Productive and Receptive Skills in the ESL Classroom - Receptive Skills - Potential Problems
Before we go into looking at the actual receptive skills lesson, if we were thinking about what potential problems there could be in these lessons. So, what things could go wrong in a reading lesson? Well, firstly the students when they are reading in a language that is not their native language, they tend to read every word as a separate piece and by reading word to word it?s very difficult to get an overall impression of what that particular text is saying. Secondly, the sentence length in a lot of articles that we will get will be very long and many of our students will not be used to that structure of language. So, here it's important to have a think about the way in which the text has actually been written and will it be fairly easy to read. The final thing is the actual structure of the article itself. So, how is it written? Is it very formal? Is it in the form of a postcard or an email and are the students familiar with that type of writing? Some of the problems that occur with listening or perhaps the most difficult thing is the fact that in a listening lesson the information is in the form of a continuous stream. This means that a certain word will enter into ear, pass through our brain and then that word is then gone. So, unlike reading where if we're scanning through and we're not sure what that word means we can go back. In a listening lesson, once something has been said it's gone. So it's very difficult to get that information back. The second problem that can occur in a listening lesson is when the information is presented too quickly. So, for many students, the actual speed of speech can be a problem. One final potential problem that could occur could be that due to the teacher?s accent. Very often our students are used to us as that their teacher. We're speaking to them every day but if we play some information from a CD or a tape recording of a different situation with different people, then they may not be used to those particular accents. However, when we consider that there are these potential problems, one thing we can do is to think about ways in which to avoid them.
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