Developing language skills and Methods of Teaching – English pedagogy

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Learning or developing language skills consists in development of certain skills. These skills can be classified in the following ways.

Of these receptive skills are easier as students here are only to decode and interpret what is said or written by others. On the other hand, productive skills which involve decoding (listening reading), encoding and producing are complex process.

Developing language skills and Methods of Teaching - English pedagogy

Developing language skills- listening, speaking, and reading skills

Listening Skills

Listening is generally thought a passive skill whereas speaking is regarded as active skill. However listening is not totally passive and it is also an active skill because it involves decoding a message and understanding it.

Aims of Teaching Listening :

(1) to understand spoken English when necessary.
(2) communicate or react as per requirement of situation.
(3) to develop or improve pronunciation.
(4) to grow the habit of obtaining knowledge from the speech delivered by others
(5) to transfer their learning gathered through listening to other three skills.

Weaknesses for Indian Students which generally hamper their ability to listen :

(1) inadequate range of words or phrases that are understood.
(2) inability to understand pronunciation other than personal or regional pronunciation.
(3) inability to follow the speed of the speaker.
(4) inability to follow the style of pronunciation, intonation, or stress pattern used by the speaker.
(5) lack of attention
(6) cultural difference betwcen the speaker and the listener.

Remedial Measures :

(1) Vocabulary should be enriched.
(2) Dictation helps in sharpening attention. Listening to broadcasts, recordings or films also help it.
(3) Students should learn correct pronunciation.
(4) Teacher should adjust the speed of his speech and clarity to the capacity of the class and then gradually speed up.
(5) Extensive Practice of listening.

Speaking Skills

Of all the language skills speaking is the most active one. It is always interactive. It can’t be premediated or preplanned. It is a productive skill. So, speaker needs to have presence of mind as to what to speak and how to speak. Speaking should come after listening as the objective of speaking is the appropriate and correct use of language in proper context.

Characteristics of good speaking :

(1) Clarity
(2) Fluency
(3) Audibility
(4) Comprehensibility
(5) Effectiveness

Aims of Developing Speaking Skills :

(1) to grow ability of correct pronunciation, stress, intonation, pitch and voice. (2) to represent the thoughts, and ideas intelligibly.
(3) to communicate with others
(4) to use speaking to learn
(5) to transfer the skills to subsequently skills i.e. reading and writing.

Problems Faced by Indian Students in Attaining Speaking Skills:

(1) The learners don’t have adequate exposure to the language and therefore they don’t get enough scope of listening to English.
(2) They are generally afraid of the language. Because of the different texture of the language they take it for granted that it is very difficult to learn.
(3) Many learners feel shy to speak in English as they are often afraid of being laughed at by others.
(4) Speaking can’t be premeditated or preplanned. It needs presence of mind.
(5) They often fail to understand because of unfamiliar pronunciation, style and account. So they can’t respond properly.

Remedial Measures :

(1) The learner should be provided adequate exposures to the language so that they can get enough chances of listening. This can be done through audio-visual aids, story-telling, conversation.
(2) They should be provided natural atmosphere. Primary mistakes should be overlooked. Self-correction by students can be encouraged. Conversation, group discussion, debates, playing drama can be inspired.
(3) Teacher should try to develop habit formation among learners.
(4) For improvement of pronunciation teacher should pay attention to the following : gninidy
(a) misplaced stress or syllable or absence of stress.
(b) confusion with sounds with meaningful contrasts.
(c) failure to discriminate between long and short dipthongs.
(d) interfence of the phonological interference of the mother tongue.
(e) failure to aspirate inital /p/, /t/, /k/.
(f) tendency to aspirate /h/ when not required.
(g) production of harsh sound /r/in words like ‘far’, ‘star’ etc.
Teacher should point down these mistakes and correct them sympathetically In any way, he should not interrupt the speech of the learner or discourage or rebuke him.

Reading Skills

Reading is also a decoding process like learning a receptive skill. Symbol, sound and sense are the three key words for reading. Reading skills consists of three important components – (a) recognition of the graphic marks.
(b) the correlation of these with formal linguistic elements.
(c) correlation of these with meaning

Aims of Learning Reading :
(1) to read English with accuracy.
(2) to read with correct pronunciation
(3) to read with fluency.
(4) to read with comprehension.
(5) to enable the students to take pleasure of reading.
(6) to enable the pupils to form a habit of reading.
(7) to enable students to read material in English after school life e.g. books at university level, correspondence, reports, magazines, newspapers.


