- Speaking – Express yourself with confidence
- Listening – Understand, remember and contribute to discussions
- Reading – understand and remember
- Writing – make your message clear
- Critical thinking skills when communicating
- Grammar and spelling
- Sentence and paragraph construction
Here’s how students benefit with LingoSkills English classes:
Individual assessment to determine the student’s current level of English skills
Problems don’t start overnight. Usually issues experienced with current work can be traced back to concepts and facts that weren’t properly understood in the past (previous grades), making it difficult, if not impossible, for the student to now build on that shaky foundation with the current work.
Determining the student’s actual base of solid skills, the base where he is comfortable and confident, gives us a good place to start from to work towards filling in the gaps that are now hampering his current learning.
Once the assessment (done during the first class) has been completed, classes will be tailored to correct the issues identified.
Using the right words at the right time (Vocabulary building)
To be able to read, write and speak effectively, a person needs to know which words to use. To understand the content of different subjects, he also needs to know what the specific words (terminology) used in that subject mean.
To achieve this, we’ll work on building a strong bank of known and understood words (vocabulary), which will enable a student to better understand what he is reading and learning. He will then be able to use these words effectively when writing and speaking as well.
Reading to understand and remember (Comprehension skills)
Much of the work presented to a student is in written format. This means he must be able to read it to access the information given.
But just being able to read the individual words on a page isn’t enough. He must be able to understand what the entire piece of writing is about. He needs to be able to identify and understand aspects such as
- the main idea or message of the text,
- any facts given,
- how facts or opinions relate to each other and
- how they connect to other facts and even other subjects.
If a student can’t understand what he is reading, he won’t be able to learn the concepts he needs to remember and apply in the subject he is studying. As he goes on to higher grades, this lack of reading comprehension and solid understanding of the facts will make it ever more difficult for him to study effectively.
The results of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 showed that 78% of grade 4 pupils in South Africa are below the lowest internationally recognised level of reading literacy.. This means that they can’t understand what they are reading.
Prof Sarah Howie, National Research Coordinator (NRC) for PIRLS, 2016, South Africa, says this indicates that most students can’t read at a level that will enable them to succeed in Grade 4 subjects and subjects in higher grades.
In our English classes we’ll focus on improving the student’s reading skills so that he can understand and remember what he is reading more easily as well as apply that knowledge to new work and content.
This enhanced level of understanding will make learning less stressful and can build the student’s self-confidence in general.
Logical thinking and problem solving skills
A large part of good comprehension skills, which allows a student to make sense of the work that needs to be studied, requires logical thinking and problem solving skills. These skills are also needed to write and speak effectively.
These skills are useful in learning new concepts in all subjects. They are essential if a student is to apply his knowledge in different scenarios and not simply repeat back the facts in the textbook. These skills are needed more and more in the higher grades where students are expected to be able to memorize as well as apply new concepts.
Logical thinking and problem solving skills are taught using a variety of methods from puzzles to games to brainteasers. Besides improving these skills, it is also important that the student has fun and comes to realize he can work things out for himself, even if the answer isn’t immediately clear to him.
This often has a positive effect on self-image and confidence as well. It can also reduce stress about learning new work as the student realises he “can work it out.”
Writing that makes your knowledge and message clear
Most study assessments require the student to write answers to questions. Job applications need to be made in writing. Working in a job or running a business and so much more in our daily lives requires good writing skills.
When studying, poor writing can result in low marks and even failure as the student’s knowledge of the subject is not made clear.
Weak writing skills can make the writer appear careless and ignorant. Sometimes the message the writer is trying to get across can get lost completely as the reader can’t understand what he is trying to say.
In our English classes, we’ll work on writing clearly and correctly. This will help the student give answers in assessments that reflect his true level of knowledge about the subject and should result in better marks.
Better writing skills will also be important in future, when the student starts working and needs to communicate with colleagues – often all over the world.
Speaking English with confidence
Being able to speak English clearly and with confidence allows a person to communicate and engage with people all over the world. This applies to studies, business and more informal situations like travelling.
At LingoSkills, our classes are in English, given by a native English speaker.
Students are encouraged to engage in the activities speaking English only as far as possible. This gives the opportunity to practise speaking English in a safe environment where mistakes can gently be corrected. As a student becomes comfortable speaking English – even if it is not perfectly correct – so his confidence grows. This will enable him to start speaking English outside the classroom as well, which will further develop his skills.