Watch How Easily You Can Teach the Four Language Skills

teaching the four language skills

The English language involves the use of four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each skill has main features and there are some techniques to teach and develop each skill.

Although the four language skills should be integrated into each lesson, I am are going to focus on each skill separately:

Teaching Listening

Listening involves some sub-skills such as:

  • Skimming (Listening for gist).
  • Scanning (Listening for specific information).
  • Listening for details.

Each listening task should be taught in four main stages:

  1. Introduction stage.
  2. Listening for the first time (Skimming & Scanning).
  3. Listening for details.
  4. Follow-up stage.

The main listening-based exercises are as follows:

  • Listen and do – The students listen to a series of instructions or actions and do them as they hear them.
  • Listen and draw – The students listen to a description of a person, a place or an object and draw it as they listen.
  • Listen and complete – The students listen and use the information to complete a picture, a map, a diagram or a table.
  • Listen and answer – The students listen to give answers to some questions whether the answer is a general idea, a specific piece of information or some details in the listening text.
  • Listen, read and correct the mistakes – The students listen to while reading a text in print. The written text contains a number of mistakes that students should correct according to what they have listened to.
  • Listen and guess –The students listen to a description of a person, a place, an object and try to guess who or what it is.

Here is a video you ought to watch to know more about listening and the stages of teaching a listening task.

Teaching Reading

Reading has sub-skills similar to the ones in listening:

  • Reading for gist (Skimming the reading text).
  • Reading for special information (Scanning the reading text).
  • Reading for details (Intensive reading).
  • Predicting content.
  • Inferring meaning from content and context.
  • Summarizing the text.

Here are some examples of reading activities:

  • Read and complete – The students read a text and use the information to complete a list, a table, a chart or a picture.
  • Read and correct – The students read a text and correct the factual mistakes in it.
  • Read and draw – The students read a text and draw what is described.
  • Read and guess – The students read a text and guess what is described.
  • Read and reorder – The students read a text in scrambled order and number the sentences or paragraphs in the correct order to make a meaningful text or story.

The main stages of teaching a reading task:

  • Introduction stage.
  • Reading for gist (Skimming & Scanning).
  • Reading for details (Intensive reading).
  • Follow-up stage.

Here is a video you ought to watch to know more about reading and the stages of teaching a reading task.

Teaching Speaking

The aim of teaching speaking is to achieve oral communication. That means students become able to use the language to convey messages and communicate with others. 

Each speaking task should be taught in three main stages:

  1. Introducing the topic.
  2. Providing language input.
  3. Encouraging and developing speaking practice using some techniques.

Some example activities to develop speaking skills:

  • Ask and answer – Students ask and answer questions.
  • Describe and draw – In pairs, student “A” has a picture, which student “B” cannot see. Student “A” describes the picture to the partner and student “B” draws it.
  • Discussion – Students work in pairs or groups to find out each other’s ideas or opinions on a topic.
  • Guessing – The teacher, or some of the students, have information which the others have to guess by asking questions.
  • Remembering – Students close their eyes and try to remember, for example, items from a picture or the location of some objects in the classroom.
  • Miming- A student mimes, for example, a feeling or action which the others have to identify.
  • Completing a form/questionnaire – Students ask and answer questions, or provide information, in order to complete a form or questionnaire.
  • Roleplay – Students act out an imaginary situation. They either use dialogue, or the teacher gives them instructions about what to say.

Here is a video you ought to watch to know more about speaking and the types of speaking activities.

Teaching Writing

Writing includes so many other subskills such as:

  • Using the Roman script.
  • Ordering ideas coherently.
  • Spelling accurately.
  • Applying correct punctuation.
  • Using appropriate vocabulary and grammar.
  • Identifying the appropriate writing style.
  • Making extended sentences.

There are two different approaches to teaching writing:

  1. Product approach.
  2. Process approach.

But, in general, teaching writing should go through the following three stages:

  1. Introduction – In this stage, the teacher introduces the topic to help students start thinking about it and practice some of the language related to it. The teacher should provide a context and a reason for writing in this stage.
  2. Guided writing – In this stage, the teacher provides students with guided writing practice giving them some guided ideas, phrases or words. This kind of practice should prepare students for the next writing stage.
  3. Free writing – In this stage, students should use the knowledge and the language input they have acquired to produce their own text without guided items.

Here are some example exercises to provide guided writing practice:

  • Completion – The students fill in the blanks in a text or a crossword puzzle with an appropriate word or phrase.
  • Describing a picture – The students write a description of a picture.
  • Joining – The students join sentences using a linking word, such as “and” or “but”.
  • Matching – The students have to match the two separate halves of sentences that are written in the form of two lists.
  • Reordering – The students have to rearrange words to make meaningful sentences.  
  • Writing from a picture – The students write a certain number of sentences or a paragraph based on a given picture.
  • Responding to a text –The students are given a text to read, e.g. a poem, a letter, an email and asked to respond to it.
  • Survey and report – The students have to gather information from each other and use it to write a report.
  • Visualization – The students close their eyes and visualize a scene which the teacher describes to them. Then, they write about the scene they have imagined.

Here is a video you ought to watch to know more about writing, approaches to teaching it and the steps to follow to apply each approach.

If you plan to watch the previous four videos, you will get basic information about the four language skills and see how easily you can teach each skill in the classroom.

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3 Comments

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  1. Could you please send it on messenger?thinks in advance.

  2. syed Ahsan Naveed

    good informative

  3. Very useful knowledge about ELT.

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