Teaching Methods of Reading

Alphabetic Method

It is called ‘ABC Method’ and ‘Spelling Method’. This is the oldest method. It takes the letters of the English alphabet as the unit of reading.
Procedure :
(1) Teaching the pupils the names of the letters in their alphabetic order.
(2) Repeating ABC ..XYZ until known by heart.
(3) Combining two or more letters to form a word e.g. h-e is he’; s.h.e is she’.
(4) Combining words into phrases and sentences.
(5) Reading passages.
Thus the procedure is
letters -words-phrases -sentences
Limitations of the Method:
(1) It is dull and monotonous
(2) It is not pleasant
(3) It is unpsychological
(4) It neglects conceptual and perceptual learning
(5) It is difficult and lengthy method.

Syllabic Method

The teaching of this method starts with teaching of syllables. Thus in this method unit of teaching is syllable and not an alphabet.
Procedure : (1) Syllables are used directly.
(2) Syllables are combined to form words and sentence.
Limitations: (1) The syllable structure of English is complex and thus it becomes
hard for pupils to read as most of them are in their tender age.
(2) To remember all the syllable-structures of English put a heavy memory load on pupils.
(3) Syllables do not carry meaning and are insignificant.

Word Method

This method takes words as the unit of language. The learners start reading with words. It utilizes the visual and aural-oral appeal simultaneously.
Procedure : (1) The teacher presents words along with pictures which they stand for.
(2) The learners look at the picture and its name written under it or on the black board.
(3) The teacher utters the name of the picture. Thus the words in shape and utterance are associated with the things they stand for.
(4). The learners repeatedly read the words in association with the pictures.
(5) The learners are asked to match words with pictures.
(6) Sentences made up by joining many words are presented by to the learners for reading.
Limitations : (1) It encourages bad habit of reading one word at a time.
(2) All words can’t be taught by pictures.
(3) There are abstract words, full meanings can’t be got through single, separate words.
(4) It does not help in developing accuracy and independence in recognising words.
(5) It ignores spelling.

Phrase Method

It lies midway between word method and sentence method.
Procedure : (1) The teacher prepares a list of phrases and writes one phrase on the
(2) He asks pupils to look at the phrase attentively.
(3) The teacher reads the phrase and pupils repeat it several times.
(4) New phrases are compared with the phrases already taught.
Limitations : It has all the limitations of word method.

Sentence Method

This method is just opposite to the Alphabetic Method. Sentence is the unit of speech. We should adopt, as a unit of reading.
Procedure : (1) The teacher presents a whole sentence along with a picture representing its meaning.
(2) He reads it and asks the learners to read it after him.
(3) The learners read the same sentence for a number of times.
(4) The device of matching sentences with pictures is used. Flash cards with sentences on them are used for the purpose. Flash cards are shown to the learners for a while. They are to recognize and read the sentence at a glance to match with the corresponding pictures.
(5) The learners attention is now drawn to the words used in the sentences and then to the letters.
The procedure of the method is
Sentence—>Phrase—> Words—>Letters.

Advantages :
(1) It facilitates speaking
(2) It is natural and also a psychological method,
(3) It helps in self-education
(1) It over-emphasises memory in the process of learning.
(2) Teaching of alphabetic through this method becomes tedious.
(3) Teachers sometimes find it difficult to read a sentence without the knowledge of words and letters.
(4) Trained teachers are needed.
(5) Properly graded text-books are required.

Story Method

It is an advancement over sentence method. In this method the pupils
are told a story in four and five sentences illustrated through pictures. The children first learn the story by heart and then read it. Thus they first recognise sentences and then words.
This method is based on the assumption that the children have natural liking for stories.
Procedure : (1) The teacher tells the learners a story within 5 or 6 sentences illustrated
with pictures.
(2) The students learn the sentences by heart through listening.
(3) The teacher writes the sentences on the blackboard.
(4) The students are helped to read the sentences
(5) Being acquinted with the sentences the students now concentrate on words and their letters. Advantages :
(1) It creates interest in children .
(2) It gives a complete unit of thought.
Limitation : (1) It has limitations same as those of sentence method.

Phonic Method

This method is based on phonology and it is generally used in association with Alphabetic Method. The unit of teaching in this method is sounds of

Advantages :
(1) It is logical and scientific method.
(2) It follows the maxim ‘analysis’ to ‘synthesis’.
(3) It is linked with speech training.
Limitations :
(1) Trained teachers are always required.
(2) It lays stress on word recognition and ignores meanings.
(3) It causes confusion in students because some words have same sound but different spellings.

