This sample essay on Receptive Skills reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
This study aims to present some useful techniques to teachers who are aiming to improve the students’ receptive skills (reading, listening). Researchers and teachers of second languages realized that most of their students were able to ask questions from foreigners but were not able to understand what they had answered. It is one of the various good reasons for teaching reading/listening.
Students may actually need to read/listen for their work or study, or they want to read/listen for pleasure. In each case, the process needs to be as easy as possible for them.
Exercises focusing on the receptive skills allow the study and practice of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation and punctuation, and the reading/listening can provoke conversation and discussion. At first, the teachers’ main task is to get familiar with the different types of reading and listening activities.
In case of reading there are: skimming, scanning, receptive/intensive reading and extensive reading. In the followings I would like to present them separately. Skimming means when students are examining a text rapidly with occasional periods of close inspection, i. e. , quickly running their eyes over the text to get the general idea.
In the case of scanning students are locating a specific symbol or group of symbols (e. g. : a date or a name of a person or place). So, students are quickly searching for some particular pieces of information.
Receptive/intensive reading means a careful reading aimed to discover exactly what the author seeks to convey; often reading for information; readers need to understand linguistic and semantic detail and pay attention to the text. At last, we speak about extensive reading when readers read for pleasure; readers need to understand all details of the text; speed and skill in getting the general idea are most important (Knutson 1998).
According to Harmer (1991; p. 217-228) there are 5 types of listening: Listening to extract specific information: students listen for specific information at word level (e. g. : filling in charts) Listening for communicative tasks: ‘asks students to listen in order to perform some kind of communicative tasks which is as much like real life as possible, and which involves students working together to solve a problem’ (Harmer 1991; p. 219) Listening for general understanding: students listen to conversations in order to get a general idea of what the main points are
Listening for detail: students listen for groups of and phrases at sentence level When the teacher is aware of the different kinds of reading and listening activities, he/she has to select the authentic materials. He/she has to take into consideration some very important aspects. Namely, the topic of the text should be interesting to the students and relevant to their age. The teachers also have to know the students’ background knowledge, including their experience with the topic, their level of English and the new vocabulary that should be presented.
The teacher also has to examine the text, I mean whether it is organized in a clear way or not. He/she has to know the length and the quality of the text. As Brewster (1991; p. 6) points out, ‘Their attention span is limited. Therefore, tasks should be short, varied, motivating and interesting and should offer concrete perceptual support. ‘ When all the above mentioned aspects are clear for the teacher, he/she can start the lesson, which is concentrating on the receptive skills. According to the book, Kri? ti? ti?
l a Videi? ig teachers should spend some time with presenting the topic. That can be done by making the students start to talk about the topic or tell their opinion separately and loudly to the class. The teachers can also ask questions related to the topic in order to encourage a whole class talking (Holli? et al. 1996). If you are having a reading/listening lesson, you should work on four different stages, namely: Before reading/listening, during reading/listening, after reading/listening, feedback and guidance.
The first one is the stage before learners actually read to listen to the text. The function of this stage is to prepare learners to engage in the text, try to do this as effectively as possible, because it is very important to motivate the students for reading/listening the text. At this stage before reading and listening they will have already formed an idea about the content and type of the text. It is also the time when new vocabulary should be presented and the worksheets should be given out to the students. The teacher has to tell them clearly what there task is.
While the students are listening or reading the teacher should circulate among them in order to see how well they are moving on and help them if it is necessary. Then, when the text had been listened or read the teacher should check whether they were able to complete the exercise or not. If it was not enough to listen to or read the text once, he/she lets them do it again. Sometimes I ask them not to write anything on their handouts at the first listening/reading, just pay attention to the text carefully. On the feedback stage the teacher together with the students corrects the handouts.
True or false statements are popular ways of checking comprehension, and I think that students also like doing these activities. Every course book includes such activities. My favourite reading exercise is mosaic reading, all the students like it, too. I found this exercise in the book, Mi? g 135 i? tlet. In this activity students are given different paragraphs of a story. I often give out tales that are cut into pieces (e. g. : Snow White). Students read their extract and choose the main happening of it. While they are reading I am walking in the class and help them if there is an unknown word or phrase.
They write a statement, and two questions related to their extract. For instance: We are in a little house where everything is so tiny. Why? Who are living here? When the students are ready they ask their questions and the others are checking their extracts to find the answer. If somebody fins it he/she will tell the class. With the help of these questions and answers the students will be able to build up and take into a chronological order the whole story (Gedeon et al. 2002). The students’ favourite listening exercise is of course when we listen to pop songs.
I try to make this more enjoyable by asking them at the end of a lesson to write down their favourite song on a sheet. Then, I collect them and choose one of them. On the next lesson we will listen to that song. I give out the lyric of the song with some missing words; while they are listening they have to complete the gaps. When we have the complete lyric, they translate it to get the general idea of the song. I use the Internet to find the lyrics of the songs. This study aimed to find ways with which the receptive skills of the students can be improved.
The most important a teacher should do is to make the students realize what a wonderful thing it is when we are able to understand a foreign language and read a newspaper that is not written in our native language.
1. Knutson, Elizabeth M. (1998) Reading with a Purpose: Communicative Reading Tasks for the Foreign Language Classroom ERIC Clearinghouse on Languages and Linguistics Washington DC. Retrieved from the World Wide Web: 01-04-2003
2. Harmer J. (1991) The Practice of English Language Teaching, Longman Group UK Limited
3. Brewster J. 1991 “Listening and the Young Learner” in Teaching English to Children Ed. Brumfit, Moon and Tongue Collins ELT
4. Holli? D. – Kontri? ni? H. E. – Ti? mi? r i?. (1996) A Kri? ti? ti? l a Videi? ig Tanki? nyvkiadi? , Budapest
5. Gedeon i?. – Lengyel Zs. – Ri? dai P. (2002) Mi? g 135 i? tlet Helikon Kiadi? Kft. , Budapest 1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Teaching section.