How to learn functional English

how to prove functional English and how to teach functional English and how to demonstrate functional English
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Published Date:12-07-2017
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Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English Resources to support the pilot of functional skills Teaching and learning functional English Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills Introduction to functional skills What are functional skills? Functional skills are essential skills in English, mathematics and ICT that enable everyone to deal with the practical problems and challenges of life – at home, in education and at work. They are essential to all our lives. For example, they help us recognise good value deals when making purchases, in writing an effective application letter, or when using the internet to access local services or online banking. They are about using English, mathematics and ICT in everyday situations. Functional skills are a key to success. They open doors to learning, to life and to work. These skills are valued by employers and further education and are a platform on which to build other employability skills. Better functional skills can mean a better future – as learners or as employees. Functional skills are an essential part of the secondary curriculum. They are embedded in the revised Programmes of Study for English, mathematics and ICT at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, and in the revised GCSE subject criteria for these subjects. They are a mandatory component of Diplomas, the Foundation Learning Tier (FLT) and Apprenticeships. They will also be available as stand-alone qualifications for young people and adults. Functional skills are based on a problem-solving approach and should be developed in a practical way through discussion, thinking and explanation, across the whole 11-19 curriculum. It is therefore important to recognise and promote that functional skills are essential for: • getting the most from education and training • the personal development of all young people and adults • independence – enabling learners to manage in a variety of situations • developing employability skills • giving people a sound basis for further learning. The implications for teaching and learning are significant and will need to be introduced gradually and thoughtfully, but they do not threaten aspects of existing good practice. Helping learners to become more ‘functional’ is supported by existing practices including: • a focus on applied learning • learner-centred approaches • active learning and a problem-centred approach • partnership learning • assessment for learning. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 6 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills How are functional skills being developed? The standards QCA has developed draft standards for functional English, mathematics and ICT at Entry levels 1, 2 and 3, Level 1 and Level 2 (QCA 2007). Figure 1 shows how these levels relate to the Qualifications and Credit Framework. Figure 1 Functional Qualifications Examples of qualifications at each skills levels and Credit level Framework Entry 1 Entry ƒ Adult Literacy and Numeracy certificates Entry 2 Entry 3 Level 1 1 ƒ GCSEs grades D-G ƒ Level 1 Key Skills ƒ Level 1 Certificates in Adult Literacy and Numeracy ƒ Level 1 NVQ ƒ Foundation Diploma Level 2 2 ƒ GCSEs grades A-C ƒ Level 2 Key Skills ƒ Level 2 Certificates in Adult Literacy and Numeracy ƒ Level 2 NVQ ƒ BTEC First ƒ Higher Diploma Level 3 3 ƒ AS and A levels (NB standards ƒ Level 3 Key Skills not yet ƒ Level 3 NVQ drafted) ƒ BTEC National ƒ Advanced Diploma © Crown copyright 2008 Page 7 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills It is important to recognise that the ‘level’ of a functional skill is determined by a combination of factors: • Familiarity to the learner of the situation or problem • Autonomy – the independence of the learner in identifying and selecting the skills they will need, and in tackling the situation or problem • Complexity of the situation or problem the learner is tackling • Technical demand of the skill required. A learner who is ‘functional’ with mathematics, English and/or ICT is able to: • consider a problem or task • identify the functional mathematics, English and/or ICT skills that will help them to tackle it • select from the range of skills in which they are competent (or know what help they need and who to ask) • apply them appropriately. This interplay of the four factors means, for example, that tackling a complex problem in a situation with which a learner is unfamiliar but that requires relatively undemanding English/mathematics/ICT skills may involve a higher level of ‘functionality’ than a relatively straightforward task in a familiar context that requires more advanced ‘subject’ skills. It is the combination of the four factors that confirms the functional skill level. A problem solving approach Functional skills are about identifying problems or challenges, selecting from the knowledge that we have, or knowing where to get it, and applying that knowledge to find effective solutions. A key characteristic of functional skills is that they are based on a problem solving approach. Learners who are ‘functionally skilled’ are able to use and apply the English/mathematics/ICT they know to tackle problems that arise in their life and work. Clearly, teachers cannot know what English/mathematics/ICT their learners will use as they move through their lives. This means that we cannot identify a curriculum core that every learner will use. Instead, and much more powerfully, learners should be taught to use and apply the English/mathematics/ICT that they know, and to ask for help with the areas in which they are less confident. