Autor: prof. Burtea Lavinia-Daniela
Liceul “Charles Laugier” Craiova, Județul Dolj
Teaching English requires special attention and an endless work from the teacher in order to make his classes interesting and get his students’ attention and motivation and make them acquire and learn English.
Teachers of English as a foreign language have to develop the students’ abilities in the language. It is the application of an integrating approach for the development of communicative skills in the classroom, in which the four skills in the acquisition of knowledge of a foreign language can be taught in a coherent way, and practiced together, with a distinction of the importance of one upon the other.
It makes little sense to talk about skills in isolation since, as Eli Hinkel points out, “in meaningful communication, people employ incremental language skills not in isolation, but in tandem” (Hinkel 2006:113).
The four language skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing) cannot be taught in isolation but together. We cannot access meaning unless our brains are fully engaged with the text they are interacting with. In other words, we have to think to understand, using any of our language knowledge to get meaning from what we are seeing or hearing. Therefore, whether we are reading or speaking, we often mix what we are doing with other skills. In order to provide maximum skills opportunities for different students in various classes we have to integrate skills.
“The integrated-skill approach exposes English language learners to authentic language and challenges them to interact naturally in the language. Learners rapidly gain a true picture of the richness and complexity of the English language as employed for communication” (Harmer 2007:265). This approach stresses that English is not just an object of academic interest nor merely a key to passing an examination; instead, English becomes a real means of interaction and sharing among people. This approach allows teachers to track students’ progress in multiple skills at the same time. Integrating the language skills also promotes the learning of real content, not just the dissection of language forms.
Finally, the integrated-skill approach, whether found in content-based or task-based language instruction or some hybrid form, can be highly motivating to students of all ages and backgrounds.
Using integrative approach can help a teacher create a relaxed atmosphere in his or her class that students’ all-round abilities are well improved. A combination of activities involving different skills enhances the focus on realistic communication, which makes the students be more motivated and more involved and engaged enthusiastically in classroom activities. Integration of the skills accustoms the learners to combining listening and speaking in real time, in natural interaction. Students are given opportunities to do as many speaking activities as possible in pairs and groups, so they may be less frightened of speaking in front of the rest of the class. And students give better performance in writing after doing sufficient related activities. However, what is worth of noting is that integration is also demanding of teachers. It may take teachers more time to find or design suitable materials. (fragment)