How to improve English and Communication skills

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NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES COURSE CODE: GST 101 COURSE TITLE: USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATIONS SKILLS I GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I COURSE GUIDE GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I Course Team- Prof. I. A. Olaofe ( Course Developer/Writer) - ABU Dr. I. Akaneme (Course Coordinator)- UNN NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA 180 National Open University of Nigeria Headquarters 14/16 Ahmadu Bello Way Victoria Island, Lagos Abuja Office 5 Dar es Salaam Street Off Aminu Kano Crescent Wuse II, Abuja e-mail: centralinfonou.edu.ng URL: www.nou.edu.ng Published by National Open University of Nigeria Printed 2004 Reprinted 2014 ISBN: 978-058-108-1 All Rights Reserved GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I CONTENTS PAGE Introduction …………………………………………………. iv What you will Learn in this Course …………………………. iv Course Aims …………………………………………………. iv Course Objectives ……………………………………………. iv Working through this Course ………………………………... v Course Materials …………………………………………….. v Study Units ………………………………………………….. vi Textbooks and References …………………………………... vii Assignment File ……………………………………………… vii Assessment …………………………………………………… vii Tutor-Marked Assignment…………………………………… vii Final Examination and Grading ……………………………… vii Course Marking Scheme …………………………………….. viii Facilitators/Tutors and Tutorials ……………………………. viii Summary …………………………………………………….. viii 182 INTRODUCTION Welcome to GST 101- Use of English and Communication Skills I. I can assure you will enjoy studying the course. This course guide is a general overview of the course. It provides you with useful information about the structure of the course. GST101- Use of English and Communication Skills I is a two-credit unit course meant to be taken in the first semester, at the 100 level. The course is available to all students who have registered for any programme at National Open University of Nigeria. It is the first part of the four credit unit courses planned for an entire year. The second course which is GST102 will be taught in the second semester. The materials have been developed to suit the distance learning mode. WHAT YOU WILL LEARN IN THIS COURSE GST 101 will enable you to gain understanding on variety of issues relating to effective communication/study skills. COURSE AIMS GST 101 has specific aim which relates to giving you an understanding of how to communicate effectively in English- which is the medium of instruction at this level of your education. The aim will be achieved by:  introducing you to the basic principles of communicating in English  demonstrating how the principles of communicating in English can be applied to language use in diverse situations  sensitising you to the rules of English and applying these rules in diverse areas where the language is used  increasing your proficiency in the language, substantially, so as to make you capable of performing language functions in social and academic settings. COURSE OBJECTIVES To achieve the aims set out above, GST101 sets overall objectives. In addition, each unit also has specific objectives. The unit objectives are always included at the beginning of every unit. I advise you to read them before you start working through the unit. You may want to refer to them during your study of the unit to check your progress. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I Set out below are the wider objectives for the course, as a whole. By meeting the objectives, you can count yourself as having met the aim of the course. On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:  use the listening enabling skills  listen and comprehend lectures and talks  take down notes, while listening to a talk or lecture  retrieve general and specific information through listening comprehension  state how to listen to and comprehend data, figures, diagrams and charts  listen for main idea  listen and be able to interpret and evaluate speaker's view points  apply effective reading techniques to reading in diverse texts  skim and scan through diverse reading texts  read and comprehend at varying speed levels  discuss how to read for vocabulary development  acquire and utilise vocabulary of various academic fields  explain how to comprehend diverse text materials  describe how to read and comprehend texts with tables  explain how to read and comprehend scientific texts  interpret what is read accurately and evaluate author's viewpoints. WORKING THROUGH THIS COURSE To complete the course, you are required to read the study units and read sets of books and other relevant materials that you may lay your hands on. You will also need to undertake practical exercises for which you need a pen, a pencil, a notebook, and other materials that will be listed later in this course guide. At the end of each unit, you will be required to submit written assignments for assessment purposes. At the end of the course, there will be a final examination. The course should take about 15 weeks. COURSE MATERIALS The major materials you will need for this course are listed below. 