Teach English in Yuanyichang - Zhangye Shi

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This unit was about receptive skills. Reading and listening are receptive skills. They are just as important as production skills: speaking and writing. There are reasons why people read and or listen to information. One is for a purpose. There is a goal to be achieved. For example, if a person wants to bake a cake they need to read the recipe and the directions for making it. We also read for entertaining like reading a book for pleasure or listening to something funny. We often use our previous knowledge to help us understand what we have read and listened to. There are various skills we use to help us understand. Predictive skills help us think about what we are going to read before we read it. We make predictions as we read the title or a headline. We may read for information. We might need specific information so we would use scanning to find out exactly what we need : like the weather for the day in the newspaper. If we need a general idea about something we may skim the entire article to get important facts about something. (for example: like a story on the front page of the newspaper) We read to get detailed information when we require concentration. Similar to what I did while reading this unit. We may often use deduction to understand and go beyond the literal meaning of a text. If you see a sign or a poster that tells you not to do something. It may give you information as well as tell you not to do that. Problems with listening and reading may result due to the language used in the text, the topic (is it interesting?) and the tasks that students must do to practice the skills. The language is important and shouldn't overwhelm students. A teacher should only preteach words that are needed to understand the text. Other vocabulary words can be covered later. A teacher should choose their texts carefully. Authentic texts are not necessarily meant for language learners but may be used parallel to non authentic texts that are geared toward language learners. There should be a good balance of these two to make learning fun and interesting. When it comes to language it works best to focus on what students know and not on what they don't. The topic is essential as a good topic motivates and keeps students engaged. It helps to be familiar with your students and use a good variety of topics that all students may enjoy. It will make it easier for teachers to create interest and enthusiasm for the topic. Other ways a teacher can create interest is to : talk about the topic, use pictures, predict what they will read about by talking about the title, and various other engage activities /discussion. Comprehension tasks help to check understanding. The task should be suitable to the students ability and the topic/language use too. Some tasks that work well are jigsaw reading and jumbled texts that students can put together to convey meaning. Essential if a teacher is able to vary tasks, think about the students abilities, build interest prior to reading, preteach the vocab so it is familiar and select tasks that are relevant and connect to the material then the teacher is on their way towards effectively providing receptive skills lessons.