Teaching Language Skills: Basic Ideas and Techniques for Instructing Listening and Speaking


On February 28, 2021, Dr. Sara Sevinj Huseynova delivered an in-service instructor training webinar to almost 500 attendees. The webinar, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education Directorate in the Asir region and Rijal Alma on "Teaching Language Skills: Basic Ideas and Techniques for Instructing Listening and Speaking", was warmly received by local participants and attendees from around the Kingdom.


The Dean of the Faculty of Languages and Translation, Dr. Abdullah Al-Melhi, opened the webinar by underlining the effectiveness of initiating the interaction of instructors teaching the same subject in order to improve their performance. Dean Al-Melhi then introduced keynote speaker Sara Huseynova, who he pointed out as well "needs no introduction".


Vice Dean for Academic Development & Quality, Dr. Abdulrahman Almosa, related that he planned this event after receiving a request from the local Directorate of Education, underlining that it was an excellent opportunity for the Faculty of Languages and Translation to provide a unique instructor training opportunity that combines professional growth opportunity with online discussions in a very business-like manner.


Following after, Dr. Huseynova started the webinar presentation noting that languages are learned through excitement and not through fear of mistakes, and shared her knowledge on how to inspire the students for a greater attitude to learning English and the 4 basic language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. She pointed out the necessity to balance those skills and practice them according to the new tendencies in the language's instruction. "The same way languages are taught at the English Department of the FLT," she stressed.


Dr. Huseynova then started the discussion of the skills teaching general approach in applied linguistics like the focal method, content-based instruction and also, task-based approach, which is currently widely used in language instruction worldwide.


Participants were then introduced to the fact that the core principles of teaching listening and speaking with the task-based approach are generally the same even though one is receptive and the other one is productive. The principles, Dr. Huseynova said, are communicative teaching, interactive and task-based learning, learner-centered instruction, group and blended learning. According to sociolinguists, communication takes place mainly visually, and also, vocally and verbally. In the communicative approach, she added, students might successfully be engaged in interactive learning, which also involves authentic language input in real-world contexts.


The keynote speaker also emphasized the appropriateness of the textbook: the material used might well include various culture and gender-appropriate topics and interactive activities that invite students to talk and respond. Moreover, teachers need to prepare lesson plans based on the textbook; however, the general instructional line of the lesson should, by all means, involve the ideas of communicative approach in action.


Dr. Huseynova recommends that the teachers help students have proper exposure to genuine English usage. The teachers should apply both controlled and non-controlled techniques along with efficient but not overwhelming use of technology in class. The presenter mentioned real-life characteristics and difficulties of listening and speaking processes, making oral communication difficult to teach, evermore during online instruction with so much possible distraction. Overall, the lessons should be fully learner-centered with less lecturing or reduced "Teacher Talk Time", with the instructor being a role model and art director to improve student-teacher interaction.


While explaining the interactive teacher roles, the presenter focused on unlocking the students' knowledge before letting the students practice listening, which activates their schematic knowledge. Pre-listening encourages discussion around the theme of the unit with inspiration from interesting questions and striking visuals. Pre-listening may include pronunciation practice as well, which may help improve the overall listening comprehension, and post-listening activities can deepen the development of all 4 core language skills.


The keynote speaker also explained in detail the basic principles of modern teaching strategies for listening, creative and interactive teacher roles, how to encourage students to listen and talk, and assessment methods, the necessity to provide the appropriate feedback in a manner that will be well-received by the students, for the right feedback to "make the students' brains smarter, even happier."


Later, she mentioned the appropriateness of using the flipped classroom model for teaching listening and speaking, especially during online education. In the traditional classroom, a lower level of understanding happens in class. With the flipped classroom model, learning is flipped, and the students can finish the lower level of cognitive work before the lesson starts, and the teacher will continue with applying the knowledge and practicing listening and speaking skills in class. The visual flipped Maslow's pyramid on Bloom's Taxonomy was a striking explanation of the usefulness of the flipped classroom method of teaching 4 skills, particularly online during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The conclusion was that it is very important to create an effective rapport with the students and share the appropriate knowledge they need. An instructor is to praise the students in a balanced way with mild criticism while giving corrective feedback, with a genuine heart-felt attitude and desire to help the student, which shows the teacher's genuine interest in each and every student's performance and language growth. The feedback should be given tactfully so that the students are not embarrassed or anxious, by any means not to lose interest in learning English.


