Language skills are the building blocks of language and speech development. The acquisition of such skills are necessary particularly in the early years of school, if the child has to be successful in school. The development of these skills are facilitated by interaction with others, with having a shared focus and also playing in an environment that is free from distractions.
Language skills basically consists of listening, speaking, reading and writing (LSRW) and these skills have to be developed in the sequence mentioned above because language is primarily observed as speech. If students do not cultivate the habit of listening, then they will not be able to develop the speaking ability, because it is only when they listen well then can imitate and also articulate the sounds properly. Moreover, it is only after developing the listening ability, can they move over to the reading skills and when reading is properly developed, they can transfer the oral symbols to the graphical aspect.
There are lot of ways to develop children’s language skills. What is necessary for teacher’s as well as parents is to find activities that children will be comfortable with and also can be enjoyed and share together both by students and teachers. Apart from the four basic language skills, it is also equally important to develop skills like- observing, paying attention, watching, giving appropriate shape and also development of creativity and imagination.
Recently, the focus of teaching environment has changed. Today teaching is more concerned with facilitating and managing pupil’s learning rather than explaining and giving information. In order to make the process productive, teacher’s need to address the diverse needs of pupils creating a learning environment that reflects their individual abilities, skills and interests. But to do this, teacher need new competences to meet the new challenges and among these competences, reflective and research skills are also highly significant.
It is equally important for the teachers to be able to notice and study pupil’s behavior and needs, and develop appropriate teaching and learning strategies to address such needs. Teacher also should engage in continuing professional development in order to be an effective and reflective practitioner. The competences to be developed are as follows-
a. Language proficiency in the languages they intend to teach.
b. Inter-cultural awareness and needs of developing experiences that involve interaction between different cultural perspectives.
c. Language teaching methodologies, classroom teachniques and activiies.
d. Knowledge and skills related to applying various assesment procedures and also different ways of recording pupil’s progress.
e. Understanding of the nature and practice of independent language learning.