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9.1 The Four Essential Skills

durenmgmail-com November 9, 2021

To be a well-rounded communicator, one needs to be proficient in each of the four essential skills. These four skills consist of:

  1. Listening
  2. Speaking
  3. Reading
  4. Writing

People generally learn these four skills in the following order:

  1. Listening: When people are learning a new language, they first hear it spoken.
  2. Speaking: Eventually, they try to repeat what they hear.
  3. Reading: Later, they see the spoken language depicted symbolically in print.
  4. Writing: Finally, they reproduce these symbols on paper.

Receptive skills and Productive skills

Receptive skills – listening and reading,

  • Receptive skills (listening and reading) do not require producing material; they receive and understand it; they can sometimes be known as passive skills.

Productive skills – speaking and writing.

  • The productive skills (speaking and writing) require producing material for the language and are also known as active skills.

How to Integrate the four skills?

The four skills can be divided into listening and reading: Receptive Skills or speaking and writing, which are Productive Skills.

Teachers may work on a number of these skills within an individual lesson and apply an integrated approach to learning for students to become successful communicators.

What is the integrated approach to language learning?

When using this approach, we ask the students to use a mixture or even all four of these skills in their activities to create a much more comparable situation to one they could face in the real world.

For example, let us take a simple video call or telephone conversation. We will reply once we have listened to what the other person has said. We can also note something they have said, then make sure it makes sense before we explain it to another person.

Integrating skills can help students transfer skills, e.g., if students have to read a magazine or website blog post before writing, they will become familiar with the structure and content, which will help them write it.

It also allows teachers to vary classroom activities, creating a more alluring and motivating experience for the learners.

In the following units, we will work with integrating language learning and practicing receptive and productive skills.