What are the 4 main English language skills and the best methods to improve them?

English language skills

Abstract

Language is a system that allows us to communicate with other people. The most used language these days, all around the world, is English. English is spoken in daily conversations, social media and different forms of daily medias.

In order to be a part of the society, people now try to learn English to precede their daily tasks. English language is united by four major English language skills that any learner must acquire these English language skills completely.

The main English language skills

There are four basic English language skills which are: listening, speaking, reading and writing. If the English language students desire to master this language and become proficient in using it, they have to master all the English language skills, mentioned above.

It is important that the learners learn and improve these English language skills at the same time. That is because each of these English language skills learning process relays on the other. In result, the learners can and essentially must improve all the English Language skills together and at once.

People use the mentioned English language skills differently. For example, one may be using listening more while some may speak in English more often. It really doesn’t matter which of the English language skills is more in use.

What matters is the fact that people who desire to speak English, must develop all the English language skills equally. Then after achieving an advanced level in all the English language skills the learners can focus on some English language skills more than others.

English language skills

Listening:

One of the most important English language skills to learn and develop is listening.

Listening is considered as the base of the English language skills. That is because our first impression of a language is formed by listening to it.

Even though a learner may not be able to write or speak in the target language, they can listen to it. Listening is the first skill among the English language skills the learners learn, similarly to how they learned they mother tongue in the first place. The learners can easily improve their language knowledge by listening. They can repeat the words they hear and then later search for the words meanings and therefore develop their language knowledge.

The are many ways that the learners can improve their listening English language skills by, but the most effective method is active listening.

Active listening means that the learners listen to the words and dialogues that are said and how they are said. The learners need to sharpen their ears and pay a great deal of attention when they are listening.

In order to improve the active listening, there are three sources that you can listen to. The three sources are mentioned below:

1) Music: The learners can enhance their listening skill by listening to their favorite music. It may be difficult to understand the lyrics at first; therefore, it is suggested that the learners read the lyrics online while the music is being played.

2) Movies, TV shows, radio, podcasts: First of all, the learners must start listening to basic leveled programs. For example, cartoons or sitcoms that include basic words and conversations. As the time passes, they can start watching and listening to more complicated shows.

As listening to music, listening to movies or other shows may also be hard to keep up with. Therefore, it is suggested to use English subtitles while watching the show. The learners can later on understand and listen to different movies and shows without the subtitles.

3) Attending listening courses:  A learner may be unable to self-study through the sources mentioned above, that is why there are special courses available for these students.

Special listening courses improve the listening English language skills in the best way possible, since different effective methods are used in these classes. In addition, the students can benefit the presence of professional teachers guiding them.

Speaking:

This skill is referred to be one of the challenging skills among the English language skills. Most students find it hard to develop this skill. It is significant to mention that a student who is an active listener, finds it easier to speak fluently.

Here are some tips for improving speaking English language skills:

1) Talking with a classmate or a friend:  The more one does something the better they will become at it. Therefore, it’s important to speak in English as much as possible continuously. 

Even if there is no one available to speak English with, there are applications like “hello talk “or “tandem” that anyone can join and practice English speaking.

2) Recording: Learners can improve their speaking English language skills by recording themselves while speaking and then listening to it. This way they will be able to find their errors and mistakes in their speaking, and then they will remember to avoid making the same mistakes.

3)Have discussions with yourself: Most people talk with themselves during the day. It may include things they have to remember or talking about matters that are in their mind.

The English learners can create discussions with themselves in English. They can review their daily tasks in English. If they are upset or worried about something they can think and talk in English with themselves. No one else is needed!

Reading:

Reading is one of the English language skills. Reading a process that is directly related to the mind, therefore there is no wonder why it takes time to develop. It is essential to practice reading daily in order to acquire it completely.

Reading requires understanding English grammar and the structure of the language that is used in the passage. As a result, the learners improve English grammar, English language structures and rules and also English vocabulary.

The first attempts might be difficult and disappointing, but it is completely normal to feel like that. By practicing reading these feelings will be replaced with joy.

Following items will help the students to develop their reading skills:

1) Start reading: No matter the English knowledge level, start reading!Learners can start by reading the simplest passages, even children’s book. Then they can move on reading more complicated texts and books.

2)Have a dictionary: When reading, it is possible to encounter words that are unfamiliar. Remember to have a good dictionary by your side to look up the meaning of different words.

3)Interesting topics: It is important to choose passages and books that are interesting. There are tons of different genres to choose by. When a subject is interesting, the learners will become more intrigued to read.

Writing:

The last skill of the English language skills is writing. The learners can easily develop their writing English language skills by reading. The more they read, they will become familiar with text structures and layouts. Also, practicing writing itself is clearly a beneficial way to develop the writing English language skills.

Writing may be considered difficult or uninteresting for some of the students. Below we mention ways that can make writing a fun activity:

1) Writing a dairy: The learners can write about themselves daily. They can write their daily activities and feelings in a journal. By practicing writing every day, the learners improve their writing English language skills in no time.

2) Write a story: The students can try writing a short story or text using their imagination. This way not only will their writing skills develop but they will also expand their imagination.

3) Ignore the grammatical mistakes: The students may make some grammatical mistakes when writing. It’s recommended that they don’t pay attention to the fact that no one else is going to read their written piece.

It is even beneficial to make mistakes, because the students can go over their written piece later on and correct their mistakes.

All of the English language skills were mentioned above. But not to leave out, it’s also really important to extend one’s vocabulary knowledge. The learners should focus on extending their vocabulary when developing their English language skills.

Knowing a lot of vocabulary helps the learners to speak with confidence with other people and it will also allow them to enhance their English language skills.

