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How to teach English - Teaching Spoken and Oral Skills besides Written
When I first began teaching Spoken English I had no clue what I was doing. I was unaware of the
differences between written and oral skills. I learnt on the job and
I learnt fast.
Essentially there are Four Language Skills that one needs to master to learn a language. These are
Notice that's the order in which a baby learns a language too.
The baby in India is usually bombarded with at least two different
languages before he can understand a word at home. The regional language or mother tongue is one and Hindi is the other. In
urban areas there are babies who learn English at
home besides these two other languages.
However the majority are usually fluent in their Mother Tongue alone.As for Hindi and English that is learnt in school. When you teach English in school to these children all the langauage skills get used. Language Skills come into play in this order
are more interested in getting the child to write answers correctly for the exams and
after the priliminary classes when orals are no longer part of the
exams one hardly gets to practice speaking the language.
This leads to a large population who has learnt English in school but has little confidence to speak the language. That's where Spoken English classes come in to their rescue. What is done is to make them speak as much as they can in English. This is done using various techniques such as impromptu discussions, prepared speeches and presentations, dialogues between people,and many more exercises. This improves their confidence levels and Spoken English.
The writing activities that can help an adult learn English as a second language better are listed here.
1. Keep a Diary or Journal : Encourage the ESL (English as a Second Language) student to record their experiences and thoughts. This makes them describe things in detail as well as learn to express their own opinion.
2. Writing Letters and Emails : By communicating to others in English, you get a chance to clearly express your thoughts, and build up your vocabulary. Plus since it doesn't have an instant feedback required, an ESL student can take some time and consult the dictionary about exactly what he wants to say.
The reading activities that help ESL students and should be encouraged include:
1. Reading the Newspaper in English : By reading the newspaper not only do you keep abreast of the latest news from around the world, you also manage to pick up a fair deal of new vocabulary. Words written in print may not be often in common use while speaking, but they do help improve the language skills of a person.
2. Reading Novels and Books : Reading something interesting is always likely to make you read more. So find an author or genre you enjoy and begin reading those books. An ESL student can pick up a fair bit about turn of phrase and colloquial language in a regular novel that would never be found in the classics.
Hearing how someone says a word can often be very helpful in the English language where what you spell may not be how you pronounce it.
1. Watch English Sit-Coms : Situational comedies are always running on television and can be tuned in to any time. You manage to not only get a good deal of dialogue delivery learned, you can also pick up more about the culture of the English speaking world when you watch families and friends interact in this series.
2. Listen to the News on the Radio : This again is a good activity to attune your non native ears to how the natives speak the language. Try BBC for the British Accent and get the scoop on the American news on CNN. A student of English would do well to acquaint himself with just how differently the very same words may be pronounced in different countries.
No matter how much to read, or listen or write, you are never going to master a language until you begin to speak and practice it.
1. Just a Minute (JAM) : A simple but effective way to develop fluency while speaking is to give a topic to an ESL student and ask him to talk about it for just one minute. Do give the topic about five minutes before they are due to speak so that they can come up with a structure and some ideas of what they would like to speak about.
2. Group Discussion : Nothing gets the tongue going as much as a good group discussion on a somewhat controversial topic. Have a set of few topics handy and run a group discussion under moderation.
Some Resources for Teaching English
- Tips to Improve Your Spoken English
A few practical things to do to improve your spoken English.
- About Life by Cashmere Lashkari: Reading : a Hobby
How reading as a hobby can really improve your language skills.