Four Skills (comments and opinions)

In my book TKT are some comments from teachers in relation to the four language skills and I would like to comment about them.

In the case of reading…reading-listthey said that reading for details is the most important reading skill and I agree with them because you show if you really understood the reading. With questions about the reading you did, you can verify if you really have captured the main idea.

They like to read them stories, even if they don’t understand anything. I think it’s good to do this, because little by little, they will understand more and more because of the frequency of the readings and they are to be identifying much more with vocabulary.

Some of their learners try to understand each new word in a text; they often don’t understand what the whole text is about. It is a mistake that most students make, when they want to translate each word not known in the read text. It is important that teachers make them know that it’s wrong to translate every word and remind them that they should try to imagine what the story is about with the little they understand when they read.

writingIn writing, when they teach writing they usually focus more on accuracy than on communicating ideas. I think this is a bad idea. I say that you must first teach students to understand main ideas and then accuracy. It is very difficult; especially for beginners write accurately and I think it is more important to convey thoughts and ideas in a text than just write something without errors.

Their learners find writing really boring. Teachers do it as little as possible. That’s horrible; they should not stop teaching this important skill just because students are bored. When this happens it is necessary that the teacher finds a way to make it more fun, such an activity, teamwork or a game. He/She has to motivate them. If they do not, they are failing as teachers.

ListenAbout listening, to improve their listening, what their students need most is to learn more vocabulary. Learning listening skills won’t help them. I agree because if they know more vocabulary, listening they will understand more words, so they understand the idea or message. Teach listening skills is just to explain the purpose or objective of skill and some tips, so not much help to get the main idea of the text.

Teachers do not think their learners should listen to them for listening practice. There is no point in them listening to English spoken with their accent. Students must listen to their teachers speak English, thus they can notice the pronunciation, tone of voice, accents, and also recorded some expressions. It is an obligation of the teachers speaks in English in front of students.

Their learners always try to understand every word when they listen, so they give them transcripts to read as they listen. Like writing, it is important not to want to understand every word we hear because we will not understand the main idea. You should try to guess, with the words that you understand, what the person says. When students hear recordings, it is good to give them an idea about what comes through questions or describing a picture. Then, let them hear the recording without the aid of a transcript and the second time, enable them to see the transcript. This helps students to see the spelling, sentence structures and finally understand the whole recording.

hablarIn speaking, their students get really embarrassed talking and making mistakes in front of their classmates, so they do not often ask them to speak in class. A teacher should promote respect within the classroom; it is part of their job. If students do not practice in class where are they going to do? Classes are to learn and practice.

Teachers like asking their class to tell one another stories. Students get so interested that they do not worry about the mistakes they make. It is a good activity, teachers should encourage students to practice speaking English but the teacher must correct their mistakes, so they do not continue making the same mistakes.

Please, let me know your comments and tell me if you agree with me or not.

Developing skills

Learning a new language means developing skills that allow you to process what other people say in another language and to communicate what you want to say.

When we learn a language, there are four skills that we need for complete communication; reading (receptive skill), writing (productive skill), listening (receptive skill), and speaking (productive skill).

listening_speaking_reading_writing

As a teacher, you will need to address each of these skills. And, whenever possibleyou should utilize activities that integrate all four skills since each reinforces the other.

I tried to do an activity to apply in a future, in which my students will use the four language skills. For this, I use this application http://vocaroo.com/  that I found in this blog http://tefltecher.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/tesol-spain-thingy/.

My students are beginners and in my course book unit 5 is about animals. What I want to apply, as homework, is the following: they have to choose their favorite animal and answer the following questions, where does it live? What color is it? How big is it? What does it eat? What can it do? What’s and special about it? For this, they have to investigate the characteristics of the animal that they chose to answer the questions above; this implies that they have to read and write.

Then, with the responses, they should make a recording here http://vocaroo.com/  saying, as a text, the characteristics of the animal but something important, they must not tell what animal it is. This implies that they have to speak.

This is an example Flecha-34 http://vocaroo.com/i/s0fwl3PvYOSI#.VB-oNrhD-JQ.hotmail

Finally, they have to send the recording to all your classmates and to me also. This in order to listen to all the recordings and try to guess what animal is. The next day, they have to bring in writing, the name of your classmate and the name of the animal that he/she assumes that his/her classmate described.

The application of Vocaroo is very easy to use, so they will not have any difficulty performing their activities.

The way I’m going to evaluate this activity is using a rubric, considering only the activity of speaking.

