Integrating Skills

Keeping in mind the different skills when teaching.       

When teaching, it is very common that the Institution you are working for defines the syllable, textbook and workbook you have to be using in your classroom; this creates a sense of lack of liberty but at the same time provides you with security. Lack of liberty to use materials that you know and are willing to work with, and security because you don’t have to worry about the materials to plan ahead. Normally, the textbook you are working with provides a series of exercises that normally inform you and the students the skill to focus on, but is that the only skill to practice?

To start, we should establish the kind of language skills we are talking about. First we have the productive skills, these are the ones we use to produce the language, and these are Speaking and Writing. Then, we have the receptive skills and, as the name indicates, these are the abilities to receive information, Listening and Reading.

The activities that textbooks normally work with are designed for teachers and students to focus on one particular language skill but it has been said that no one skill can be produced without at least, another. That means that if we are focusing in exercises to practice one given skill, that cannot be isolated, for instance, a listening comprehension exercise must involve some speaking as they produce responses and some writing as the students are completing the exercise on the book.

Just as real-life, we involve different skills when we are talking to a friend, that is, we listen to them and then we speak as an answer is produced, we read a newspaper to be able to talk later about the news read or to write a report for school, we have to use this kind of integration when we teach an L2 because that is the proper manner to put into practice.

Lately, a new skill has been integrated into the classical four skills (Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing) that is Critical thinking, but is that a real skill?

The answer to this question and many others will be covered in the materials selected for this module.








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