1. Course guide 2. Study Units 3. A CD recorder/player of your own 4. Audio CDs that will be packaged in your study pack 5. Video CDs that will be made available at your study centre 6. Assignment file 184 7. Relevant textbooks 8. Presentation schedule STUDY UNITS There are 20 units (of four modules) in this course. These are listed below. Module 1 Unit 1 Listening Enabling Skills Unit 2 Listening and Comprehending Unit 3 Listening -Comprehension and Note Taking Unit 4 Listening-Comprehension and Information Retrieval: General Unit 5 Listening-Comprehension and Information Retrieval: Data, Figures, Diagrams and Charts Module 2 Unit 1 Listening for the Main Idea Unit 2 Listening for Interpretation and Critical Evaluation Unit 3 Effective Reading Unit 4 Skimming and Scanning Unit 5 Reading and Comprehending at Varying Speed Levels I Module 3 Unit 1 Reading and Comprehending at Varying Speed Levels II Unit 2 Reading for Vocabulary Development I Unit 3 Reading for Vocabulary Development II Unit 4 Reading for Vocabulary Development in Various Academic Contexts I Unit 5 Reading for Vocabulary Development in Various Academic Contexts II Module 4 Unit 1 Reading Diverse Texts: Narratives Unit 2 Reading Diverse Texts: Expository Texts Unit 3 Reading and Comprehending Passages with Tables Unit 4 Reading Scientific Texts Unit 5 Reading for Interpretation and Critical Evaluation The units are divided basically into the following language skills- listening, reading and vocabulary developmental skills. The treatment of other skills is to come up in the second semester. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I TEXTBOOKS AND REFERENCES At the end of every unit, you will find a list of books and other such materials that will enable you have a firm grasp of the course. The books required to aid your understanding of this course are by no means exhaustive here. You are, therefore, expected to consult as many materials as possible. This will enable you to deepen your understanding of the course. THE PRESENTATION SCHEDULE The dates for submission of all assignments will be communicated to you in due course. To be communicated to you are dates of completing the study units and dates for examinations. THE ASSESSMENT FILE The assessment file will be made available to you. In this file, you will find details of the work you must submit to your tutor for marking. The marks you obtain in this course will count towards your final marks. ASSESSMENT The course has two types of exercises or questions you are expected to tackle. The first is the Self-Assessment Exercises (SAEs) which you are expected to solve, but not to be submitted, at the end of the study. The second is the Tutor-Marked Assignment (TMAs) which you must solve and submit in an assignment file, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the successful completion of the course. The TMA accounts for 30% of your total score for the course. Every unit has a Tutor-Marked Assignment, which is a compulsory question that must be answered and submitted at the end of the course. You will minimise your chance of doing well in the course if you fail to submit answers to all the Tutor-Marked Assignments, as required. FINAL EXAMINATION AND GRADING The final examination for GST 101 will take certain duration. The examination itself will carry 70%. It will consist of questions that reflect the self-assessment exercises, as well as the tutor-marked assignments. You are expected to spend quality time to read the entire course units and all the SAEs and TMAs for the final examination. 186 COURSE MARKING SCHEME The table below shows how actual course marking scheme is broken down. Table 1: Course Marking Scheme Assessments Marks Assignments These will count as 30% of course mark. Final examination 70% of overall course mark Total 100% of course marks FACILITATORS/TUTORS AND TUTORIALS A number of tutorial hours have been provided for in this course to enable the students and their tutors to meet and examine the contents of the course at intervals. You will be informed of the dates, time, and venue for these tutorials, along with the name and particulars of your tutor as soon as one is assigned to your group. Your tutor will grade and comment on your assignments, monitor your progress and provide answers to your questions during tutorials. You must submit your assignments in good time to enable your tutor to read them well and to make appropriate comments. Do not play with your tutorials or hesitate to consult your tutor when the need arises. Tutorials afford you opportunity to meet and discuss with your tutor face to face and they help you to get immediate answers for troubling questions. Apart from tutorials, you may consult your tutor when:  you do not understand any part of the study units  you have difficulty understanding self-assessment exercises or tutor-marked assignment  When you have problems with the tutor’s comments on your assignments or their grading. To gain maximally from the tutorials, you ought to prepare list of questions before attending them and you must endeavour to participate, actively, in discussions during tutorials. SUMMARY The course guide has been able to expose you to an overview of what to expect in GST101- Use of English and Communication Skills I. I wish you success as you go through the course. