We take a broad view of communication which includes any use of language to produce meaning - through speaking or writing; or receive meaning - through listening or reading.It is when we communicate using the target language that we acquire it, which is the goal of any language learner. Therefore, communication should be the main part of your language learning.
Listening skills can be separated into two categories, bottom-up and top-down listening. Both are essential for effective listening comprehension. Bottom-up listening is the process of converting sounds into meaning. Top-Down listening is the process of using background information, such as knowledge about the topic or visual clues, to be able to comprehend spoken language. The human brain is simply not fast enough to be able to process everything bottom-up. Both are necessary for listening comprehension.
Speaking fluency is the ability to communicate meaning effectively, without thinking about pronunciation, grammar or vocabulary.
Reading, like listening can be separated into bottom-up and top-down listening. Bottom-up reading is the process of converting information received by the eye into meaning. Top-down reading is the process of using background information, such as your knowledge about the topic, to be able to read quickly and efficiently. Both are necessary for effective reading.
Writing skills can be separated into content and form. Content is the information you choose to use to make your point. Form is the vocabulary, grammar and text organisation you use to deliver the content. For communication, content is the most important, but without correct form the meaning is lost.
Form focus is focusing on the linguistic aspects of the language, such as the grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. However, rather than just learning grammar rules or vocabulary, you should always think about how it is used in communication. Effective form focus, with regular communication, should help you to acquire the language more effectively. To give a practical example of this, Perhaps you could read an article first for the meaning, and then look at the same article again and look at how grammar or vocabulary is used.
To focus on form in listening, the focus is on bottom-up listening skills. In other words, practicing distinguishing individual words or phrases in speech.
Form focus in speaking involves paying attention to pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar and appropriacy. Appropriacy is selecting the correct language for the correct social situation, for example speaking with your boss and your friend requires different forms of expression. We use the term form for all of these.
Bottom-up reading skills are the focus for form focus in reading. This involves mostly word recognition, but also important are grammar and text organisation.
As mentioned above, form in writing involves vocabulary, grammar and text organisation.
To take control of your learning, it is necessary to take responsibility for your own learning. To do this, you need to know where you are now, where you want to be and how to get there. In other words, you need to: find out your strengths and weaknesses - by testing yourself and thinking about your performance and what you need to improve; set yourself goals and find techniques which will help you to meet them. This should continue throughout your studies to measure your progress and make sure that the techniques you are using are right for you. Everyone is different and your needs will change.
The ALL Rooms aim to provide everything you need to take control of your language learning, the learning materials, guidance in planning and evaluating your learning and opportunities to use the language. We do our best, but, everyone has different needs and, while we want to provide for them all, if we donʼt know what they are we canʼt provide for them. So, please let us know if there is anything we can to better serve your needs.