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Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

Listening and Speaking are more useful than Reading and Writing.

Lynda Giulliana LondoĂąo Rincon

University of QuindĂ­o School of Education Modern Languages Program Armenia, 2011.

2011


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

The purpose of this writing is to show some advantages that the listening and speaking skills have over other such as reading and writing in the field of education in relation to the process of learning a second language. It is investigated the history and current context of the processes and methods used in order to look for the best way of teaching and learning different languages. Thus, it is found that by giving importance to the audio-lingual field of communication, learners obtain advantages like easy socialization in the proper context of the language so as to share ideas and get a place in the modern societies through modern languages.

Keywords: language, skills, learning, advantages, listening, speaking, reading, writing, methods, interaction, socialization.


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

Listening and Speaking is more Useful than Reading and Writing.

Since ages ago humans have developed the necessity to explore new cultures and learn their languages. It is common that foreigners call the attention because of the way of talking generating curiosity and interest for the unknown. In fact, when people decided to learn a second language, they are motivated because of the desire of learning how to talk and listen it perfectly. Moreover, when this process stars, people realize that the most important skills to develop that part are the ones related to the audio-oral field. Language is the characteristic that defines a culture and nowadays modern cultures requires the learning of their languages to get involve on their societies, but the problem is how to learn applying the indicated ways. Today this kind of learning is not only seen as a future requirement, but also it has become mandatory in developed societies. Although learning a second language requires skills such as reading, writing, grammar, listening and speaking, the last two are the ones in which teachers should be focused because they bring more advantages in learning with the proper methods, they can be more useful over the other skills and they have a great connection with the ability to socialize.

Through time, the process of learning languages has left a mark on the way people conceive the world after reaching that process. There has been many changes in deciding which the universal languages was, Kelly (1969) in his book


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

“History of 2500 years of language teaching” argues that “500 years ago it was Latin not only used in fields such as education but also commerce and religion”(p: 245). As a matter of fact, the importance of a language in a culture is vital; it could be like having a king without tongue, the society does not function without the presence of the word. For that reason, we as humans need global ways of communication and since the sixteen century French, Italian and English became world languages. In this way, Richard & Rodgers (2001) point “from a historical perspective, bilingualism or multilingualism is the norm rather than the exception” (p: 3). It has become a necessity to learn a second language in order to have a place on the society and the audio-oral part is going to be always the principal motivation of any speaker.

Unfortunately, listening and speaking were not a priority at that time and the best method of teaching was based on rhetorical aspects. Kelly (1969) explains that learners were introduced to a rigorous learning of grammar and everything was taught with the objective of producing writing translation, sometimes with the use of dialogues. Everything has been changing step by step and the way teaching methods have been adapted to the modern necessities is a big reach. Furthermore foreign language students are having into account they can recognize the vocabulary and try to write a different language, but if they cannot listen and speak it well. It seems as if they do not know it.

On the other hand, as modern languages began to play a role in new curriculums, the rhetorical method of memorizing and writing short sentences started to disappear. Kelly (1969) maintains that “language consist a little more than


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

memorizing rules and facts in order to understand the morphology of the same” (p:53). It was discovered that those skills were important on the process of learning but as Rodgers (1988) in his journal of language teaching explains “ changes in language teaching throughout history have reflected recognition of changes in the kind of proficiency learners need, such as move toward oral proficiency rather than reading comprehension as the goal of language study” (p:42). Thus, people have to accept that as learners is mandatory to develop the ability to talk fluently because at the moment of visiting a new culture, people do not need a paper to establish a conversation, instead of that, they need the tongue and the abilities to socialize.

In the web page of the institution TJ Taylor, a school of modern languages in Italy, teachers explain that today many curriculums of universities and institutions use the callan method proposed by Callan (1989) which is based on vocabulary taught in context, grammatical explanations reduced to a minimum, audio visual aids are used and there is attention on intonation and pronunciation. People can see that today everything is in the path of audio-oral communication and there is a significant parallel between the past and the present in this moment, because as one premise of this writing maintains “to be bilingual is a necessity more than a luxury” and nowadays people have the great advantage of using methods that work and which they are going to be always benefited.

