Article 1


  • Written by : Drs. Suyatno MM

What are the skills?

Listening, reading, speaking, and writing are referred to as “the four skills”. Listening and reading   are RECEPTIVE SKILLS, i.e. they require only understanding. Speaking and writing are PRODUCTIVE SKILLS, i.e. they   require   the learners to produce something.

How is teaching skills   different from teaching   language?

When you are teaching  language, you are teaching “WHAT” ( for example, a grammar  point, a  function , or  a  vocabulary item), and the aim of  the lesson is  to introduce and  practice new language. When you  teach  skills  you are teaching  “HOW” :  how to listen in a more focused way, how to read  more quickly and  efficiently, how to speak  more  fluently, or how to  write  particular  types  of  text.

Learner master skills by  practice, in a  similar  way to other skills like playing  the piano  or  swimming. You can give them practice in the whole skills or  in sub skills.  Learners  can  practice  the skills  of reading in  a  general  sense by, for example,  reading a  whole text and  then answering a  question, or  they can practice  various  sub skills,  such  as   guessing  unknown words, scanning for  particular information, or  predicting what will come next. These sub skills, like practicing  scales  in music  or  learning   the  stroke  movements in swimming, help with  the mastery  of  the  whole  skills.

How do I teach a skill lesson?

The simplest way of structuring   a skills lesson is in three stages :



The activities in this stage should engage the learners’ attention and get them thinking  about the topic they will be hearing, reading, writing, or talking  about. For example :

  • To introduce a reading text about festivals, you could ask   learners about  their  favorite festival  in  their  country.
  • To introduce a  story  the  students  are  going to listen to, you could show  learners a  picture and  ask them to predict  the story.
  • To introduce a  lesson on writing  postcards, you could  bring  in postcards sent  to  you   for  learners to read.
  • To introduce a  discussion of  childhood memories , you could show the class a  photo of  yourself as a child   and  tell  them  one  of your own  memories

Language Focus

You might also include a short language focus to introduce some key vocabulary or expression



There might be  a task   or  series   of  tasks  that  the learners  have  to  carry  out, for  example :

  • Reading  a  text  about  festivals  and  matching pictures to  the  description of  the  different  festivals
  • Listening to a story   and arranging   pictures in the order of   the events in the story.
  • Learners get a holiday postcard with a picture   on the front. They have   to imagine   they are in that place   and write a postcard   on the back.
  • Learners complete a questionnaire about childhood memories and discuss with a partner.

There may be several tasks  in this stage,  particularly  in the case  of  reading  and  listening, beginning  with  more   general  tasks  and  progressing  to more detailed  tasks.


Language   focus

After the learners  have completed each  task, you will need to go through the task carefully, checking  understanding  and  giving  answers  in listening and  reading  lessons, and  giving  feedback/ errors  correction  in writing  and  speaking  lessons. You  may  like   to  have  a  specific  language  study  spot, doing  more  detailed language   work  on a reading  or listening  text, or  giving  learners  more  practice  in a structure  or  function that  they are  finding  difficult  in a speaking  or  writing  activity.


Finally, you can  use  the skills  activity  you have  just  completed  as  a  springboard  into practicing  another skills. For example;

  • Learners write about their favorite festival from their own country.
  • Learners  act  out   the story  in  groups
  • Learner   exchange postcards and read them. They think of four questions to ask about the postcard writer’s holiday. Then they role play meeting after their holidays and discussing them.
  • Learners write about   their strongest childhood memories. In groups  they make  wall posters  with  a  collage of  “ Our  memories”. These  are  pinned  up   for  other  learners  to read
Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 2:45 am  Leave a Comment  

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