The four language skills and their involment in learning English

The language is the means of thoughts and learning. Thanks to the language skills we receive pieces of information, we provide them and construct our own reality.

Which are the four basic language skills and what do they consist of?

  • Listening. There’s a big difference between hearing and listening: hearing means to percibe sounds vibrations; listening involves understanding and giving meaning to what you hear.
  • Speaking. Children develop this language skill by listening to their relatives. They start relating specific sounds with a concrete meaning in a natural way. A good start for the academic success is a big contact with the language: the more parents speak to their children the better they get prepared to assimilate knowledge in the school.
  • Reading. The development of reading is the key for a good learning; it’s absolutely necessary to understand what you read in order to assimilate the contents.
  • Writing. It’s the way to put on a paper the words you say. For a child it’s the longest process.

By growing, we start losing our capability to absorb languages and we focus on the codes of our mother tongue. We learn our mother tongue by listening, speaking and later by reading and writing. Nevertheless,  when learning English or another language, we have to develop the four skills in the same time. The language Laboratory provides tools for the teacher to permit students to develop these capabilities.

Learning languages developing the four skills

  • The listening comprehension is the key and can be considered the basis of the other skills. The better the listening comprehension of a student is, the better would be his capability to develop other skills. In the language laboratory the teacher can transmit audio and video in real time to the students and create various working groups to do highly motivating activities.
  • On the other hand, reading will provide a “mental structure” and will enhance the vocabulary, which will be useful for speaking. In the language laboratory the teacher has the possibility to transmit a document to all the students for a determinate period of time, so that students can improve their agility and reading comprehension.
  • Writing will give importance to the message and its presentation. It requires a more elaborated communication, so that student has time to work out the message. The teacher can activate various functions such as the group chat, where any students group can share ideas and realize activities on the same task.
  • Finally, speaking is the main purpose of the student.  Speaking will get benefits from all the resources we could provide to students: the more they will read and listen, the more will be their progresses. We can say that speaking is the result of the sum of all the materials and resources involved. Sometimes in a conventional classroom it’s complicated to permit students to have fluent and motivating conversations. A language laboratory permits teacher to create conversational groups or pairs and to record simultaneously all these activities to be listened and evaluated by students.  

In Bilingüismo y Tecnología we give importance to the four skills to learn languages, and at this purpose we offer the use of all the resources and technological novelties available in a language laboratory.

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Learning English through music (1st part, Introduction)

English can be entertaining through the usage of various media, such as music. Thanks to the music, acquiring a new language becomes more pleasant and furthermore it acts as a learning method during English lessons: scientific researches have demonstrated that music helps students to learn vocabulary and grammar. Moreover it plays an important role when memorizing the new language, during its learning process and so it’s useful to reach bilingualism.

Reasons to include music in a language laboratory

Songs contain a lot of expressions and many vocabularies aimed at native speakers’ audience, so what we listen is authentic, it is to say not written for students. This can be very helpful in order to get a quick adaptation to English in everyday life.

Furthermore thanks to music we develop the listening comprehension: we get used to pronunciation, so we can improve ours. And mysteriously, music has the virtue to get impressed in our memory: melodies and lyrics are difficult to forget.

How to prepare activities with songs to motivate your students

  • Find them in websites like YouTube or Vimeo, you can choose among many videos, lots of them also with subtitles
  • It’s important to select songs adequately: they should have a language of general use, not too difficult and neither being sung too quickly. Moreover, it’s even better if students like that music. In this way they will take full advantage of learning.
  • Use the songs lyrics in order to give them a “physical” support to understand them better. In this way they can read, understand and search the meaning of those words they don’t know. This will help them to improve their comprehension.
  • Do not rely completely on the lyrics transcription, as not all the websites are correct. It would be useful to make comparisons among various of them and in case the lyrics coincide, the level of correction is higher.
  • They have to repeat songs, the goal is to enjoy, but also to learn. Thanks to the repetition they will improve the learning process.
  • Singing songs will permit them to practice the pronunciation. Without fear!
  • Your students should include this activity in their daily life, every day, you’ll notice their progresses.

In Bilingüismo y Tecnología we propose music as a powerful tool to learn languages. It has always to be included among the resources of a language laboratory.

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The language laboratory as enhance for linguistic immersion

The commitment to advance in learning English has been acquired, but it requires work and perseverance. This is the just beginning.

You know that the best way to learn a language is the linguistic immersion, it is to say to get immersed and involved in the language. Results are improved if this immersion is reinforced with the presence of a language laboratory. In “Bilingüismo y Tecnología”, we explain in detail this synergy.

What a language laboratory offers

In order to speak English in a very good way you have to study it intensely and with perseverance. This task is not easy, therefore motivation is really important. A language laboratory grants more efficiency than the traditional way of teaching, so it grants more results and more motivation for the students. Group oral activities combined with multimedia resources increases the participation of students and reinforces the practical part, as fundamental pillar. The theory is important, but practice permits to increase the knowledge.

A language laboratory integrates a lot of different activities through the transmission of multimedia material and any software to learn English. It means that the learning process can be carried out thanks to uncountable types of didactic material, those supported by the technologyand keeping their high quality.

How can you permit students to be immersed, involved and to enter into the “English bubble”? These could be some of the keys:

  • Try to let them think in another language, ask them to practise writing an e-mail, listening to the music or to the radio.
  • Having motivated classmates is also an important element, having someone who to speak to, permits them to check their progresses. As soon as they will be able to have a short conversation with someone else they will be even more motivated.
  • Motivate them to use the new language, English, in a creative way: learning by having fun is a very good idea. Compose a song, write a story…
  • Convince them not to feel embarrassed. They have to risk and not to be afraid to do mistakes. They won’t speak English without facing awkward situations: they don’t have to hesitate to speak with a native speaker, to order food, or to make jokes…

Linguistic immersion facilitates the bilingualism

The purpose is to develop the 4 basic communication skills in the most natural way: the oral comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. In Bilingüismo y Tecnología”, we propose the language laboratory as enhance for linguistic immersion, in order to take full advantage of our capabilities and to achieve the bilingualism.

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