The Current Situation Of English Language Teaching


02 Nov 2017

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Yang Ting

School of Foreign Languages, CWNU, Nanchong, China, 637002

Abstract: Nowadays English is one of the most widely used languages in the world, the ultimate purpose of learning English is for communication. Therefore, in the process of English language teaching, it is particularly important for teachers to develop students’ listening and speaking skills. This paper, according to the current situation that most students pay more attention to the written examination and as a result their English listening and speaking ability are relatively poor, puts forward some specific methods in order to improve students’ English listening and speaking ability by using English listening and speaking skills.

Key words: English language teaching; listening and speaking skills; develop

English as a basic communication tool in modern society, its importance has been identified by the whole society. Nevertheless, it is remain the difficult point in English learning on how to learn English, and especially how to improve students' English listening and speaking skills. This requires teachers and students to get rid of the bondage of the old teaching model, actively cooperate with each other and effectively improve students’ English communicative competence.


To develop students' listening and speaking ability is one of the most important purposes in English language teaching, because the language at first is a verbal language, and the spoken language is in the first place. The written language is the record of spoken language, and the written language is in the second place. In other words, listening is the communicative ability of understanding and absorbing the verbal information, and speaking is the communicative ability of verbal expression and transmitting information. The speaking ability can be cultivated and improved on the basic of listening. The cultivation of listening and speaking ability can contribute to consolidate the learned language knowledge and improve the reading and writing ability. Therefore, English language teaching should pay special attention to the listening and speaking training and the development of speaking ability.

The current situation of English language teaching

As with Chinese, English language ability is the formation of four basic skills---- listening, speaking, reading and writing. The improvement of language skills is a process from low to high and a transition from the shallower to the deeper. The improvement of listening, speaking, reading and writing embodies that process specially. Therefore, the lower stage of English should focus on the fundamental training of listening and speaking skills. However, our current English language teaching tends to start with words and grammar by explaining it in Chinese, which leads to students neither understand nor speak English. Our current English language teaching, to a great extent, has educated lots of students with "deafmutism".

The existing problems in developing students’ listening and speaking skills

The purpose of English language teaching is to develop students' ability in order to get richer knowledge through English. The link of listening and speaking in English language teaching is easily neglected by teachers. Parts of teachers focus more on the explanation, and students focus more on memory. Although this teaching mode has the advantage of passing on a lot of knowledge, spending less time and so on, its single teaching mode still hinders the cultivation of the students’ listening and speaking skills and restricts the improvement and development of the students’ listening and speaking skills. For a long time, most of the rural middle school students are learning the "deaf-mute" English. They can only answer questions and memorize grammar, and their communication with others is almost blank. Most of those students are so-called "high scores and low abilities", they cannot apply English into practice, and at the same time their comprehension of English is also very low. With the deepening of the new curriculum reform and the widely use of go for it, which to a great extent restricts the further improvement of the middle school’s English language teaching level. Therefore, how to develop the students' listening and speaking skills is an urgent problem in middle school’s English language teaching.

The purpose and significance of developing students’ listening and speaking skills

The English pedagogy experts generally believe that in foreign language teaching, the development of listening, speaking, reading and writing can conduct at the same time, but the cultivation of student's listening and speaking skills can never be neglected. English is a sound language, as well as any other languages, it is used as a tool to spread and exchange ideas, and its main purpose is for communication. Through the communication, we can learn more knowledge, get more information, and promote to know each other. If we do not make full use of various teaching to create a good language environment for students, students can only learn the "dumb English". Ignoring the cultivation of listening can make students produce the language barrier, it will be difficult for them to use English and finally let the practical application of English cannot bring into play. Therefore, developing the students' listening and speaking skills has an extremely important role in English language teaching. I think we can from the following aspects to develop the students' listening and speaking skills.

Approaches to develop students’ listening and speaking skills

The most important function of language is for communication and communication is mainly achieved by listening and speaking. As a language subject, the listening and speaking ability is especially important for English learning. Nowadays more and more students pay more attention to the written examination and as a result their English listening and speaking ability are relatively poor, so they can not achieve the purpose of communication. In order to change this current situation, teachers need to make a good job on the curriculum design to develop students’ English listening and speaking skills.