On the field of education, there are important aspects such as the teaching methods which bring important advantages at the moment of learning a second language. Some of them are focused on grammar, other on intensive writing and a


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

few of them are focused on listening and speaking. To illustrate one of the most famous teaching methods is The Grammar Translation methods suggested by Johann Seidenstuker and Karl Plotz, which was characterized by memorizing vocabulary, learning rules and translating sentences. This way of teaching is not successful because as Howatt (1984) critics “it is to know everything about something rather than the thing itself” (p: 233). The necessity of people is to produce the language by learning the audio-oral skills which are the most important. There is another method called the Direct method which benefits the spoken communication by producing oral interaction, no translation and a little analysis of grammar rules and syntax, as Berlitz (1986) points “The Direct method requires small classes and high students´ motivation” if this conditions do not take place, this method do not work.

Finally, the Audio Lingual and Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) methods are the ones used today so as to improve the learning of a language by developing interaction and conversation. The first one is promoted by Bloomfiled (1954) and of his colleges at the university of Yale, explained that “With this method, students and teachers were able to take part in guided conversation and they gradually learned how to speak the language, as wells as understand it” (p: 66). This is the objective of learning a second language “to become bilingual” in order to produce orally a language without being pushed by the obligation to memorize. Thus, the second teaching method is much related to the previous one. The CLT is promoted by Widdwson (1998) who through linguistics views explain on his book “Teaching language as communication” that there is a relationship between


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

linguistics systems and communicative aspects on the discussions, he said that language was learned with different purposes and the objective of every learner is to produce it not perfectly but having understood what was said”. This method is based on interaction by understanding the social context in which the communication takes place. Howatt (1984) maintains that it has been estimated that some 60 percent of today’s world population is multilingual. Is not that a good sign that people are interested in learning how to speak different languages?

Based on another aspect, the oral approach or situational language is the methods which can prove that the listening and speaking skills are more useful over the others by guarantying a successful learning. One of the most important proponents of this aspect was George Pittman whom with some colleges developed a big structure of teaching materials and books that changed many perspectives about language teaching. As a matter of fact, these were published for worldwide use in 1990 as the series “Situational English” and they were based on some principles such as: language teaching begins with the spoken language, material is taught in the target language of the classroom, vocabulary is practiced situational and reading and writing are introduced once a sufficient lexical and grammar basis is established, Thus this last characteristic of the oral approach proves that learners need to learn how to speak a language in order to then produce it on different ways. Furthermore, teachers and students have to take into account that the audio-oral skills are more useful over the others because of the great advantage a person gain when the language is controlled principally on spoken aspects and it is perfectly developed in context.


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

In the area of socialization, language development is very important and the most common way of communication and interaction among language is orally. In the web article “Oral language development across the curriculum” by Hong & Kortner (1995) show that oral language acquisition is a natural process and the ability to speak fluently requires particular attention and constant practice. The authors maintain that many studies have indicated that oral language in the classroom is vital to start a process of socialization, but language in most of the cases is used more by teachers than by students. Could you imagine a class without sharing ideas? Researchers call thus phenomenon “teachers talk-students-listen”. In fact, teachers have the responsibility to create successful classes trough socialization and interaction, every student knows that when a teacher is focused on talking and talking nobody learns. The necessity of conversations among facilitators and learners is a priority to emphasize on a topic and oral language development depends on the grade of socialization the class acquires. Stabb (1986) speculates that teachers become “ so involved with establishing routine, finishing the textbook, covering curriculum and preparing students for standardized test that they have forgotten the principal goal: sharing knowledge in order to stimulate the student” (p:4). If teachers do not apply right methods so as to let the student learn, the oral language of the classroom will be destroyed. As Lemke (1989) in his book “Making the test talk” says “ oral language is one of the important means of learning and acquiring knowledge” (p:28). Thus, if learners are able to write a language, but they cannot produce it orally, they are not adopting any knowledge at all.


