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This is how our TEFL graduates feel they have gained from their course, and how they plan to put into action what they learned:

L.C. - Philippines said:
Teaching Productive Skills
The key difference between receptive skills and productive skills is their desired learning outcomes. According to lecturer David Boesch from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, the learning outcome of the receptive skills, reading and listening, is understanding while the learning outcome of the productive skills, speaking and writing, is “to do something, such as talk about something or learn about others.” In other words, productive skills enable students to accomplish real world tasks. Part of being in the real world and accomplishing such tasks is the presence of authentic texts. Thus, for students to truly develop their productive skills for use in the “real world,” teachers should use authentic texts, such as poetry and Youtube, for teaching speaking and writing. Poetry is rich teaching material that nurtures both receptive and productive skills, allowing the teacher to integrate the teaching of all skills with the same text. Naturally, students would first need to read a poem and/or listen to it before they can move on to reciting it and writing their own. However, once a poem is read or listened to, speaking activities can immediately start by discussing the poem’s meaning and their personal response to the poem (British Council). From there, a teacher can coach the class in reciting and performing the poem by chanting together or breaking the poem into parts, divided among students to recite (British Council). This is just the tip of the iceberg in using poetry to teach productive skills. What sets poetry apart from other authentic texts as a prime teaching resource for speaking and writing are its literary elements. First, rhyme makes poetry more engaging and catchy as a spoken piece. Moreover, poems are loaded with emotion that can teach students how to pick up and express mood and tone. Just as these qualities make poetry a refreshing teaching tool for speaking, poetry can also be a challenging writing activity though it may not seem practical at the surface. Poetry can be a great way to unlock students’ creativity and love for language. First, they would be encouraged to express their true selves in a new way and pushed to find better words to do so. They would need to pay more attention to intonation and actually think about rhyme. Most of all, they would be writing for speaking—or writing a piece that is meant to be spoken; thus, hitting two productive skills with one stone. On the modern end of authentic texts, Youtube is a popular site for entertainment with educational content starting to jump on the bandwagon. The greatest advantage of Youtube content is that it is mostly relatable, updated, and packaged in short clips that are suitable for class (as opposed to feature films). But what makes video as a medium special is that it gives learners another model for speaking aside from the teacher. Videos also instantly set the mood and context for a conversation or creative writing piece. Deniz Atesok of Istanbul Bilgi University provides a plethora of tasks that can spring from a Youtube clip: Students can role-play a possible dialogue between the characters… Students can write a summary of the video… Learners can start a discussion or write a composition on the topic… Students can write questions to ask the speaker [or interviewee]… Students can make a poster for the movie trailer… Exposing students to a wide variety of genres through such a ubiquitous site will not only make them well-rounded and well-versed in a wider range of topics but also more confident when communicating in similar situations they see on Youtube. In conclusion, a healthy balance of age-old and modern forms of authentic text, such as poetry and Youtube videos, would produce varied, interesting, and effective lessons in productive skills. Still, they pose a common, daunting challenge for the teacher—selection. With so many poems and videos to choose from, a teacher could spend hours or even days searching for the right text. However, this massive menu of text choices means that there must be content for every level and probably even every topic imaginable. Considering their unique learning benefits in teaching speaking and writing, it seems well worth the effort for the students’ sake.

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