Developing your skills
Receptive skills (listening, reading)
Regular listening and reading in a foreign language can achieve the following:
- Develop your comprehension skills, including speed of comprehension
- Develop your range of vocabulary
- Develop your range of useful functional expressions
- Develop your awareness of stylistics
- Contribute to your improved Speaking and Writing Skills
To get the most out of Listening and Reading, look at the following hints:
Choose your reading material from books, magazines or the internet.
Choose your listening material from DVDs, videos and audio CDs in the Language Centre and from internet-delivered audio and video materials.
You will need to engage meaningfully with these materials so try the activity suggestions provided here:
Productive skills (speaking, writing)
Listening and Reading regularly can contribute to the development of your Speaking and Writing Skills.
You do, however, need to practise Speaking and Writing regularly as well, applying what you have learnt from your Listening and Reading in a conscious and active way.
- Find yourself a Face-to-Face partner through the Language Centre
- Speak in your target language regularly with friends on the same course as you
- Develop your pronunciation and fluency using audio materials in the Language Centre and repeating after native speakers
- Read aloud (in the comfort of your own room!)
- Use text-based internet chat-lines to develop your 'conversational' style and speed of response to native speakers
- Record your own voice and listen to it to raise your awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses as a speaker
- Record yourself in dialogue with a friend/Face-to-Face partner - you could use the Advising/Pair-Work Room for this.
- Seek constructive feedback and corrections from friends/Face-to-Face partners
Look at the Speaking skills page
- Find a correspondence partner to communicate with by email: this could be a friend on your course, your Face-to-Face partner or another language learner through an online service like eTandem Europa or My Language Exchange
- Encourage correspondents to correct your spelling, grammar and style in a constructive manner
- Provide feedback to friends on their writing: this will build your own awareness of written style and common mistakes and make you more critical of your own written work
- Look at these hints: 10 hints when writing in a foreign language
- Actively practise your writing. Some suggested activities are provided in the Writing in a foreign language activity sheet
- Make sure you are constantly developing your vocabulary, grammar knowledge and awareness of style and applying it to your writing
Underlying skills (vocabulary, grammar)
You need a wide range of vocabulary and sound grammatical knowledge in order to develop your Receptive and Productive Skills. Both of these areas need working on actively. It is also important to learn how to use a dictionary properly. We have provided some assistance for you in the following pages:
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