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Teach English in LaozishAn Zhen - Huai'an Shi
Integrated skills represent the interaction of all four skills, essential for effective language learning and real-life communication: receptive skills-listening and reading, and productive skills-writing and speaking. Implementing an integrated skills approach in English lessons allows learners to practice and explore an authentic language, become successful communicators, and gain a full picture of the language abundance and complexity. When designing a syllabus, based on integrated skills approach, a teacher needs to take into consideration two main types of language teaching syllabi, suitable for integrating learners’ skills, such as task-based, and content-based syllabi. A task-based approach is defined as activities with a purpose other than language learning, but the performance of the task is intended to develop required language abilities. As an example, discussing a possible job offers with an HR of the company. A content-based approach widely used to design syllabus in many private schools around the globe, and emphasizes on learning language skills in highly integrated, communicative way while learning main content (science, history, informatics, etc.) When choosing activities for integrated approach based learning, a teacher should take into consideration factors such as learners’ age, language proficiency level, interests, and motivation for learning the language. Integrating skills in the learning process allows a teacher to vary activities, creating an engaging and motivating experience for students. For beginner and elementary learners activities, such as “Who is it? What is it?” will help to integrate and practice all four skills, learn new vocabulary, its meaning, and usage, improve accuracy and fluency of the language. The teacher will open class activity by reading a story about self, a famous historical figure, animal, etc. By the end of the reading, after elicitation and pronunciation practice is done, a teacher will place key vocabulary, verbs, and question cues on the board. A teacher then will ask students to write a short story about the self, influential figure, etc., include interesting unique facts about the character, but leave the name aside. Upon the completion of the written part, a teacher will ask students to exchange their stories, read them first for themselves, and then present to the class one by one. From the context of the story, students will have to guess who or what is the story about. By listening to a teacher’s story, and instructions on the assignment, writing own stories, reading the stories of the classmates, and presenting them to the class, students integrating their learning skills. Intermediate and pre-intermediate students can communicate and understand a great variety of topics. They are able to engage in more advanced language learning activities to improve integrated skills. For the introduction of the lesson, a teacher can ask students about their favorite books and authors. After the discussion, a teacher will offer to chose a book, split it into chapters or stories, and assign a story(chapter) to a student to read, analyze, and write a short essay on its main thesis. Upon the completion of the assignment, students will take turns to present and discuss their work with the class. Upper-intermediate and advanced learners have a very good knowledge of the English language and can engage in complex activities, and real-life events to practice and improve integrated skills. As an introduction to a lesson, a teacher will present video or audio news reports on current ecological problems, such as plastic overuse, and ocean pollution. After the elicitation and new vocabulary learning, a teacher will split students into pairs or groups, pass around worksheets, describing one particular issue per sheet, and offer to come up with the possible solution to a given problem. Students will then discuss and write down their ideas. Upon the completion of the assignment, students will present the problem and possible solutions to the class. Integrated skills approach can be highly motivating to students of all ages and language proficiency levels, strengthen a desire to experiment with the language, improve memorization, participation, and collaboration, expand learners' everyday interaction in the authentic language, improve language accuracy and fluency, build confidence, and prepare for the future career success. As for a teacher, an integrated approach allows to develop diverse and effective student-centered lessons, decrease teacher talking time, and trace students’ progress in multiple skills at the same time.