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Balancing Four Skills Through Linked Skills Activities

Balancing Four Skills Through Linked Skills Activities
Chang, Hyunyoung
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외국어교육특수대학원 TESOL학과
이화여자대학교 외국어교육특수대학원
Laura Eunae Park
The purpose of this textbook is to help young learners develop all four language skills through a balanced language program. In the EFL context, there are limited opportunities to use English in authentic contexts. Although EFL learners are often exposed to English through various sources of literature and the media available today, learners need to have a systematic knowledge of English in order to process such input. This also means that learners should have strong receptive and productive skills in order to participate in meaningful communication. Young learners whose frequent exposure to English listening from their parents’ oral reading of children’s literature are relatively good at listening and eventually become familiar with the spoken form of English. These children, however, may have difficulty reading English texts on their own if they have had limited exposure to written texts; the gap between reading and listening may not only become unbalanced but broadened unless the learners are explicitly guided to improve their reading skills. Likewise, the same problem may arise for a learner who has had an opportunity to develop strong receptive skills but limited chances to develop his/her productive skills. For example, it is common to find Korean middle and high school students who have developed strong receptive skills but find difficulty in producing English (both orally as well as in writing). Through a needs-analysis conducted by interviewing twenty first graders and their parents, it was found that students who have either lived in English speaking countries for a few years or have had continuous exposure to English language learning by attending English kindergartens or private tutoring have a better and relatively balanced proficiency in using all four skills. On the other hand, children whose learning have been limited to their parents’ informal teaching have unbalanced levels of competence in the four skills and show more confidence in using the skill(s) that they have been most frequently exposed to when learning English. To meet these learning needs, this textbook is designed for first graders at an elementary school in Korea (both male and female, 8 years old) whose English proficiency is between the ‘Entering stage’ (Level 1) and the ‘Emerging stage’ (Level 2) based on WIDA (Grades 1, 2012) . The textbook aims to help the target students bridge the gap in balancing the four skills by maximizing linked skills activities (Nation, 2008, p. 35) . Since the textbook provides a variety of topics, learners are also expected to improve their vocabulary, which may ultimately help them to obtain academic success in the future. Since the target students have never received any formal English instructions before, it is desirable to provide a well-balanced language program focusing on all four skills. Furthermore, they will also begin their formal English education when they enter the third grade in school, thus having an opportunity to start a well-balanced English education with this textbook will help them to build sufficient knowledge and confidence in advance.
☞ 이 논문은 저자가 원문공개에 동의하지 않은 논문으로, 도서관 내에서만 열람이 가능하며, 인쇄 및 저장은 불가합니다.
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