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 8 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills It is essential to think of learners becoming functional with their English/mathematics/ICT, rather than thinking that there is a vital body of knowledge known as functional English/mathematics/ICT. Why are functional skills needed? Functional skills are needed for people to thrive. Functional skills are important in achieving the outcomes of the Government’s Green Paper, ‘Every Child Matters’ (DfES 2003), particularly: • enjoy and achieve • make a positive contribution • achieve economic well-being. The new qualifications have the potential to be an inspiring teaching, training and learning experience, which could improve chances for learners. Functional skills have an impact on our adult lives too: the National Research and Development Centre (NRDC) has shown that people with poor literacy and numeracy have worse physical and mental health and low self-esteem, live in a poorer standard of accommodation, have more family breakdowns and are more likely to have been in trouble with the police. ICT skills are also increasingly important – they unlock information and help us communicate locally, nationally and worldwide. Functional skills are needed to access education and training The ‘Gilbert Review’ (2020 Vision, DfES, 2006) said that, without functional skills – being able to use English, mathematics and ICT as a matter of course whenever they are needed – pupils would find it ‘almost impossible to succeed’ because of the difficulty they would have in accessing the secondary curriculum. Functional skills will contribute to achievement of schools’ targets. Achievement • The AAT points for functional skills qualifications achieved and in schools and colleges are: Attainment Level 2 = 23 points Tables Level 1 = 12.5 points Entry 3 = 7 points Entry 2 = 6 points Entry 1 = 5 points The points for Levels 1 and 2 are in addition to points allocated for other qualifications such as GCSEs and Diplomas. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 9 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills The ability to apply functional skills is also crucial to accessing further and higher education. Universities and colleges have reported that weak functional skills have a negative impact on the number of students who complete a degree. Functional skills are needed for national prosperity Achieving functional skills qualifications will help poorly-qualified adults in the economic marketplace, enabling them to earn a living and contribute to national prosperity. People who are more highly qualified are more likely to be employed and to earn more. The ‘Leitch Report’ (2006) found that, although school standards have improved and more young people than ever are achieving five good GCSEs, ‘…more than one in six young people leave school unable to read, write and add up properly…’. The Review emphasises the critical importance of improving functional literacy and numeracy. Functional skills are needed for employability Literacy, numeracy, team working and communication are relevant in most jobs and the Leitch Report set targets of: • 95% of adults to achieve functional literacy and numeracy • more than 90% of adults to be qualified to at least Level 2 by 2020. The CBI found that: ‘Weak functional skills are associated with higher unemployment, lower earnings, poorer chances of career progression and social exclusion… The time has come to ensure that school-leavers in future have the functional skills they need for work and daily life. In short, British business sees concerted action on functional skills as a key priority.’ (Working on the Three Rs, CBI, 2006) Functional skills will help to ensure that employers can recruit workers with the skills they need. They will be a badge of competence, showing that potential recruits can cope with the demands of the workplace, offering a single ladder of achievement and progression with each level incorporating and building on the level/s below. Assessment Standards are, of course, only the first stage in developing qualifications. When they are finalised, QCA works with the awarding bodies to develop the assessment methods and the qualifications. The assessment methods for functional skills qualifications must be fit for purpose across a wide range of learners in a wide range of contexts. It may be that no one method will be appropriate to all settings. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 10 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills During the pilot, 11 awarding bodies are piloting a range of models of assessment. QCA has produced three documents, one for each functional skills subject, entitled ‘Assessment arrangements and principles for pilot’. Many of the principles are common to all three functional skills, including: • the assessment can be entirely task-based, or a combination of tasks with test-style items • the assessment should not be entirely test-based • assessment items may be externally set by an awarding body or requirements may be externally set and provide for internally contextualised task-based assessments • assessment is of the candidate’s own ability to solve a problem or reach an outcome by independent application of skills. For details of assessment, you should contact your awarding body. The pilot What has been learned from the trials and from the pilot will continue to inform future decisions. Over 2000 centres are now involved, most of whom are schools, although they also include colleges, training providers, work-based provision, adult and community settings and secure settings. Timelines Start date September Three-year pilot (approximately 1000 centres in the first year) of 2007 functional English, mathematics and ICT in a range of contexts, including stand-alone. September All three functional skills piloted within the first tranche of 2008 Diplomas (construction and the built environment, creative and media, engineering, society health and development, IT). September Functional English, mathematics and ICT available nationally. 