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

Although, all the previous advantages of learning using principally the listening and speaking skills, many linguists and researchers maintain that reading and writing skills are the ones which develop more easy abilities on students a language learners beginners. One of them is Mortimer (1983) in his book “How to speak how to listen” argues that “In the case of reading and writing, the essential element is the requisite skills consist in knowing how to improve them. That essential element plays no part in the skills to be attained in speaking and listening, because speaking and listening are transient and fleeting like performing arts, as writing and reading are not. The later are more like painting and sculpture, the products of have permanence.” (p: 9). This author loves to read and write, for that reason he defends touching the fire this skills, it is true that they production of them is going to be always on paper, but to learn how to listen and speak a language different from the mother tongue is difficult and this learning is going to be forever of the brain. In contrast, MacMahon (1994) points “what makes these skills so amazing and extraordinary is the fact that listening and speaking are much more difficult to acquire and more difficult to teach than the parallel skills of reading and writing, because that process is based on thinking and producing on a different language.” Bilingual people can support this idea with the experience of learning a second language, do not you?. It not easy to deal with a conversation fluently because of the fact that you do not have time to translate what you are hearing and then talk, it a faster process that after practice it becomes natural. For those reasons, listening and speaking continue being the most important skills to learn and the other come with the process without panting that they have importance too.


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

To Summarize, through time humans have develop the necessity to explore and to learn. One of those aspects which is going to catch always the attention is the language and all the new advantages it brings. Worldwide population needs a global way of sharing knowledge and ideas. What is the best? Language. Actually, people have modern languages to communicate those necessities in many ways, but the most common at the moment of visiting a new culture is orally. The way of learning a new language is a personal decision, but people have to take into account that according to their necessities they have, fist of all exits the need to talk and listen not perfectly, but understanding the words shared. Moreover, there exits many methods of learning, but the problem is that they have a skill to develop and as learners people need to expand specific skills depending on the way they learn. Such methods directed to write and read do not provide the socialization that the learner is looking for through the process of becoming bilingual. People need to talk, listen and interact at the same time because it has become mandatory to be part of the world by means of ideas.

To conclude, in this writing have been showed many aspects related to the advantages that the audio-lingual area of communication brings to the process of learning a second language. Furthermore, it has been proved that there are many methods which benefit those skills and with the points of view of some authorities who created models of education and new ways of learning, it is guaranteed that listening and speaking are as important as the desire of learning a language. Because


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

the most important and relevant aspect for learners is to talk in order to communicate ideas, desires and knowledge. Moreover, those skills have a great connection with socialization and interaction because those are the ways humans use to communicate: listen and talk. Lastly, it has been pointed that reading and writing has importance too, but the objective of this writing is to show that learning how to talk and listen leave a mark on the process of learning, the other skills come by practicing too.


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

Bibliography

1. KELLY. Taylor. (1969) History of 2500 of language teaching. Oxford press. 2. RICHARDS. Jack c. RODGERS. Theodore Stephen. (2001) Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching. Cambridge university press. 3. RODGERS. Tomas. (1988) Cooperative Language Learning: What is New? Journal of language teaching. 4. TJ Taylor English Training member of Federlingue, The association of language training and translation Service Company. Retrieved on December 2011 from www.tjtaylor.net 5. CALLAN. Alexander. (1989) Natural methods of language. Fist edition. Unknown press. 6. HOWATT. Richard C. (1984) A History of English Language Teaching. Oxford university press. 7. BERLITZ. Charles. (1986) Around the world with 80 words. Crowell, callier & Macmillan press. 8. BLOOMFIELD. Leonard. (1954) The Language. Yale university press. 9. WIDDOWSON. Henry. (1990) The Theory and practice of critical discourse analysis. Applied linguistics. Oxford university press. 10. HONG. Zhang. KORTHER. Alex (1995) Retrieved on December 2011 from www.ericdigest.org 11. STABB. Claire. (1986) What happened to the sixth graders: Are elementary students losing their forecast and reason? Cambridge university press.


Listening and Speaking are more Useful than Reading and Writing.

2011

12. LEMKE. J.L. (1989) Making the test talk. Theory into practice. University of Illinois press. 13. MORTIMER. Jerome Adler. (1983) How to speak how to listen. Touchstone press. 14. MACMOHAN. A.M (1994) Understanding language function. Cambridge university press.


Listening and speaking are more useful than reading and writing  

este documento contiene la descripcion detallada de las ventajas de desarrollar el habla y la escuha al momento de aprender una segunda leng...

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