Teaching Methods of Writing

Writing, as has been mentioned before, is a productive skill. One of the important aims of teaching a language is to develop the writing skill of the students so that they can express themselves not only orally but also correctly in writing.
The improvement of ability in writing is based on developing proficiency in two main groups of skills i.e.
(1) Mechanical Skills (2) Expressive Skills
Mechanical skill includes; (i) development of handwriting ability (ii) The development of spelling ability (iii) The development of punctuation ability.
Besides, we should remember that writing English well is not simply a matter of good handwriting, correct spelling and punctuation. A competent writer should be able to express himself in medium he wants. As our pupils become inereasingly proficient in mechanics of writing, we should devote more and more attention to developing their proficiency in
various expressive skills.

Aims of Developing Writing Skills
(1) to enable the learners in integrating listening, speaking and reading skills with writing.
(2) to develop frce and fluent expressive writing
(3) to satisfy everyday needs of written communication.
Teaching writing mechanics has three stages as follows:
(a) Preparation for writing
(b) Learning to write
(c) Mastering a mature style
Strategies for developing Writing Skills :
Copying : It is the easiest and foremost step in teaching writing. It grows the pupils skill in the formation of the graphemes, and also makes them conscious of spelling, structure of sentences and acquaints them with different punctuation marks

Productive but controlled Exercises: In such exercises learners are asked to produce sentences or parts of sentences on their own. The learners are made to produce sentences of their own, but in a controlled situation. Such exercises may be text-based or based on personal life experience. It includes such activities as completing an incomplete sentence, transformation of sentences, dicto-composition close passages.
Guided Writing : Here the teachers are allowed to think ideas, discuss among themselves, and get new ideas and clarity or correct their ideas. They are allowed scope to get well prepared for ‘writing. A few such activites are completing half-dialogues, picture composition, answering questions.

Free Writing : The purpose of free writing is initiating independent writing and it hardly focuses on accuracy. It aims to develop in the learners the habit of quick generation of ideas. After the completion of the writing, a carefully planned feedback should follow.

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS of Language skills and Methods

1. Which of the following is not a productive skill
(a) listening
(b) speaking
(c) writing
(d) none of these.

2. Most acurate one of the four skills is
(d) writing
(a) listening (c) reading (d) writing

3. Which of the followings is an advancement of sentence method
(a) Phrase method (b) Story method (c) Phonic method (d) all of these

4. Communicative language learning concerned with
(a) enhancing writing skills
(c) encouraging group discussion (b) improving receptive and productive skills (d) improving vocabulary.

5. The Gathering skill while reading is
(a) analysis (b) note taking
(c) note making (d) puzzling out

6. A communicative technique that requires the listener to feed back what they have heard in their own words to confirm the understanding of both parties, is in steching,

(a) passive (B) active (c) appreciative (d) informative

7.A self contained unit of a discourse in writing dealing with a particular point or idea is-
(a) a statement (b) an essay
(c) a poem
(d) a paragraph

8. When reading to decode’ means to
(A) understanding a foreign language (B) an action used in ICT
(C) rolling a complex puzzle (D) to analyse and understand


10.Which is a Lexical word? (CTET) (2013)
(A) might
(B) love (c) is
(D) the

11. Speaking should be best developed by enabling the learners to (CTET) (2011)
(A) listen to the model provided by the teacher (B) avoid all errors while speaking
(C) read challenging and difficult text
(D) communicate in real-life sctuations

12. When a teacher asks her students to write a letter after having group discussion she is (CTET 2012 Developing language skills and Methods of Teaching )
(A) following traditional method
(C) adopting the direct method of language teaching (B) likely to confuse the students
(D) integrating different language skills

13. Pre-reading terms means-
(A) introducing the main-idea and motivating the learners
(B) explaining the grammatical items used in the reading text
(C) evaluating reading skills of the learners
(D) giving meaning of difficult words and phrases s

14. What is the skill among the ones given below that can’t be tested in a formal written examination? Developing language skills and Methods of Teaching (CTET-2011)
(A) Reading for information
(C) Extensive reading for pleasure (B) Meaning of words and phrases
(D) Analysing texts

15 Ania, while teaching paragraph construction, should draw attention to : (CTET)(2011)
(A) A large variety of ideas
(B) originality. of ideas
(C). topic sentence, supporting details and connectors
(D) a range of vocabulary

ANSWER of Developing language skills and Methods of Teaching
1.(A) 2.(B) 3.(B) 4.(B) 5.() 6.(B) 7.(A) 8.(D)
9.(B) 10.(B) 11.(D) 12.(C) 13.(B) 14.(C) 15.(C)

Developing language skills and Methods of Teaching – Download pdf

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