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Oposiciones al cuerpo de maestros 2009

UNIT 3.

Desarrollo de las destrezas lingsticas: comprensin y expresin oral,


comprensin y expresin escrita. La competencia comunicativa en
ingls.

When we are children we learn the four skills in our own language, but not at the same
time. First of all, we listening, then we begin speaking and finally we acquire the
capacity of reading and writing. So in our classroom we as teachers have to introduce
the students the four skill in the foreign language, but it is necessary to know when and
how to do it in order to improve our pupils communicative competence.
It is interesting to point out that the four skills can be classified as following: in relation
to the speaker and in relation to the medium. So according to the speaker, listening and
reading are passive or receptive skills and speaking and writing are active or productive
skills. From a medium point of view, listening and speaking are oral-medium and
reading and written are visual-medium.

Along this unit we are going to study the four skills. In the first part we will analyse the
oral skills (listening and speaking) and writing skills (reading and writing). In the
second part we will pay attention on the reasons for integrating the four skills in
combination in our classroom and the advantages of this integration. Finally we focus
our attention on the communicative competence, the aim of the Educational system. We
will finish the unit with a brief conclusion and point out the bibliography.

After this introduction we are going to deal with the oral skills: listening skill and
speaking skill.

Regarding to listening skill:


Our pupils spend much of their time listening to the teacher or to the tape-recorded
materials with songs, rhymes, games, poems, etc.
It is very important to bear in mind that the students will concentrate more during a
listening activity if this activity is purposeful. If we want the learners to engage actively
in a listening activity they must be either interested in what they are going to listen to or
they must find it useful. We as teacher have to build up the students confidence by
telling them that it is OK not to understand every single word, the important thing is to
take the gist of the listening text. If we want to help them feel confident about listening
activities we must also teach the learners to develop strategies for listening, that is, to
develop microskills. These are the following: Predicting, Extracting specific
information, Getting the general picture, Inferring opinion and attitude, Deducing
meaning from context and recognising discourse patterns and markers.

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Before planning a the listening activities there are some considerations teachers must
bear in mind:
- If the lesson will be developed in classroom or in the language laboratory.
- If students will work alone, in pair or in groups.
- The time available.
- The level of the class-group.
- If others skills will be integrated.

After these considerations there are a number of steps to take:


- Choose the listening text.
- Check that activities are suitable.
- Adjust the level of difficulty of the activities to the level of the students.
- Think about the visual aids.
- Decide whether any special equipment will be needed.
- Practice reading the text if the teacher is going to read it aloud.

Once the previous consideration have been studied, it is time to deal with the listening
activities. They can be devised into three stages:
- Pre-listening activities: Have as main aim to arouse our pupils interest in what
they are going to listen to. This will create expectations and will give them a
definite purpose for listening. Prelistening activities may include: looking at
pictures and talking about them, making lists of ideas, reading through questions
to be answered while listening, etc.
- While-listening activities: The aim of this stage is challenging and guiding
students to handle the information and message contained in the passage. Some
activities that teacher can develop in classroom are: true or false sentences,
completing grids, matching pictures with what is heard, putting pictures in order,
following a route, multiple choice questions, spotting mistakes, etc.
- Post-listening activities: This stage can be thought of a follow-up work or
extension work. Students take the information they have gained from the
listening passage and use it for another purpose such as composition, oral
summary, discussions, dictations, role-play, simulations, drawings, and so on.

Now we are going to focus the attention on speaking skill.


It is very important to encourage our students to develop communication in classroom
because it gives them the opportunity to improve their level of English. But it is too
difficult to get a communicative situation in a foreign language because the learners
think they are not ready to speak in that foreign language. So by hearing this language
over and over again, our pupils will be able to make utterances in English. To make this
happen we have to prepare our oral lessons carefully.

An oral lessons are divided into three stages:


- Presentation stage: The main aim is to present the meaning and form of the new
language in such a way that pupils will realise the relevance and usefulness of
the new language items. In order to do so we must try to provide a clear,
motivating, natural and relevant context.

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After the new language has been presented in a meaningful context and some imitation
and repetition been carried out, our pupils must be given opportunity to practice these
items themselves, so they need: oral practice, guided oral practice, meaning oral
practice and extensive oral practice. It can be achieve en the next step.
- Practice stage: This stage may follow two pattern, that is, one or two brief drills
to allow practice with the form of the language, and one or two controlled
communicative activities to consolidate the meaningful. Teacher can develop the
following activities according to Harmer: reading aloud, guessing drills,
information gap procedures, mechanical drills, open-ended responses, etc.
- Production stage: the students will use the language in a freer, more creative
and motivating way, and they will check how much they know and learn about
English. The most common activities include in this stage are: oral games, role-
play, discussions, information and opinion gaps, discourse chain, etc.