2010 © Crown copyright 2008 Page 11 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: Introduction to functional skills References CBI (2006) Working on the Three Rs. London: Confederation of British Industry DfES (2003) Green Paper: Every Child Matters. London: DfES DfES (2006) 2020 Vision: Report of the teaching and learning in 2020 Review Group. London: DfES Leitch, S. (2006) Prosperity for all in the global economy – world class skills: final report. London: The Stationery Office QCA (2007) Functional skills standards. (QCA/07/3472) www.qca.org.uk/qca_6066.aspx Useful sources of information Functional Skills Support Programme Go to functionalskillslsneducation.org.uk or telephone the Helpline on 0870 872 8081 www.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/nationalstrategies DCSF 14-19 website at www.dcsf.gov.uk/14-19 – go to ‘Qualifications’ and then ‘Functional skills’. QCA website at www.qca.org.uk/qca_6062.aspx has information about the functional skills standards and the pilot. The QIA Excellence Gateway at http://excellence.qia.org.uk has links to downloadable versions of teaching and learning resources to support the delivery of functional skills. Many of the awarding bodies’ websites have sections dedicated to functional skills. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 12 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching and learning functional English: Overview Teaching and learning functional English Overview ‘Teaching and learning functional English’ is intended to support teachers as they prepare courses that lead to qualifications in functional English, either free- standing or in the context of other qualifications. There are five sections. The first section, the Introduction, sets out what functional English is, what is expected to change as a result of the Government’s vision for functional English, and how teachers should use the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) document: Functional skills standards (QCA/07/3472). The following three sections focus on the three components of functional English: Speaking and listening, Reading, and Writing. Each section gives: • an introduction to what being functional in the component means • guidance on interpreting the levels of this component of functional English • guidance on how teachers can approach this aspect of functional English in ways that learners will find realistic and engaging • examples of a range of activities that can be adapted for use both by specialist English teachers and by non-specialists teaching other subjects or vocational areas. The final section, ‘References and resources’, gives a wide range of materials that you may find useful. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 13 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching and learning functional English © Crown copyright 2008 Page 14 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 1. Introduction 1. Introduction Contents 1.1 What is functional English? 1.2 The functional English vision 1.3 Teaching functional English 1.4 How to read the standards 1.5 Progression through the levels 1.1 What is functional English? The DCSF’s generic definition of functional skills notes that functional skills: ‘provide an individual with the essential knowledge, skills and understanding that will enable them to operate confidently, effectively and independently in life and at work. Individuals of whatever age who possess these skills will be able to participate and progress in education, training and employment as well as develop and secure the broader range of aptitudes, attitudes and behaviours that will enable them to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work.’ The vision described is of learners: • developing the practical applied skills needed for success in work, learning and life • tackling the skills gap, improving productivity, enterprise and competitiveness • becoming more confident in their studies in further and higher education • becoming more confident in interaction with people in their lives. Functional English will contribute to this agenda. Learners who are functional with English are able to communicate effectively in a wide range of meaningful contexts – in life, work, learning and their communities. 1.2 The functional English vision The introduction to Functional skills standards: English states that: ‘The term ‘functional’ should be considered in the broad sense of providing learners with the skills and abilities they need to take an active and responsible role in their communities, everyday life, the workplace and educational settings. Functional English requires learners to © Crown copyright 2008 Page 15 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 1. Introduction communicate in ways that make them effective and involved as citizens, to operate confidently and to convey their ideas and opinions clearly. The aim of the English standards is to encourage learners to demonstrate their speaking and listening, reading and writing skills in a range of contexts and for various purposes. They are essentially concerned with developing and recognising the ability of learners to apply and transfer skills in ways that are appropriate to their situation.’ There are examples of what being functional with English may involve in a recent Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report (Working on the three Rs, August 2006). This states that employers are looking for people who can: • articulate clearly • take and pass on messages • deal with customers effectively • read, understand and follow a wide range of documents • write fluently and accurately, using accepted business conventions of format, spelling, grammar and punctuation. 