The creation of interesting situations

Interest is the best teacher to mobilize students' learning initiative. And creating situation is an effective way to stimulate students’ interest in learning. The New Curriculum Standard advocates the establishment of activities based on the English classroom teaching, let students, under the guidance of teachers, through visual perception, experience, practice, participation, cooperation and so on, realize the entertainment in English, and students will be keenly aware of the enjoyment of learning English, so as to let students form a positive learning attitude and at the same time improve their listening and speaking ability. Creating interesting situations in English language teaching, through the establishment of a pleasant learning atmosphere, can stimulate students’ desire to seek knowledge, play the dominant role of students and promote students to learn independently, develop autonomously and think freely.


Middle school students have a strong sense of curiosity, guessing riddles can arouse their keen interest, and most of the students will actively participate in it. Take the simple future tense’s teaching---- be going to for example, and the half-covered pictures can be used to let students guess.

T: What am I going to do at the weekend?

S1: Are you going to have a piano lesson?

S2: Are you going to have a picnic?

S3: I think you are going to go shopping.  

Then teacher can let students guess further:

What is Daming going to do tomorrow? What about Lingling?

In this way, students always put up their hands actively and compete to answers.


Games can increase students' learning pleasure, and make the class interesting. For example, when I taught students to learn some adjectives and adjectives opposites---- difficult, easy, smooth, rough, heavy, light, comfortable, uncomfortable, etc. I asked every student to take part in the game "driving a train". Students needed to answer the adjectives opposites fluently and accurately and at the same time they also needed to set a question for the next one. If someone fails to answer it, then he or she had to perform at the rostrum. In this way, students will be very careful to listen and also speak loudly.


Students love stories, especially attractive stories. Combining teaching content with stories will certainly achieve a better effect on listening and speaking. Such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, through the beginning of the fairy tale, teachers can ask students to display their imagination and continue to write a simple and interesting story. Students will be very interested in it and participate actively in the activities of listening and speaking.

Teaching is not fixed, and teaching has methods. In the teaching process, according to different content, teachers can also use cartoons, songs, chant, rhyme, listening tests, speech contests, role-play and so on. All the various ways can arouse students' interest in learning and increase students’ learning pleasure. Let all the students enjoy performing on the big stage of the classroom will greatly improve students' listening and speaking skills.

Attention to teaching details

The teaching details are the every small detail in teaching. And the classroom teaching is composed of every teaching detail, it may be the help when students have difficulties, the direction when students get confused and the encouragement when students failed, it may also be the share of success, the praise of correctness and the tolerate of errors. Focusing on teaching details is to pay more attention to the students’ learning.

Since the implementation of the new curriculum, many new ideas, new thinking and new ways are making people refreshing. But the new ideas should not merely stay in words, they should be turned into action, run through the details, and reflect in the specific. For example, when I taught the phrase "look forward to", a student said: "I'm looking forward to traveling around the world." While a boy whispered: "you have so much money? Nice try!" Although the sound was not loud, everyone heard that. At that time, I was very unhappy, but on second thought, life is reality. In a sudden I had a light bulb moment, why not assume? Then I walked to the front of the student, and said: "If you have a lot of money, what are you looking forward to?" At that time, the students had lively discussion with everyone. I was very glad that students’ enthusiasm rising again and that boy also involved into the activities of listening and speaking. The magical effect of the accident, not only broke through the teaching difficulty, but also added a new idea for teaching.

Foothold on students

When students start to get in touch with English, they tend to have the burning curiosity and a strong sense of freshness, so at this moment they are very interested in learning English. Teachers should be good at grasping the curious psychology of students, taking full advantage of all kinds of favorable conditions to mobilize students’ enthusiasm of learning English, and gradually cultivating students’ habit to be willing to listen and speak English. All in all, it is especially critical for teachers to develop students’ listening and speaking skills in English language teaching. As long as under the correct guidance and help of teachers, students will be able to overcome the psychological pressure and understand the inherent laws of improving listening and speaking skills, so as to develop their English listening and speaking skills.

Ways of listening

In classroom teaching, teachers should consciously cultivate students' good listening habits. First of all, teachers should cultivate students to listen carefully to the teacher's pronunciation. In class, students should pay attention to teachers’ demonstrated pronunciation---- mouth, places of articulation, manners of articulation, etc. and this process needs students to listen and see intently without any careless, especially the pronunciation of those difficult words, such as technology, smooth, calculator, etc. At the same time, teachers should use simple English as much as possible to organize the classroom teaching, teachers can also use body languages to explain those difficult understanding parts. Little by little, students can understand more and more, and their listening habits will be invisibly got cultivated.

