How to improve the ability of listening and speaking (来源：英语学习门户 http://www.EnglishCN.com)
The purpose of middle school English teaching is to improve the students' four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing, with the base of necessary phonetics, large vocabulary and good grammar, But this is not the final purpose. The final purpose is to lot let students be able to use the language.
Why do we study English? If a man is only good at listening and speaking, can we say that he is good at English? No, If a man is only good at reading and writing, can we say that he is good at the language? No, If a student is good at English, he should be able to use the language, both in spoking and writing.
Now most of the students do better in reading and writing English than in listening and speaking. They can read and write, but they can hardly communicate. They can hardly express themselves with their own words. This is partially because of our examination system, and partially of the teaching method . We are not able to change the examination system, but we can improve our teaching method.
Most of all the teachers like to provide the students with a lot of knowledge-words, phrases, grammar, usages and so on, They are focusing these thing, especially on the grammar. Yes, the students do need these, but many teachers forget to teach them how to study English, and how to use it. So when you are giving the knowledge to the students, don't forget to teach them all the abilities of the four skills.
II. Ways on developing the four abilities
The teachers often speak of the four skills- listening, speaking, reading and writing. That means each of them is important. You can't say that you have mastered the language without any one of them, Listening, one of the means of language communication, is used most widely in people's daily lives. About 45%of an adult's time concerns listening to other people , listening to the radio, listening to the music. In linguistics ，giving the students a lot of listening activities is a good way of enlarging their vocabulary. On the other hand, it als o helps the students improve their listening comprehension.
I have done an investigation. About 43.2% of the students think that the most bothering and most difficult is listening comprehension, and even some of them have difficulty in understanding their teacher who gives lessons in English.
Without question, it is difficult of a middle school student to understand the listening material, if he hasn't enough vocabulary and the ability of telling the grammar construction. In my investigation, about 35% of the students with low listening comprehension thing this is because they don't understand or know the knowledge about linguistic, they are not able to tell the means of a what they have heard. In my another investigation, students were asked to listen to a dialogue of 244 words, in which the words and grammar have already been learned. ;But 80% of them thought it was too difficult. Then, using the same dialogue as a reading comprehension material, I found only 5% of them thought it was a little difficult, on the other hand the response ability is also another reason.
It is clear that the reading speed of a material also affects. About 43% of the students thought that the material was read too fast and they couldn't follow.
A lot of students have their own listening habits. Some students often tries to understand each word or each sentence. They will think hard when they meet some difficult words or sentences, and a great many students could understand the material directly, They often translate the English into Chinese in their heart, thinking that only in this way can the sentence be understood. This is also a reason, trying to understand each word is difficult, and it is not necessary at all. You should catch the most important points.
Then how to improve the students' listening skill?
We know the largest difference between mother language learning and foreign language learning is the environment. A child can soon learn his mother language well. He has heard a lot before he can say something and walk. Then after he is able to walk and say, he has a chance of listening to more. Before he goes to school, he has already been a good listener and speaker.
But for a foreign language, you can meet it only in formal places, classes, for example, otherwise, you can hardly have a chance to meet it. So I think you should try to let the students be in a language environment.
Let the students grasp the phonetic symbol. I think the phonetic symbol is the base. A good intonation and phonetic depends on the base. Oral reading after a radio or a teacher is a good way at the beginning, Students should do much about it.
Pay attention to the oral reading skill, It includes stress, strong form, weak form, intonation incomplete plosive consonant, affricate consonant, syllable and so on. Training and practicing the oral reading is not a day's word. The teacher must give correct information about it . There is no easy way.