Academic journal article NAWA: Journal of Language and Communication

2. the Implementation of Language Skills Integration in Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL): Jimma College of Teachers' Education in Focus

Academic journal article NAWA: Journal of Language and Communication

2. the Implementation of Language Skills Integration in Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL): Jimma College of Teachers' Education in Focus

Article excerpt

Introduction

Skills are the building blocks and effective elements in the process of language development. In order to make the comprehensive and complex process of language learning simple and effective, skills integration can be an integral part of teaching language. Integrating language skills helps language learners to develop their ability in using two or more of the four skills (i.e. listening, speaking, reading and writing) in contexts and real life situations.

All language skills are crucial in the teaching and learning process and a combination of the language skills has a positive effect on the students' success (Selma and Selen, 2010).

In language classrooms, skills need to be integrated and practised. According to Hinkel (2006), communication will be meaningful if it happens in integrated language skills, not through an isolated one. That is, communication does not run well if people use only one language skill at a time. Language skills should therefore also be integrated in the language teaching process and in real life. In order to provide more focused and significant learning situations, teachers must integrate the four language skills while teaching and practising the language.

For three decades, ELT experts have employed a whole language approach, focusing on teaching the four skills. This approach was conceived in the 1980s and put into practice in the 1990s and the 2000s, especially by US educators (Hinkel, 2006; Selma and Selen, 2010). It is considered an approach because it has key principles about language in general and teaching/learning language by integrated reading, writing, listening and speaking in particular. According to Richards and Rodgers (2001), the whole language teaching approach was developed to help teaching English as a second/ foreign language to children at primary, and young learners at junior, secondary and tertiary levels of education.

Nowadays the integration of the four language skills in the teaching-learning of English is widely practised in many countries of the world, mainly in Canada, the USA and the UK. This practice is gradually spreading to cover other parts of the globe (Brown, 2001; David, 1994; Oxford, 2001).

The Education and Training Policy instituted by the Government of Ethiopia in 1994 outlines the prescribed medium of instruction for primary, secondary and tertiary education in Ethiopia. For instance, the policy directs that English should be used as a medium of instruction at the secondary and tertiary levels. English is also used as a working language along with national or regional official languages for communication and correspondence in high schools, higher learning institutions, banks, hospitals, industries, government and non-governmental organisations; needless to mention the extensive use made of the language to conduct business between and among the diplomatic missions, as well as international affairs and relations offices.

Hence, this demands that graduates coming out of colleges and universities need to have a mastery of the English language with adequate conceptual and practical knowledge and hands-on practice on integrating its four skills, i.e. writing, speaking, listening and reading (Abraham, 2012). This is because the good command they possess on integrating these skills could have a significant and long-lasting effect in enhancing their academic success. The implementation of skills integration in a learner-centred and realistic fashion is therefore vital, as it enables learners to develop their communicative skills.

The researchers developed an interest in conducting this study to determine the extent of efforts exerted by EFL teachers towards achieving the integration of language skills during the teaching of EFL lessons. In this connection, several reasons can be cited. Firstly, it is one of the significant areas where language teachers usually encounter problems in achieving the integration of language skills. …

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