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Unit 11 looks at teaching receptive skills, which look at reading and listening. Many people read or listen to audio for either the purpose or for the entertainment or both. We read or listen for a purpose when our main aim is to achieve some particular aim or goal, whereas when we read or listen for entertainment, it’s more for pleasurable or enjoyable in some way. We can both read or listen to achieve a particular goal or aim, while finding pleasure or enjoyment in what we read or listen, for example, reading a tour guide to a particular city, we wish to travel will help us to achieve our goal, while at the same time enjoyable. Reading and listening are not just about what we see or hear, but a matter of using our pre-existent knowledge to gain a true understanding of the context.
There are five special skills that are needed in reading and listening in order to get a better understanding of the context. We should be able to use our predictive skills to predict the content of an article or dialogue from the headline or introduction. We should be able to use specific information to scan what we hear or read. Another crucial skill in reading and listening is a general idea, where we read or listen for the gist of a text or dialogue. Detail information helps us to understand everything in detail. Finally on special skills, is the deduction from the context in which we read or listen to understand or deduce the meaning of individual words or phrases from the context in which we hear or read them.
In teaching and learning of receptive skills, there will be some potential problems, such as the connection of the language contained in the text, the topic and the tasks the students will perform. As we all know, reading will present the fewer problem for students as the text is captured on paper and students can read it countless times to get a better understanding of the context. Listening, on the other hand, can be a challenge for many students, as it does not capture and listeners have no time to, deduce the meaning and think about the language, as they hear it only once. It’s always great to teach students the difficult and unknown language and structures, prior to commencing a reading or listening activity. As a teacher, we should try to know our students well and choose topics that will engage students interest, such as, discussing the topic, showing pictures and also predicting what the text will be about to draw the interest of the students in the activate stage. Finally, we need to provide comprehension tasks that will promote understanding, as opposed to just checking understanding.