Listening & Reading as Passive/Receptive Skills in ESL
Reading & Listening are also known as passive skills.
In learning a new language, learners begin with receptive understanding of a new forms, then later move on to productive us.
Respective skill should naturally support productive skills.
When we say that we understand a piece of spoken language, we mean that we are recognizing the phonological and grammatical system of the language. We understand the meaning of the sentences as well as their significance in the spoken discourse or interaction.
Every word or sentence spoken has a communicative function to perform. Listening, therefore, is the receptive counterpart of speaking because it is the activity of recognizing signals conveyed through speaking.
Speaking is the ability to recognize sentences and their meaning. We can also say that it is an ability to recognize how these sentences function to form a coherent discourse. In reading, it is essential that a reader is quick enough to grasp the written message, in other words he should be a good decoder. Reading requires the mastery of the mechanics of reading.
These mechanics are:
1. Letter/Sound correspondence
2. Spelling/Sound correspondence
3. Spelling/Meaning correspondence
In this way reading is more of a receptive skill.
The most idealistic goal in learning a new language is acquiring an adequate proficiency.
The highest level of proficiency in the speaking skill is when one esquires a native speakers ability t process meaningful sounds.
The highest level of proficiency in the listening skill is the ability to understand the natural flow of native speech.
The highest level of proficiency in writing skill is the ability to express and communicate in the written form of the English language.
Realistically, for a English language learners it is a difficult task to achieve the native speakers proficiency in all these four skills.
As evidence, we have our own teaching system. Over emphasis on the learning and teaching of linguistic rules inhibit the development in linguistic skill ability.
The question, therefore, arise is:
1. How we should teach these skills?
2. How to help the learners to understand the usage as well as the use of the language?
Learning and teaching of English as second language is a tedious and difficult task.
Now the questions arise as to why it is so difficult to teach and to learn an English language?
One of the most frequent and general answer we hear is that a second language is always taught “in the classroom” whereas the best way learn a English language is ‘outside the classroom”
A learner has best opportunities, a variety of examples in the outside world, which will help him to learn a second language or as foreign language more rapidly than in the classroom.
A foreigner language learner will have observed people in action, actually using that language, whereas in the classroom situation, he will only be learning the explicit rules of a language.
We, however, can`t deny that all languages are learnt in the classroom and that it is the most convenient place for imparting information, and also, that it is impossible, to give a taste of outside world.
But as teachers, we can at least expose our students to the English way of life by giving them authentic examples in form of dialogues, which will familiarize our students with their accents and their way of speaking.