As far as writing skills we pay attention on reading skill and writing skill.
First reading skill:
The Primary educational Curriculum establishes that everything the learners might read
must be related to their needs and interests. Reading in English in the early stages will
usually remain at the word level. Little by little, teacher must present the students with
longer texts based on words they orally know.
Reading strategies are similar to listening strategies as they both are receptive skills, but
in reading we can talk about:
- Skimming skill: Students have to read the text to get the general idea.
- Scanning skill: Students have to read the text to get the specific information.

Reading activities are divide into three stages:


- Pre-reading stage: Teacher introduce the reading text in a meaningful way using
visuals aids. The main aim is to motivate the students by relating the topic to
their personal experiences, or to the knowledge they have about it. They can also
predict the context if we provide them with flashcards, photos, real objects,
puppets and so on.
- While-reading stage: The teacher gives the students points to search for: getting
the idea of the text, or specific information. The first case is called extensive
reading; the other is intensive reading.
- Post-reading stage: The learners will use the information taken in the text to
develop more interesting, creative and motivating activities. In this stage other
skills may be use.
The most common activities that teacher may develop in classroom with the students
are: sequencing, matching pictures, games arrange jumbled sentences or paragraphs,
and so on.

The last skill we are going to analyse is writing skill.


In the early stages of learning English, the pupils will generally write very little. They
are most likely to be engaged in some form of guided copying to produce words or
sentences.
Initial guided writing activities may be oriented at both word and sentence level.

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At word level activities: we may find the following activities according with Brewster:
making lists, working out anagrams, matching labels to pictures or diagrams, making
personal dictionaries, completing crosswords and classifying words under headings.

At sentence level activites: students can develop in classroom these activities: writing
captions for pictures, writing sentences based on questionnaires, correcting mistakes in
written sentences, writing speech bubbles for cartoons and answering questions.

After the second primary education stage the students will be encourage to produce
writing, leaving the practice stage. This production stage should take the form of letters,
invitations or cards which are easily related to the learners experiences and needs.
Writing at this level will demand sentence and text structure, organisation of ideas and
lay-out. The students begin to face real writing and real writing microskill.
The author Matthews summary the writing subskills into five headings: graphic skills,
stylistic skills, organisation skills, grammatical skills and rhetorical skills.

This is the end of the first point of the topic. Now we are going to deal with the second
one where we will analyse the integration of the four skills.

Integration of skills can be defined as the process by means of which a series of


activities of tasks use any combination of the four linguistic skills.
If we want the students to improve their English we have to integrate the four skills in
combination. But it is very important and necessary to know when and how to do that.
First of all students have to practice each skill individually and then little by little
integrate the others. So teachers have to choose activities to work all the skills or at least
more than one skill.
The linguistic Carol Read finds two main reason for devising activities sequences with
integrated skills: To practice and extend the pupils use of a particular language item
and to develop the pupils ability in two or more skills within a constant context.

There are a number of important advantages in skill integration:


- Continuity: activities are not performed in isolation but rather in a closely
related way.
- Realism: a realistic communicative framework can not be based in isolation skill
work.
- Appropriate: language which is used in different opportunities is more
appropriated.
- Variety: activities involving the four skills are more varied and foster
motivation.
- Recycling: integration clearly allows for recycling and revision of language.
- Confidence: pupils can compensate the weaknesses in one skill with strengths in
other.

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Summing it up, we can say that the four skills in combination lead to the acquisition of
the Communicative Competence. So it is the moment of deal with the third part of the
unit. The aim of our Educational System is our pupils to improve the Communicative
competence. This concept was developed by two linguistics: Chomsky and Hymes.
The linguistic Chomsky said that the natives speakers knowledge have a subconscious
knowledge of the grammar rules of their own language that allows them to use
sentences in that language. It was called Competence. But the author Hymes came to
said that Chomsky Competence is not enough to explain the native speaker knowledge
because they have to know where, when and to whom use the utterances. So he
developed the concept Communicative Competence.
There are four aspects of the competence:
- Systematic Potential: means that the native speakers process a system which
has a potential to create a lot of language.
- Appropriacy: means that the native speakers know what language is
appropriated in a communicative situation. A utterance will be correct in relation
to a context.
- Occurrence: means that the native speakers know how often a utterance is
correct in a conversation.
- Feasibility: means that the native speakers know if a grammar structure is
possible in a language.

One of the most helpful discussions of competence is to be found in Canale and Swains
article. According to this author (Canale 1983), communicative competence refers to the
underlying systems of knowledge and skill required for communication The four
components of communicative competence can be summarized as following:

- Grammar Competence.
- Discourse Competence.
- Sociolinguistic Competence.
- Strategies Competence.
- Socio-cultural Competence.

As conclusion to point out that in this unit we have analysed the teaching and learning
of the four skills. These four main skills are a constant part of peoples life, and teachers
should remember this fact when teaching English. People communicate by combining
two or more of these skills. Therefore, the process of learning these skills must be seen,
methodologically speaking, from an integrated point of view. In other words, relating
the four skills to each other.

Bibliography.