There are a number of skills that are developed in a young learner class. The main 4 are: reading, writing, speaking and listening. However, other skills include: Motor skills (from holding crayons (fine motor skills) to more complex craft and physical activities (gross motor skills)); Cognitive skills (solving problems, answering questions, applying learning to tasks & bookwork); interactive & social skills (sharing, working in teams, working with a partner or the teacher); discipline / classroom protocol – responding to teachers commands, incidental language
Of the 4 main skill areas these can be broken down into 2 main areas: Receptive Skills (reading and listening) and Productive Skills (writing and speaking).
Developing Receptive Skills
There a number of reasons to develop receptive skills these include:
Receptive skills integrate with productive skills e.g. listening and reading the correct form help in memorization, listening helps with pronunciation etc.
The following activities (all found in young learner classes)apply to both reading and listening (receptive skills):
These can all be practiced in a variety of ways including:
Setting up Activities
Even when listening in your native language we do not take in or remember everything that we have heard unless specifically asked to. When setting up a listening task in a young learner class (as with any class) it is important to:
Being able to complete the task correctly does not necessarily mean learners have understood the language.
To show understanding learners should:
Below are some examples of effective activities and ways to adapt exercises in the standard texts:
* Listening – predicting / guessing on answers before listening, stop / starting / reducing volume during dialogues to allow learners to fill in the gaps either from memory, by reading or using their knowledge of the language.
* Reading – initial letter stations, find the word on the page, counting words / letters e.g. “How many ‘the’ on page **?” missing letters or vowels / missing words, building up words one letter at a time in random order.
Receptive skills need to be built up over the duration of a course. It is important they are done a little and often, reviewing and building the complexity gradually week by week.
In order to help learners and encourage learner autonomy, away from class they can:
How do you develop these skills in your classes?
Sophia McMillan Feb 2019