Teach English in FenxiAng Zhen - Yichng Shi

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An integrated approach means “the teaching of the language skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking in conjunction with each other as when a lesson involves activities that relate listening and speaking to reading and writing” [2]. These components facilitate communication and represent an indispensable part of our real life. Widdowson H.G. was one of the first linguists who presented the importance of integrating the four language skills in language teaching for the purpose of raising learners’ proficiency levels. He stated that “we can talk of skills in respect to usage/grammar, but if we talk about language use/communication, we need a different concept, and perhaps a different term” [4]. Teaching integrated skills may require a lot of time and preparation. Nevertheless, if a teacher wants his students to become successful communicators, he/she has to make the situations in the classroom as authentic as possible. Adopting a skill-based approach and teaching language on all four levels: reading, writing, listening, and speaking, has a lot of advantages. Here are some of them: • It exposes learners to authentic language, thus arousing their interest in what they are learning. They become motivated and take more responsibility for their learning. • New knowledge and skills are built based on what students already know and can do. For example, if a student can read a story it will help him write his own story. • This approach personalises the learner’s learning experience by identifying his/her learning style. Thus, having a variety of activities, learners can choose what works best for them and improve their weaknesses. • It allows teachers to make their lessons more varied by using a wide range of authentic materials and activities. • Due to the fact that the integration of four skills is concerned with real communication, one already teaches at the level of discourse, not just at the level of words or sentences. • Learners can visualise the richness and complexity of the English language because, using this method, they are triggered to use it on different levels. • Teachers are able to track their learners’ evolution in multiple skills at the same time. • The psychological and emotional benefit is that it reduces anxiety and stress by encouraging students to use real communication rather than separate structures and phrases. • This approach is learner-centred and transforms the teacher into a guide and helper. Students participate actively during the lessons through communication. Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks regarding the integration of four skills in the language learning process. Though there are less disadvantages than advantages, here are some of them: • Using a skill-based approach can be time consuming because it requires a lot of preparation for the teacher. • Receptive skills (reading and listening) are stronger than productive ones (speaking and writing). Thus, they develop differently and require different period of time to be taught and acquired. This may create problems in designing suitable materials that incorporate all the skills. • In order to use this approach, teachers need to be proficient enough to choose and design integrated activities and materials for their learners. • Teachers have to be skilled in understanding discourse and use textbooks flexibly. Consequently, integrated approach is beneficial and successful, being the optimal approach when it comes to skills instructions. With careful reflection, planning and preparation, any teacher can integrate the skills that are essential in every person’s life. In fact, some believe that foreign language acquisition is primarily a subconscious process. For language acquisition to occur, the learner must be exposed to comprehensible and meaningful input. Using the skill-based approach, a great number of students, through their learning styles, can envision the input. This is achieved at a very personal level by a skill-based approach. Bibliography 1. Chamot A.U. & O’Malley J.M. The CALLA Handbook: Implementing the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach. Reading: MA: Addison Wesley, 1994. 2. McDonough J., Shaw C., Masuhara H. Materials and Methods in ELT: A Teacher’s Guide. Third Edition. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2013. 3. O’Malley J.M. & Valdez Pierce L. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners: Practical Approaches for Teachers. New York: Addison Wesley, 1996. 4. Widdowson H.G. Teaching Language as Communication. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1978 Internet sources 5. http://elt.dinternal.com.ua/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=153 6. https://monografias.com/ 7. https://www.slideshare.net/