CATEGORY 1 2 3 4 Score
Pronunciation
  • Most utterances contain errors.
  • Many utterances are incomprehensible.
  • Frequent errors that confuse listener and require guessing at meaning.
  • Comprehensible, generally correct.
  • Occasional error.
  • Phonetically correct.
  • Almost error-free.
  • Awareness of accent.
  • Genuine effort to sound like native speaker.
Fluency
  • Constant searching for vocabulary, verb tense.
  • Does not complete utterances.
  • Frequent hesitations.
  • Halting, searches for words.
  • Occasional hesitation.  Searching for words.
  • Speaker can self-correct.
  • Smooth flow.
  • Quick, continuous flow.
  • Natural pauses.
Vocabulary
  • Inadequate vocabulary or incorrect use of
  • lexical items.
  • Communication difficult.
  • Vocabulary is just adequate to respond.
  • No attempt to vary expressions.
  • Basic.
  • Good, appropriate vocabulary.
  • Generally good response.
  • Very good; wide range.
  • Uses appropriate and new words and
  • Expressions.
  • Interesting response.
Syntax
  • Most structures incorrect.
  • Constant use of infinitive; no conjugation.
  • Errors impede communication.
  • Many errors (agreement, verb forms).
  • Errors in basic structures.
  • Two or fewer syntax errors.
  • Minor errors that do not impede communication.
  • Self-corrects on some.
  • No grammatical errors.
  • Speaker self-corrects without hesitation.

An easy way to learn

make-learning-fun

Hi!!!

It is important to find a better method to learn vocabulary instead of rewrite a big list of words or memorize all. Learning through exercises, games and quizzes are a funny and interesting way to learn English, so I tried to do some easy games just to remember the glossary terms and then their meanings and examples.

     Check the following links.

flechas,arrows,png luces (2)

http://www.educaplay.com/es/recursoseducativos/1522326/glossary_terms.htm

http://www.educaplay.com/es/recursoseducativos/1522964/glossary_terms.htm

The first link corresponds to the glossary terms of the second unit.

This game consists in a crossword. You have to click start and then the crossword appears. You´ll see a clock in top that will be counting the time you perform the activity but do not worry, it is just for your record. You have all the time that you need. In the right side you will see the clue and an example that allow you think in the possible answer. You have to click in one of lines crossword and write the word. You decide in what order you want to answer. This activity has two options that help you show one single letter of the search word or the complete word. When you finish, click in “check” and will appear your score.

The second link corresponds to the glossary terms of the third unit.

This activity is a test. You have to click start and then the questions appear. You´ll see again the clock in top that will be counting the time you perform the activity. You have to choose the correct answer and then click “next”. When you finish click “end” and your score appear and you could see the correction of your answers.

I hope they are useful.

See you next time!

Grammar according to our purpose.

It is no doubt that the grammar is a very essential part when you learn a language. In this case if you want to learn English is important to have a basic knowledge of grammar. A student should know much grammar as possible. It is important to study it, learn everything and know well the basics of the language, and if you do not learn the basics of the language, you can not speak English fluently.

grammar

Despite this, in my opinion, it is up to each person in what grade wants to learn English. For instance, if you just want to speak and understand English just to communicate with or just to understand a foreigner, I think you do not need to get to know a lot of grammar rules, tenses or very complex things. You’d need only to start with the most basic of the language and a lot of practice, and so, once you have mastered it, I think, it would be much easier to understand the structure of the grammar then, of course, only if you want to have a better standard of English and if you would like to use it for another purpose. It is better talk fluidly to want to say things very complicated or say them bad. This does not mean we do not have to study grammar; this is an option or method that I give to those who just want to learn for pleasure or pastime.

On the other hand, if you are someone who want to learn English for the purpose of getting a job or get something more profitable, for example, to be a teacher, it is indispensable and almost mandatory know everything about grammar.

Nowadays, forms of education have changed and they have necessarily to change to end the traditional way of teaching, it is no longer necessary to stay glued to a book of grammar, now, besides watching movies and series in English, listen to songs and read books there are many websites where there are very practical and understandable exercises, the idea is that everyone must have the intention and will to learn alone through the support of these exercises online.

check out these sites, I found them very useful and helpful.

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http://www.curso-ingles.com/nivel1.php

http://www.e-aprender-ingles.com/

http://www.learnenglish.de/#

http://www.vocabulary.co.il/

http://www.shertonenglish.com/

http://www.aulafacil.com/cursos/t1135/idiomas/ingles/ingles-a1