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I MAIN COURSE CONTENTS PAGE Module 1………………………………………………… 1 Unit 1 Listening Enabling Skills………………… 1 Unit 2 Listening and Comprehending…………… 8 Unit 3 Listening -Comprehension and Note Taking………………………………... 19 Unit 4 Listening-Comprehension and Information Retrieval: General…………... 34 Unit 5 Listening-Comprehension and Information Retrieval: Data, Figures, Diagrams and Charts…………….. 52 Module 2…………………………………………………. 67 Unit 1 Listening for the Main Idea……………….. 67 Unit 2 Listening for Interpretation and Critical Evaluation………………………… 81 Unit 3 Effective Reading…………………………. 90 Unit 4 Skimming and Scanning…………………… 101 Unit 5 Reading and Comprehending at Varying Speed Levels I……………………. 112 Module 3…………………………………………………. 124 Unit 1 Reading and Comprehending at Varying Speed Levels II…………………… 124 Unit 2 Reading for Vocabulary Development Part I………………………… 137 Unit 3 Reading for Vocabulary Development Part II………………………… 152 Unit 4 Reading for Vocabulary Development in Various Academic Contexts Part I………… 163 Unit 5 Reading for Vocabulary Development in Various Academic Contexts Part II…….. 172 188 Module 4…………………………………………………… 179 Unit 1 Reading Diverse Texts: Narratives…………. 179 Unit 2 Reading Diverse Texts: Expository Texts….. 191 Unit 3 Reading and Comprehending Passages with Tables…………………………………… 201 Unit 4 Reading Scientific Texts…………………….. 212 Unit 5 Reading for Interpretation and Critical Evaluation…………………………………… 225 GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I MODULE 1 Unit 1 Listening Enabling Skills Unit 2 Listening and Comprehending Unit 3 Listening-Comprehension and Note Taking Unit 4 Listening-Comprehension and Information Retrieval: General Unit 5 Listening-Comprehension and Information Retrieval: Data, Figures, Diagrams and Charts UNIT 1 LISTENING ENABLING SKILLS CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction 2.0 Objectives 3.0 Main Content 3.1 Who is a Listener? 3.2 Why Must We Listen? 3.3 Listening Enabling Skills 4.0 Conclusion 5.0 Summary 6.0 Tutor-Marked Assignment 7.0 References/Further Reading 1.0 INTRODUCTION You are welcome to this unit entitled Listening Enabling Skills. In this unit, you will be exposed to who a learner is, why the learner must listen and what he or she should listen to. The listening enabling skills that you need to function effectively in the programmes you enrolled in will then be unfolded to you. As you go through this unit; have with you a pen, a paper, a tape recorder and the CD sent to you in the study pack. 2.0 OBJECTIVES At the end of this unit, you should be able to:  state clearly who a listener is  determine the reason you must listen throughout the programme  list the listening enabling skills  apply the listening enabling skills discussed while practising some of the activities given in the unit. 190 3.0 MAIN CONTENT 3.1 Who is a Listener? I have a simple answer for this question. You are that listener. You are a listener because listening is a compulsory day to day activity of the programme. Although, most of the time you will be reading; there will be occasions when you have to listen to a tape recorder, radio, television or video in this programme. You are likely going to attend lectures and meetings in the study centre. You need the skill of listening accurately and to comprehend what is conveyed to you as information. That is why you need to go through this unit, carefully. As a listener, I cannot determine where you are now, studying this unit; it maybe in your home, your work place, an isolated place or even inside a vehicle taking you to a destination. Wherever you may be, there is something important about listening. We listen daily, moment by moment. SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE i. Who is a listener? ii. What do you listen to? If you have done the above self-assessment exercise very well, you probably must have written down answers such as that indicated below. A listener is anybody who is capable of listening to anything said, and possibly, participates in what he listened to and what is demanded to be done. In fact, as a reader of this unit you are a listener, although it is possible for you to be deaf and be doing this course. Even If you are deaf, you still listen to sign language. What do you listen to? You can listen to a tape recorder, a video, or a lecture. Did you get all the answers correctly? If you did, then fine. It means that you are following me in this study. Let us go to the second part of our study. Can you guess the next thing to discuss? Your guess may be as good as mine: why must we all listen? 3.2 Why Must We Listen? You as a listener must listen because listening is a day to day activity. You listen to your friends talking, may be in your language or English. You listen to directions when you are lost or new to a place. You listen to lectures, which are delivered by specialists in a field. You listen at home, at work, in the office, to a telephone conversation and so on. