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In this unit, we focus on the receptive skills which are divided to reading and listening whilst productive skills are divided to speaking and writing. These are all equally important and wherever possible the teacher should incorporate all of them into their lessons is they want a balanced approach.
Reading and listening may be divided to two categories which are purpose and entertainment. Under purpose, this type of reading and listening takes place because it will be helped to achieve some particular aim or goal. Under entertainment, very often we listen or read information because we find it pleasurable or enjoyable in some way. Quite often our reading and listening may be a mix of the above two motives which are pleasure and entertainment. So there will be times when our reasons for listening and reading will include both motives.
Most people would say that we real and listen with our eyes and our ear. However, there is more to that as our minds must not only be able to recognize and understand the words but also be able to grasp their overall meaning from a pre-existing knowledge of the world. Reading and listening are not simple just for the eyes and ears but also to understand the words and to be able to process them as to gain a better understanding.
Sentence length, word length and a number of unfamiliar words can also present problems to learners of English. Reading gives them the opportunity to think about the text that has been captured and they would be able to deduce the difficulty of the language from the context. However, listening to a language may not allow the students to deduce the meaning and think about the language, as they would be hearing it only once. There are many ways of approaching language difficulty, such as pre-teaching vocabulary and careful selection of texts.
The topic of the text or dialogue can also help to motivate the students. If the topic is dull, then the likelihood of the students engaging is less. It is therefore vital to know what interests out students. However, there will be cases where some students would have individual interests. It would really help to know the students and to learn of their interests.
If the teacher can get the students motivated and engaged in the tasks, there is a much greater possibility that they will read and listen with real enthusiasm, whether or not they were originally interested in the topic.