In addition, it’s important to check the progress of the learning process. It will provide hope that leads to continuous practice which develops the English language skills. They can test their English language skills by doing an online test.

Conclusion

In brief, stepping into the path of learning a new language is not always easy. It can be considered easier by developing the English language skills mentioned. The learners can try the suggested methods in order to develop their English language skills.

Each of the English language skills are important and should be equally focused on. Even if some of them, as speaking, may be harder to acquire it’s important not to give on and keep on practicing. There is no other sufficient method than practicing.

The English language skills depend on each other. This means, by developing one of the English language skills as for example the reading skills, the speaking and the writing also develops.

people also ask:

How to assess English language skills?

The learner’s English language skills must be evaluated in order to recognize and measure the learner development at single or multiple English language skills.

Different assessments are required in the learning process. The learners can measure their learning process and comprehend their developments in the English language skills.

There are many ways of assessing the learners’ English language skills. The most classic and traditional way of student evaluation is written exams. However, the accuracy of such assessments is invalid.

In written forms of assessments, such as exams and tests, only the learner’s ability to remember is measured. The students study to remember points needed for the exam since they want to avoid failing and therefore, they forget to actually study.

New methods of assessments provide situations that test the learner’s abilities in solving problems by being creative. They examine what the learners have learned by allowing them to use their knowledge to answer questions or solve problems.

Moreover, with the expansion of technology, English teachers have come up with efficient and interesting new customs to assess the student’s English language skills.

Below are some of the new methods that evaluates the student’s English language skills:

1) Listening workshops:

Instead of listening to prerecorded conversations, and answering questions related to the conversation on written sheets, students can listen to podcasts or watch a movie. After that, they can each talk about what they understood.

The learners can also exchange their opinions and form a conversation by agreeing or arguing about the related subject. This way, the teacher or even the learners themselves can assess the level of their listening and speaking English language skills at the same time.

2) Assignments:

Furthermore, the teacher can assign the learners a book to read. The book can either be chosen by the teacher or the students can choose their own favorite book to read.

After reading the book, they should write a summary about the story of the book and explain its main points and mention things they have learned from it. By this method, the learners assess both their reading and writing skill at the same time.

3)Roleplay:

This assessment can be done both at home and in the English class. First, the teacher or the parents divide the kids into separate groups. Then they give each group a script, which is a conversation, to read and practice.

The students memorize the conversation and then roleplay it together. By this assessment, the learners measure their speaking and reading English language skills at the same time.

4) Worldwide valid tests:

At last, there are tests that are accepted all around the world, if a student desires to measure their English language skills professionally. These tests measure all the four English language skills in the best way. They provide a record of the student’s level of English language skills knowledge.

The most famous assessments tests are “TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)” and “IELTS (International English Language Testing System)”. These tests are available in the most countries around the world.

Why improve English language skills?

There is no doubt that English is the most common language all around the world. About 1.7 billion people speak English, which is around 20 % of the world.

There are several interesting reasons which motivates people to start learning English and improving their English language skills.

Here we mention 6 reasons why it’s important to improve English language skills:

1)  English is a common language:

Being capable of speaking English, leads to being able to communicate with people around the world. Many social medias, companies and worldwide shops use English as their main language.

Therefore, it is important to learn and develop English language skills if people desire to communicate and grow in the modern world.

2) Opportunities for scholarship:

Some students seek to study abroad and attend foreign English-speaking universities or schools. It is required that these students develop all of the English language skills.

Acquiring the English language skills, will give these students definite advantage to achieve their goals, because receiving an abroad scholarship requires English proficiency.

3) Traveling easier:

One of the major problems for travelers is the language barrier. Not being able to communicate in a foreign city, may cause several problems for the travelers.

English is an international language, and there are always some people that can speak it in different countries. That is why developing English language skills can be really beneficial for people who desire to travel abroad.

4)Watching English movies:

English language skills

Moreover, many of the top-rated movies are in English. Watching the movies without subtitles is really different. It is easier to catch up with the scenes when there are no subtitles. Also, some idioms or phrases may seem uncomprehensive when translated.

5) Learning English increases intelligence:

One of the most amazing things about learning a new language is that it increases the brain’s capability of memorization. It increases the minds intelligence at any age. Also, when elder people start learning a new language, they prevent diseases such as “Alzheimer”.

Learning English increases the brain’s activity, and as a result the intelligence of the English learners will increase day by day. It has been proven that bilingual people have a better memory and more creativity than the monolinguals.

In addition, other researches show that bilinguals are mentally healthier than monolinguals. In other words, those who learn a second language, such as English, are mentally healthier those who only speak their mother tongue.

6) More job opportunities:

Many companies declare English as their main communication language. In order to work in established and famous companies, one must have a minimum knowledge of the English language skills.

If one is capable of different English skills, they must include it in their resume, since it can be considered as a positive point.

In today’s technological world, almost everything is presented in English. For example, since the 20th century, science and technology, medicine and engineering have been in English.

Conclusion

The items that were mentioned are just a few reasons why we should develop our English Language skills. If one’s dreams includes worldwide communication, exploring the world or becoming a scientist, the first step would be learning English

Learning a new language is not always easy but it is important not to give up and continue practicing and learning more and more each day. English language skills are easily to develop if the learners keep themselves motivated.

As mentioned, English assessments also improves the learner’s English language skills since the learners can analyze their process and evaluate their skills. This way they can pay more attention to the English language skills in which they may be weaker and need more practice.

The learner’s English language skills must be evaluated in order to recognize and measure the learner development at single or multiple English language skills.
Different assessments are required in the learning process. The learners can measure their learning process and comprehend their developments in the English language skills.

How to assess English language skills?

1. Listening workshops
2. Assignments
3. Roleplay
4. Worldwide valid tests

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