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Redefining basic language skills

Updated on October 3, 2014

Basic language skills


Much have been told and written about the basic language skills. But this is something different, something newer in the sense that a closer reading of the article will help the reader redefine the coverage of the definitions of the skills. This writing, for its newness in perspectives, may also run the risk of not being featured as a hub.

Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are the basic language skills that we endeavor to learn, teach, and practice in our schools. Each of these skills has some special and unique concomitant features and in their interactivities play a very important role in the development of language skills. From learners' viewpoint an ongoing awareness of these interactions may help them much in the augmentation of their linguistic abilities.

We are familiar with these four language skills. We hardly think of illustrating any further extensions or accompanying features of these skills. But these extensions are very vital and essential for the development of these skills. In fact, the control of these extensions determines the improvement of the basic language skills of a learner.

In class management it has been observed that if the learners are given some ideas of the accompanying functional features of the basic skills , they become more attentive to know the processes of their own minds and they come forward to change their learning strategies. They enjoy a newer control over their skills which begin follow a fresh augmentation process.

The present article is an attempt to throw light upon two input skills reading and listening. With a short analysis of these skills the author does intend to help the learners to strengthen their input activities so that they can make a better use of their investment of time, energy, and concentration.

Reading skill

We all have experiences of reading and reading skill. We also have seen that some readings are 'dull' by nature and present us very little learning experience, if any at all. Some other readings are found to be 'effective' by nature and bless us with a deep and wide enlightening learning experience.

A closer look at the differences of the outcomes of these two types of reading will reveal that the presence and the degree of presence of the 'extensions' are responsible for this difference.

I would like to identify these extensions which are (1) the use or activity of memory, and (2) the use of understanding. Besides these there is every possibility of the existence of some more extensions.

As we read, we continue to read words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs and at this stage we must make the use of our memory to remember what we have just read; and at the same time we must use our understanding to realize what ideas and information have been presented in our reading material. When we do it we find our reading to be 'an effective reading' and when we miss to do it we experience ' a dull reading'.

So ,as we begin to read and continue reading we must ensure ourselves about the extensions mentioned here.

We must come out of our habit of presenting that 'Basic language skills' means the four skills only. Mention must be made of the various associations that work together with the skills that we present as basic skills. The speed sentences are read with and ideas are formed in our mind are also some important contributing factors. Formation of fresh ideas and enrichment and strengthening of already existing ideas depend on the preparedness of our mind which further depend on the strategy of current reading processes.

Listening skill

Listening skill has also something to do with the extensions mentioned in the previous paragraph. As we listen to any speaker, we make use of our memory and understanding to realize what the speaker is trying to communicate to us. If our attention fails to keep in memory the words, phrases, and sentences just delivered, and if at the same time we do not use our understanding we fail to perceive any communicated idea. So it is imperative that we always make our learners aware of the extensions.

In a overcrowded class recently , the present author has explained to the learners the possible cause of their inattentiveness to the lecture exposing the functions of the extensions of skills. The total behavior of the class changed and they were surprised to see that their listening is also a form of art. Their concentration to the lecture increased and their participation in the discussion began to show a promising change.

About writing and speaking

This article will suffer from a sense of unbearable incompleteness if something is not told about the two skills which help us to give an outlet to our ideas and information. We write, we speak and thus express our ideas and thought to others. It hardly needs to be mentioned that before we speak or write we must organize our words to make the expression. Here the whole work is a form of art the success of which depends on the sense of art of the performer. If the speaker or writer thinks that he has nothing to make any artwork in his expression, his communicated language will be very simple bearing a simple appeal to the listener or reader. If, on the other hand, he feels the necessity of some form of art in his expression, he succeeds and his communication bears a stronger appeal to the listeners and readers, nay, he holds them with a magical charm and spell.

Skills and their extensions

For a betterment of achievements in our language classes we must focus our attention to the concept of the' extensions of skill- definitions' and the author with his recent findings has become very hopeful that this concept, though not something very new, shall help the young learners a lot to improve their learning abilities with a miraculous change in their handling of linguistic communication problems.

If the learners become aware of the definitions and ranges of the skills , they will feel urged to make a finer use of their skills and by doing so they will be increasing their attention and learning abilities. A language is the carrier and medium of ideas and information. So , whenever there is a change in the linguistic behaviors of learners ,it indicates a better change in the hold of ideas and information of the learners. They become more creative and more thoughtful and the process as a whole is a jumping change in the functioning of the institute.


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