Secondly, the principal part of the classroom is students, the platform of students learning. In addition to the teacher's voice, there are many presentations of the students. Some classmates have weak willpower, when they make their statement---- some students are absent-minded or they simply can not concentrate on listening, some students only pay attention to teachers’ statement without caring about students’ presentations, they thought that has nothing to do with themselves. All those are wrong ideas and behaviors, in fact it is a good time to listen attentively to when students answer questions actively and are eager to speak English. Only a mass of different voice get input can gradually improve students listening skills.

In addition, it also needs students to listen to the tape more. Pronunciation, speed, intonation, pause, etc are all the content of listening. If students can handle those aspects, they will be able to speak out Standard English. In the classroom, teachers should arouse students’ enthusiasm to listen to the tape, and let the part of "listen to the tape" becomes an important part of learning English. However, if the only task is listening, the effect may be not good. Thus before listening to the tape, teachers should put forward specific requirements, such as hear clearly about the vocabulary, intonation, perceive the whole listening task and let students provide feedback according to the listening content. Requirements can be proposed from easy to difficult, step by step. Listening to the tape more, in class, after-class or on weekend can set homework appropriately. Sticking with the habit that listen to the tape fifteen to twenty minutes for everyday, if things continue this way, listening will be naturally get improved.

Ways of expression

In the English classroom teaching, teachers should build the platform for expression skillfully, let students fully participate in the listening and speaking activities. Creating or simulating a certain scene, guiding the students in real or simulated situations to better understand the passing information and language materials, let the students touch the scenery to excite the emotions and inspire their desire for expression, so as to promote students quickly to master and put to use English. For instance, when I taught the "shopping" module, I let some students act as customers, and some students act as assistants. There were a wide variety of products (substituted by pieces of cards with pictures) at the shop assistants. In this way, students will soon enter the scene, in a relaxed and happy learning atmosphere, develop their English conversations. This teaching method fully reflects the students' dominant position, let the students speak English, it not only cultivate students’ ability of expression by using English, but also develop their ability of thinking.

Ways of cooperation

In the process of cooperative learning, students have the opportunity to discuss with each other, to communicate effectively, to have more exchanges and to deepen their understanding of language knowledge, at the same time it also develops their listening and speaking skills.

For example, when I taught "food and drinks", I asked different groups to discuss food and drinks through "which are healthy" and "which are unhealthy", etc. Then I put those students who had the same opinions together and let them develop their group discussion. That design not only enables them to master the language knowledge, but also activates their innovation capacity through cooperative learning, and at the same time improves their English listening and speaking ability.

Ways of evaluation

In the process of developing students' listening and speaking skills, teachers should often use praise words, satisfied smiles, favorable express in the eyes, default nods to encourage students, in order to let students feel the high regard and concerns from the teacher and motivate them to express themselves boldly so as to experience the joy of success. For instance, when students finish their answers, teachers can frequently use such as encourages--- Good! Very good! Great! How clever you are! Well done! Once students hear that voice of affirmation and praise, they would be filled with joy, and their cerebral cortex will be in a state of excitement and active, in this way their enthusiasm for learning will be greatly improved. When students use the wrong expressions, do not rush to criticize them or directly say "No. Wrong." What teachers should do is to pay attention to protect students’ willingness to dare to think and say, as long as they can stand up and speak English, they all deserve to get affirmation and praise. That teaching method can mobilize their enthusiasm, inspire and maintain their interest in speaking English, so that they can actively, consciously, happily and boldly participate in spoken English practice, and enjoy the taste of success.


The function of language is for communication. The purpose of language teaching is to teach students to use the language. As a result, the English class should be the skill class and the practice class, only students have formed the learning motivation by using English to transmit information and exchange emotions, can they generate strong interest in learning, thus greatly promote the learning. In English class, we should use a variety of teaching methods to develop students’ English listening and speaking skills.

All in all, the develop of middle school students’ good listening and speaking skills is not an overnight training could achieve, it is a long-term, arduous and gradual process. In order to improve students' English level and cultivate their interest in participation of listening and speaking and let every student has a good quality, as English teachers, we should be constantly looking for new teaching methods and means to improve students’ learning, and let them be truly "learn in joy and joy in learning". It not only needs English teachers in ongoing efforts to find ways to provide students with more listening and speaking training opportunity, but also requires students to adhere to speak and listen, society and family’s close coordination to create students a good environment to listen and speak.


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