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Delta Module One Course


Syllabus area 4
Language skills and learners’ problems


This section of the syllabus covers these areas and you should be able to:

  • Identify, analyse and compare the language skills, sub-skills and strategies needed by learners to develop their competence in:
    • speaking
    • listening
    • reading
    • writing
  • Identify problems experienced by learners with regard to developing specific language skills, subskills and strategies
  • Relate methodological choices in language skills teaching to learners’ characteristics and context

To be able to do this you need a knowledge of these areas.  The following and the guides linked from here are those on this site which cover the areas.  You should follow those you need and then return to this page to try some tests of your knowledge.


An overview of what you need to know

This is another large area of the syllabus because you are being asked to know about all skills and all the possible issues that can arise when learning, applying or teaching the skills.  Then you are asked to consider the methodological implications of the issues.

There is more to using a language than knowing about its systems and its lexis.  We need to be able to teach people how to deploy this knowledge by using language to achieve their aims.  It is here that the specific and explicit teaching and development of the four main skills comes into play.
Although there are considerable differences between the receptive and productive skills as well as between reading, listening, speak and writing, there are also commonalities in terms of the ways we process information and the ways we communicate information.
For example, a knowledge of formality, hedging, modality and register-specific language will aid both speaking and writing appropriately but will also inform the ways we understand what we read and hear.
It is also true that a knowledge of how to approach listening to or reading a foreign language will inform how we structure writing and speaking.
These guides are intended to help people understand the distinctive features as well as their interconnections and commonalities.


Time presses

You probably have limited time and there are lots of guides in the list below.  You need to focus on the skills with which you are the least familiar first and, if you have time, come back to the others.
To help you identify what you need to know, try this task:

  1. Download and print the worksheet for this task.
  2. Dredge up what you already know about the four main language skills and fill in the gaps in the text.

Now click here for the answers and some comments.

Here is a list of all the guides relevant to this area.  From the skills index (new tab), there are links to teaching and assessing in the area.

Syllabus areas Guides to these areas
Features of language skills (e.g. in terms of subskills, strategies) and associated texts (e.g. in terms of genre, complexity, intended audience) and terminology; application of analysis to teaching purposes
(The first link on the right takes you to an overview concerned with teaching language skills in general.)
Teaching language skills
Reading skills
Writing skills
Speaking skills
Listening skills
Problems learners face in achieving success in skills work
(All the skills guides cover this area in one way or another but the links here are helpful in terms of bottom-up processing.)
Phrase structure
Clause structure
Syntax: phrases, clauses and sentences index
Literacy in different ELT contexts Style and register
Shell nouns
Genre analysis
The index to guides to English for Academic Purposes
Reference sources for skills analysis Skills references

where next

Where next?

Once you have worked your way through the guides and done some research, it's time to test your knowledge in these areas and then do some revision exercises.
If you have followed the guides in the skills analysis sections, you'll have done lots of tests along the way so there are a few repeated here and a few new ones.

Here are the choices:

A set of tests to check what you can remember.  Do these first.
Revision course index there is a section of the Delta Module One Revision Course for this area of the syllabus
Examination practice apply the knowledge you have gained to practising for the examination (new tab)

index small exam practice
course index exam practice