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Concourse 2

Strand 4: Teaching language skills


If the students have listened to a text it wasn't necessarily a listening lesson.

If the students have spent most of the lesson speaking, it wasn't necessarily a speaking lesson.

If the students have read a text, it wasn't necessarily a reading lesson.

If the students have written a text, it wasn't necessarily a writing lesson.

Confused?  Read on.


Testing, practising and learning

Which is which?

Decide if the following procedures are practising a skill, testing a skill or teaching a skill.  Then click on the table.


The point being made here is an obvious one.  Skills focused lesson have to do more than use the skill.  They have to teach the skill.

Fortunately, help is at hand on this site to encourage you to develop teaching approaches to the four main skills that allow you to do just that.  You can click on any of the links below to open the guides.

Here's a suggested procedure:

  1. Pick the skill in which you want to develop your teaching approaches.
  2. Work through the skills guides explaining what the skills involve.  Depending on your knowledge and experience, this will not necessarily be a particularly long job.
  3. Now go on to the guides to teaching the skill.  This may take a little longer.
  4. Using what you have learned (and your own insights and teaching skills) design, plan, teach and reflect on a skills-focused lesson which actually sets out explicitly to teach the skill or subskill.
  5. Work on a series of lessons, not just a one-off practice.


Gauging progress

There's a separate guide in this section of the site to gauging and measuring progress in your development.  Go there for more ideas.

One simple way to gauge whether focusing on teaching rather than practising skills and subskills is helping is to see if you think it made any difference to your learners' ability to use the skills consistently and consciously.

Another way is to ask them, of course.

Here are the links to the individual guides.

Learn about teaching language skills in general
Learning about and teaching listening
Learning about and teaching reading
Learning about and teaching writing
Learning about and teaching speaking

If you have another issue with teaching language skills that you would like some advice about, contact ELT Concourse and we'll see what we can do to help.