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I Listening activities can therefore be divided into two major parts, namely- listening in general, social setting and listening for specific purposes. The kind of listening we are interested in here is listening for specific purposes. That is, listening to gather information, for directions, listening to academic lectures, to process involved in doing something, or listening to critically evaluate what a speaker is saying. Your concern in this study is also listening in English. Indeed, English is the medium of instruction. SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Which of the following is NOT the purpose of listening to gather information? Indicate with a tick (). i. Day to day activity  ii. Telephone conversation  iii. Eating a delicious food  iv. Working in the office  v. Critical evaluation of what people are saying  vi. Absorbing academic lectures.  The last part of this unit is the most important. This part deals with listening enabling skills. 3.3 Listening Enabling Skills No matter where you are, you need the following requirements for active listening:  functioning ears  concentration  ability to think along with the speaker  ability to anticipate what the speaker is about to say  ability to note important signposts that keep the listening activity going. Anybody with a functioning ear can listen. Indeed, this is the attribute common to many people. Even the deaf listen by means of signals from sign language. Of course, if you have listening defects, listening ability will be difficult. 192 SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Listen to the first passage on the CD in your study pack. Test the functioning of your ears by listening to the passage and filling the gaps indicated below. You need to listen attentively before you can complete this activity. Our aim is to analyse the 1._______that the 2.________of conflict resolution has had in coming to 3._________with conflicts between social 4.__________. We explore the 5._________between dispute 6.__________and conflict 7.__________. If you allowed your functioning ear to be active, you would have been able to fill in the gaps. Now rewind the CD to the passage to mark this exercise. Were you able to fill all the gaps correctly? Congratulations, if you did. If you could not do so, more practice activities in this module will assist you to utilise your functioning ear well. The next listening enabling skill you need is CONCENTRATION. Effective listening is difficult in the midst of interruption, when there is lack of interest in the topic, noise and when a speaker speaks above your head by using difficult words. SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Listen to the second passage on your CD. Put down in any order what made listening and understanding of the passage difficult for you. You probably may have listed some of the following as what made listening and understanding of the passage difficult for you.  The language is complex and full of difficult words  Noise coming out of the environment you are in  The uninteresting nature of the topic  Difficulty in following the speaker The point for you to note here is that concentration is an important component of effective listening. The third listening enabling skill is ability. Think along with the speaker and anticipate what the speaker is about to say. You cannot think along with the speaker if your mind goes astray. You cannot anticipate the next thing, if your attention is not there. There are some signals in listening that can facilitate anticipation. Some of these are put in the box below. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I The speaker says… You anticipate… First of all… Secondly In the past… Now… Areas of strength… Areas of weakness The most important… The less important… Indeed, ability to anticipate can assist you in good listening. The fourth listening enabling skill is relationship. That is, your ability to relate or connect what was said before with what the speaker is saying now. Relationship comes into listening when expressions such as “as I said before”, “on the one hand”, “consequently”, “in other words”, etc., are said by the speaker. Lastly, ability to pay attention to significant sign posts such as “firstly”, “secondly”, “lastly”, “now”, “next”, “where”, “when”, “who”, and so on, is an important listening enabling skill. These signs tell you the important points that the speaker is making. SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Listen to the third passage on your tape recorder and perform the following activities. Fill in the gaps as you listen to the passage. 1. ____________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________ 4. ____________________________________________________ Passage for self-assessment exercise (to be recorded on a CD) Passage 1.1 Our aim here is to analyse the difficulty the field of conflict resolution has had in coming to terms with conflicts between social classes. We explore the distinction between dispute settlement and conflict resolution Passage 1.2 (To be recorded on a cassette) The areas covered include generic theory and practice, concepts and aspects of resolution process, and the practice at different levels, the relevance of theory to the practitioner, and applications of the various contributions to South-Africa. Class, intercultural, public policy, environmental and international recession and possession all featured prominently in the discussions. 