1.3 Teaching functional English As a teacher, you cannot know all the specific tasks that your learners will be faced with in their lives that will require them to use their English skills. However, you can help them to apply their English skills to maximum effect. So, helping learners to become functional with English means helping them to: • choose appropriate communication methods • ensure their communication methods are fit for purpose • communicate in ways that meet the needs of the audience and situation • apply English skills in a range of meaningful contexts • become increasingly independent in their learning. It is essential to think of learners becoming functional with their English, rather than thinking there is a vital body of knowledge known as functional English. This is likely to require a different approach to teaching and learning which focuses on applied learning, using wherever possible a subject or vocational focus. This has important implications both within English lessons and across the curriculum. • Within their specialist English lessons, learners need opportunities to apply their skills to a range of real and realistic topics, relevant to life and work. The topics should be plainly relevant to learners, appealing to them by being motivating, interesting and realistic. English teaching should reveal how English is used in life, enabling learners to gain experience of the breadth of applications of the subject. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 16 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 1. Introduction • In their wider programmes, learners need appropriate support as they apply the skills of functional English in their subject or vocational area. On a GCSE programme, this might involve practising making a presentation or writing a report in another subject. On a work-based or work-related programme, this might include taking part in real or realistic team meetings, or researching a range of suppliers. This calls for collaborative working. In particular: • specialists and non-specialists will need to work together at the planning stage so that they are aware when each other will be tackling work relevant to functional English • specialists may need to brief and support non-specialists so that they can in turn support learners as they practise and apply their English skills. There should also be opportunities to link functional English with other functional skills (mathematics and ICT) and with other parts of the curriculum such as citizenship, enterprise or work-related learning. The implications for teaching and learning the features of functional English described above are significant, and will need to be introduced gradually and thoughtfully, but they do not threaten aspects of existing good practice. This resource sets out some of the ways in which making adjustments to help learners become more functional with English is supported by existing practices including: • learning through application • learner-centred approaches • active learning • partnership learning • assessment for learning. In doing this you will be building on the best of key skills, Skills for Life and GCSE teaching. This means that you may encounter approaches in this material that you have met before. We have written the material so that you can choose those parts that are most relevant to you. 1.4 How to read the standards The standards for functional English are set out in a single document, published by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) that covers the levels from Entry 1 to Level 2. After a brief introduction, the document sets out the standards in two sections. The document begins with a short ‘Introduction to English’ followed by a discussion of level differentiation. The main body of the document then sets out the three components: • Speaking and listening • Reading • Writing © Crown copyright 2008 Page 17 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 1. Introduction At the beginning of each of these components, there is a short explanatory note. It is well worth reading these introductory sections to gain a clear vision of the progression across the levels in general terms, before going on to look at the specifics of the standards. The standards themselves are laid out in grid form with: • level • skill standard – this is the crucial statement and should be the overall focus of teaching and learning • coverage and range – these indicate the technical demand of the English skills and techniques that are likely to be used by learners performing at that level. Note that, in interpreting the coverage/range statements, learners at a specific level should be able to do everything expected by the lower levels as well. As an example, here is the Level 2 speaking and listening component from the standards: Level 2 (Speaking and listening) Level Skill standard Coverage and range Level Make a range of contributions • listen to complex information and give a 2 to discussions and make relevant, cogent response in effective presentations in a appropriate language wide range of contexts. • present information and ideas clearly and persuasively to others • adapt contributions in discussions to suit audience, purpose and situation • make significant contributions to discussions, taking a range of roles and helping to move discussion forward to reach decisions in a wide range of contexts, including those that involve others who are unfamiliar You can follow progression through from Entry levels to Level 2 in any one component (eg reading) or alternatively, follow through the requirements for a particular level across all three components. Note that the standards do not say how functional English will be assessed, nor do they give examples of how it should be developed or taught. The standards are designed to be context- and assessment-free. