Teaching Skills to Create The Best Classroom Atmosphere
Teaching skills in the classroom can be a very challenging experience, but it is essential (at least for any English teacher) to learn how to do it properly and effectively.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Lucas B. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
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As it was shown in the Units 7 and 8 of this ‘60-hour’ ITTT course, there are 4 (four) basic skills in the English language (and in any other language as well), and these skills are divided into two groups: Receptive skills, which include reading and listening. And productive skills, which include speaking and writing.
Both groups (and all of the skills) are very important and should be taught equally in the classroom, in the most balanced manner as possible.
In Unit 7 – ‘Teaching receptive skills’ I could see many important topics about teaching and exercising both 'reading' and 'listening' skills. Over there I learned that readers and listeners employ some specialist skills and their understanding of the context will depend on their expertise in these areas, such as ‘Predictive Skills’, ‘Specific information’ (also called ‘scanning’), ‘General idea’ (also called ‘skimming’), ‘Detailed information’ and ‘Deduction from context’.
Also Read: 7 Fun Activities for Teaching Vocabulary in the ESL Classroom
Another very important part of Unit 7 was about the choice of a topic in a lesson which the focus will be the receptive skills. Choosing the topic that will be discussed in the classroom is very important because it can help to motivate the students. If the topic is not interesting, likely, the students will not engage well and satisfactorily in the activity. So choosing a good and interesting topic is very important and advisable.Relationships With Students
It is also important to have in mind that the teacher can generate interest knowing better the students and what interests them. A very nice suggestion given in the Unit 7 that I frequently use in my classrooms is: “a variety of topics, over a period of time, is needed to ensure that all of the students are equally catered for in the end, as a single topic may interest some of the class but not others.”
And there are also other effective ways to get students engaged, such as by discussing the topic, showing pictures, predicting what the text will be about and other ‘engage’ phase activities.
Also Read: The Truth About TEFL For Non-Native English Speaking Teachers
I also learned that a good task of receptive skills shouldn’t be too easy or too difficult; it has to be realistically achievable challenge. And, as shown in unit 7, the basic keys to successful receptive skills lessons are: - Choose material that interests/motivate students.- Build interest before reading/listening.- Pre-teach complex vocabulary or structures if necessary.- Vary the type of material.- Incorporate activate phases that naturally lead on from the text.
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In Unit 8 – ‘Teaching productive skills’ I could see many important topics about teaching and exercising both speaking and writing skills. Over there I learned the difference between accuracy and fluency activities. While accuracy activities (usually part of the study phase) are concentrated on producing correct language and are usually controlled to ensure accurate reproduction of language, fluency activities (usually part of the activate phase) are concentrated on allowing the students to experiment and be creative with language. When we are doing fluency activities we are less concerned about with accuracy and more concerned about the effectiveness and flow of communication.
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