194 Passage 1.3 (To be recorded on a CD) Listen to what I have said before, relate it to what I am saying now and anticipate what I am about to say. Write down what you predict I am going to say next. 1. You can hardly say you know something until you can do it. This takes quite a bit of practice. Furthermore learning is an active rather than 1._____________ 2. You must understand first before you can learn well. It means therefore that if you are listening t lecture, the first thing you should do is to strive for 2._____ 3. Many students think it is a waste of time to leave their books and go to the field, swimming pool courts. This is absolutely 3.___________ .A good deal of mental fatigue is removed through 4.__________________. 4.0 CONCLUSION Now that you have completed the study of this unit, I think you can start to put into practice what you learnt in your day to day contact with people and in your academic pursuits. 5.0 SUMMARY In this unit, we studied who a listener is, why we must listen and the listening enabling skills of listener. As indicated in the unit, you are the listener. You listen day by day and moment by moment. The listening enabling skills you need are- functioning ears, concentration and ability to think along with the speaker and relate or connect ideas together. Anticipation and important signposts facilitate effective listening. 6.0 TUTOR-MARKED ASSIGNMENT Answer the following questions. i. Who is a listener? ii. Why do we have to listen? iii. List possible listening enabling skills that you know. iv. Listen to three important talks on your radio or TV. Briefly outline the major points of the talks. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I 7.0 REFERENCES/FURTHER READING Adkins, A. & Mckean, J. (1983). Text to Note. London: Edward Arnold. Anderson, A. & Lynch, T. (1988). Listening. Oxford: University Press. James, K., Jordan, R.R. & Matthews, A.J. (1988). Listening- Comprehension and Note-Taking Course. London: Collins ELT. Olaofe, I.A. (1991). English and Communication Skills for Academic Purposes. Zaria: Tamaza Publishing Co. Olaofe, I.A. (1993). Communicate English Skills. Zaria: Tamaza Publishing Co. Audio-Recordings of all the Passages under Listening Comprehension i.e. Module 1 (units 1-5), Module 2(units 1 – Video Recording of all the Passages under Listening – Comprehension i.e. Module 1 (units 1 – 5), Module 2 (units 1 – 5). 196 UNIT 2 LISTENING AND COMPREHENDING CONTENTS 1.0 Introduction 2.0 Objectives 3.0 Main Content 3.1 Relationship between Listening and Comprehending 3.2 Listening-Comprehension 3.3 Factors Affecting Comprehension 4.0 Conclusion 5.0 Summary 6.0 Tutor-Marked Assignment 7.0 References/Further Reading 1.0 INTRODUCTION In the previous unit, we considered who a listener is, why we have to listen and listening enabling skills. Have you seen yourself as a listener? I think you are now practising some of the enabling skills. In this unit, you are going to study the relationship between listening and comprehending. You probably are familiar with the term listening- comprehension. Indeed, listening is closely related to comprehension. Listening is useless if there is no comprehension. Get ready to study the unit. You need pen, paper and a tape recorder for the unit. The cassette in your study pack will also be used in the unit. 2.0 OBJECTIVES At the end of this unit, you should be able to:  show clearly the relationship between listening and comprehension  perform tasks on how to comprehend  state factors affecting comprehension. 3.0 MAIN CONTENT 3.1 Relationship between Listening and Comprehending Do you know the relationship between listening and comprehension? You listen to comprehend and you comprehend, while listening. This section exposes you to the relationship between listening and comprehension. GST101 USE OF ENGLISH AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS I As you listen, you must always be ready to comprehend. Comprehension is at different levels during the art of listening. Some speeches are to be comprehended, superficially, because the points are not too important. Some need proper attention because what is to be discussed is very important. Flexibility in the art of listening and comprehension is therefore very important. SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Listen to passage 2.1 titled Course Requirements casually and bring out the major points. Use the space below. The passage is about________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Since you listened to the passage with minimal comprehension, you are likely not going to put down more than the major points of the passage. May be you may be able to say that the passage is about what participants will be able to do after the completion of the media course. Nobody will expect you to say more than this in a casual listening activity. Comprehension is bound to be minimal SELF-ASSESSMENT EXERCISE Now listen to passage 2.1 again with proper attention. Pay attention to details. After the listening activity, fill in the gap below with the actual words or expressions from the passage. Participants should be able to: (a) 1._________and 2._________a wide 3.________of 4._________5._________ 6.__________ (b) Adopt a systematic 7____________to the design of training 8.____________. (c) Select appropriate 9.________of 10._________to achieve specific 11._______ 12.__________ (d) Perform basic 13.__________14.___________skills 15._________for learning 16.________recording and 17._________ 198

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