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 18 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 1. Introduction 1.5 Progression through the levels Functional English standards have been issued for the first three levels of the National Qualifications Framework – Entry level, Level 1 and Level 2. As usual, Entry level is subdivided into Entry 1, Entry 2 and Entry 3 to reflect the importance of small incremental steps in learning for learners at these levels. For ease of reference, Entry 1 is comparable in demand with National Curriculum level 1, Entry 2 with National Curriculum level 2 and Entry 3 with National Curriculum level 3. Level 1 is comparable with GCSE grades D-G and Level 2 is comparable with GCSE grades A-C. The level of functional English – as with the other functional skills – is determined by a combination of: • the complexity of the situation • the familiarity to the learner of the situation • the technical demand of the skill required • the independence of the learner in identifying and selecting the skills they will need, and in tackling the situation. So, for example, the skill standard for speaking and listening at Entry 1 asks for ‘simple discussions/exchanges’ (complexity) and ‘familiar topics’ (familiarity). The skill standard in full is: Participate in and understand the main points of simple discussions/exchanges about familiar topics with another person in a familiar situation. By contrast, the skill standard for speaking and listening at Level 2 asks for ‘a range of contributions to discussions’ (complexity) and ‘a wide range of contexts’ (familiarity). The skill standard in full is: Make a range of contributions to discussions and make effective presentations in a wide range of contexts. It is of course important to bear in mind that progression is not linear but happens at different rates in different areas. Within this resource, each section will examine what is required for each component at each level and help to show detailed progression between levels. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 19 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 1. Introduction Walsall College: Functional English and Adult Literacy One of the groups involved in the functional skills pilot at Walsall College is working towards Adult Literacy at Level 1. The group includes a mixture of skills and abilities. Some progressed from Entry 3 in February 2008 and are working towards Level 1. Some have been studying Level 1 since September 2008. Others are new to the college and started the course in the second semester. For some learners, English is not their first language and they are developing their English skills alongside various vocational courses. Currently, the Literacy assessment is of reading, so the course is primarily focused on developing reading skills with writing, speaking and listening integrated. These learners are working towards completing Level 1 functional English. No coursework is required for Adult Literacy, so the changes have come from how the session is taught and the activities the learners are completing. Previously, the activities focused more on developing reading skills with a lot of comprehension activities and a large amount of discussion taking place to feed back and assess learning. However, the functional skills assessment requires learners to put their opinions in writing rather than discussion. Therefore, tutors are now developing resources that include more activities that require learners to provide written documentation to show understanding of texts, giving opinions and using texts to support their opinions. More real-life texts are also being incorporated in the Literacy course to ensure that the learners develop a wide range of knowledge about social issues affecting the world. This is important as the texts and questions used in the functional English assessment are all based on current issues; for example, the trial assessment was based on the recent smoking ban in public places. The speaking and listening assessments required additional time to be spent on developing these skills, but this paid off in the assessment results. Since then, many real-life, relevant situations have been devised for discussion; these will develop learners’ ability until mastery is achieved in their speaking and listening skills. The development of writing, speaking and listening skills will become of equal importance to reading in the Literacy course. The teaching and learning of speaking and listening skills will become explicit, with numerous opportunities to take part in real and relevant situations to develop and practise these. In 2008/09, functional English Level 1 will continue to be undertaken, with another group working towards Level 2. Level 1 functional mathematics will also be included. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 20 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 2. Speaking and listening 2. Speaking and listening Contents 2.1 Introduction ƒ Speaking and listening in functional English ƒ Progression through the levels ƒ Using this section 2.2 Starting points 2.3 Awareness of audience 2.4 Speaking ƒ Practising speaking one-to-one ƒ Asking questions 2.5 Discussions ƒ Group size, composition and layout ƒ Productive group talk behaviour ƒ Moving discussion on ƒ Persuasive speech 2.6 Listening ƒ Active listening ƒ Taking oral messages 2.7 Non-verbal communication ƒ Vocal signals ƒ Body language ƒ Personal presentation ƒ Assertiveness 2.8 Presentations ƒ Planning a presentation © Crown copyright 2008 Page 21 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 2. Speaking and listening 2.1 Introduction Speaking and listening in functional English Speaking and listening is a vital tool for learning and provides a solid foundation for developing interpersonal skills. It is fundamental to all curriculum areas and contexts and to every aspect of study, work and life. People with good oral communication skills: • have more productive relationships with other people • are able to obtain the information