, learners can use English effectively for communication.
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Nunan , D. Oxford, R. This can raise their motivation to learn English. Above all, integrating the skills means that you are working at the level of realistic communication, which provides all-round development of communicative competence in English. How to integrate the four skills 1 The easiest form of integration is within the same medium either oral or written , from receptive to productive skills.
However, integrating the four language skills can be demanding of the teacher. We need to have a good understanding of discourse, and to be able to use textbooks flexibly. This can also be time-consuming, requiring a lot of preparation. Two ways of integrating skills: simple integration , whereby a receptive language skill serves as a model for a productive language skill, and complex integration , which is a combination of activities involving different skills, linked thematically.
Integration requires skilful teaching, but it can bring worthwhile results.