they need from organisations and individuals they have to deal with • can explain things clearly and make a case for themselves • can relate well to peers and colleagues • are more successful in their careers • have a reduced risk of experiencing conflict and aggression from others. Oral communication is one of the most highly valued skills by employers. The National Employers Skills Survey from LSC showed that several key areas in which employees were seen as lacking all require good communication skills: • customer handling (38%) • oral communication (35%) • team working (34%) • problem solving (34%). Source: National Employers Skills Survey 2005: Key findings (LSC, 2006) Teaching functional speaking and listening Teaching of speaking and listening has been described as the ‘Cinderella’ of English. Although it is one of the three attainment targets for the National Curriculum, Ofsted reports that: ‘Too little attention has been given to teaching the full National Curriculum programme of study for speaking and listening and the range of contexts provided for speaking and listening remains too limited.’ It also states: ‘It is rare to find that pupils have targets for speaking and listening, although there are many for whom this is the main obstacle to achievement.’ English 2000-2005: A review of inspection evidence (Ofsted, 2005) Speaking and listening is also a component of the adult literacy standards and the Communication key skill and, again, evidence suggests that teaching content is often limited to presentations and formal discussion. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 22 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 2. Speaking and listening All this suggests the need for more explicit teaching of speaking and listening skills and this section contains a range of practical suggestions for doing this. These activities can be useful both within English and across the wider curriculum. Progression through the levels In the functional English standards for speaking and listening, the people/ audiences with whom learners engage, the complexity of topics and the range of contexts are the main indicators of progression through the levels. The following table shows the skills standards for speaking and listening at each level. Entry 1 Participate in and understand the main points of simple discussions/exchanges about familiar topics with another person in a familiar situation Entry 2 Participate in discussions/exchanges about familiar topics, making active contributions with one or more people in familiar situations Entry 3 Respond appropriately to others and make more extended contributions in familiar formal and informal discussions/exchanges Take full part in formal and informal discussions/ Level 1 exchanges Level 2 Make a range of contributions to discussions and make effective presentations in a wide range of contexts As is clear from the table above, all levels involve: • listening to and understanding the main points in discussions and exchanges • responding appropriately • speaking so that others can hear and understand • expressing statements, opinions or information clearly. However, by Level 2 it is also expected that learners ‘make effective presentations’. Using this section The resource for teaching speaking and listening is present everywhere – in everyday speech. The approach in this section focuses on explicit teaching about spoken language, using learners’ and others’ own talk as the basis for reflection and analysis: © Crown copyright 2008 Page 23 of 130 Functional Skills Support Programme Teaching a nd learning functional English: 2. Speaking and listening • Experience – learners actively participate in an activity that involves them in an aspect of speaking and/or listening using real and simulated situations • Reflection – learners reflect on the experience and there is a clear and explicit focus on specific aspects of speaking and/or listening • Learning – as a result of the experience and the reflection, learners have increased self-awareness and can plan how they might improve their speaking and/or listening skills. It is not easy to divide speaking and listening skills into discrete categories because we use a combination of skills when we talk and listen. However, teaching does need to target specific skills and give learners opportunities to develop and practise them. Many of the teaching strategies for speaking and listening are appropriate for different levels of learner. What will change at each level are learners’ responses and the complexity of the situation and exchanges they are engaged with. The themes in this section have been selected to cover the range of skills involved. They are: • Starting points – raising learners’ awareness of the skills of speaking and listening, recognising personal skills and setting targets • Awareness of audience – learners thinking about how they come across to other people and considering the listener’s needs • Speaking and Discussion – successfully dealing with one-to-one and group discussions and exchanges • Listening – from following simple instructions to active and reflective listening • Non-verbal communication – the powerful messages this adds to all oral communication • Presentations – planning and giving a presentation. 2.2 Starting points All learners will have an established spoken language and unique strengths and weaknesses. They are unlikely to be explicitly aware of these or the specific skills of effective oral communication. This makes it difficult for them to set targets for improvement. In addition, most oral communication is likely to involve a range of skills and behaviours. A single exchange could, for example, involve active listening, giving information, speaking clearly, showing empathy, asking questions, using persuasive language… and probably more. © Crown copyright 2008 Page 24 of 130

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