Dr. Huseynova guided participants through a series of strategies they can use to evaluate and improve their online instruction, after which she took numerous questions from the audience, and the discussion of those questions lasted for an additional hour which shows the participants were so eager for the professional interaction concerning their professional growth. Dean Al-Melhi and Vice Dean Almosa actively participated in the ensuing discussions and exchange of views.


Overall, the webinar was, as Dean Al-Melhi noted, as informative and interesting as having a "lighthouse effect" on the participants. The webinar was a great success with 500 teacher-participants. The Bachelor of Arts in English program at the Faculty of Languages and Translation is committed to participating in community collaboration projects as part of its role in the Community Partnership Plan at King Khalid University.

Date: 3-5-2021

Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation

  In November 2021, Dr. Mazeegha Al-Tale' received a certificate of appreciation from the National eLearning Center (NELC) for reviewing a FutureX learning management system course as part of NELC's ASAS initiative. FutureX, which launched in late October 2021, connects institutions throughout the Kingdom together to support the human capital development objectives of Vision 2030. "It was an honor to be selected as a course reviewer for material appropriateness. While many MOOCs focus on getting knowledge out to as many people as possible, FutureX wants to make sure the knowledge is also useable. EdX, Coursera, and FutureLearn are some of the more well-known partners working with FutureX, and we fully expect an improvement in human capital development through online learning," said Dr. Al-Tale'. Date: 12/24/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  In November 2021, Mohsin Raza Khan received a certificate of appreciation from the National eLearning Center (NELC) for reviewing a FutureX learning management system course as part of NELC's ASAS initiative. FutureX, which launched in late October 2021, connects institutions throughout the Kingdom together to support the human capital development objectives of Vision 2030. "FutureX and the ASAS initiative have several interesting plans in place. In my role as a course reviewer, I leveraged my experience as a QM master reviewer to ensure best practices were found in the MOOC I reviewed. Many of the fundamental best practices and areas reviewed are also based on the E-Learning Practitioner course that is run by the Deanship of E-Learning on an annual basis," said Mohsin.   Of noteworthy mention, Mohsin also led the E-Learning practitioner certification course in November 2021, which is implemented on an annual basis by the Deanship of E-Learning. In that course, dozens of participants throughout King Khalid University learned how to improve student engagement, interaction, and quality learning. These objectives were solidified by the core foundation of the program that participants would be able to: Create content items to present a variety of learning activities to enhance student learning. Deliver authentic assessments to evaluate student knowledge in a variety of meaningful ways. Use Blackboard communication tools to promote interactions between the student and instructor, the student and course content, and the student and peers. Effectively utilize Blackboard Collaborate™ tools to increase student engagement by providing a means to share and create knowledge. Date: 12/24/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  Dr. Ahlullah Siddiqui S/O Mohammad Urwatullah Siddiqui was born on February 24, 1973, to a noble and humble family in Allahabad, UP, India. He died of cardiac arrest on December 9, 2021, in Abha, KSA, at the age of 48 years. He is survived by his wife, three daughters, and a son. His eldest child is a 17-year-old daughter, and all his kids are schoolgoers. Dr. Siddiqui obtained his primary, secondary, and university education from reputed institutions. Since his school days, he was found to be a possessor of certain distinctive traits uncommon among his classmates. He was not only sound academically, but he exhibited all his potentials in extracurricular activities also.   Dr. Ahlullah Siddiqui did his masters in linguistics and literature, M.Phil in English Literature, and a Ph.D. in Sociolinguistics. He also had the opportunity to join as a Fulbright scholar in the Professional Development Programme for English lecturers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.   Dr. Siddiqui has worked in several capacities from time to time. He started his teaching career by teaching English language and literature to adult learners, under the National Open Schooling Program, Delhi, from 1999 to 2004. He also taught English language and literature to pre-university students, at a historical college, under the government of Delhi from 2004 to 2008.   He joined King Khalid University Abha, KSA, in October 2008. Since then, he taught English as a foreign language at the undergraduate level till his death with zeal and zest in the Department of English, Faculty of Languages and Translation. He also served as a coordinator for the English Language Center, King Khalid University Abha, KSA.   Dr. Siddiqui has to his credit, several research articles published in renowned journals covering various themes related to linguistics and literature. He has actively attended several conferences and seminars and has presented quite a good number of research papers related to his specialization.   It was his positive disposition, his reflective ways of operating, and all of the character traits that made him so special. Dr. Siddiqui’s questions never went unanswered. It was his humble and amicable nature that made him look different from his contemporaries.   It is indeed the hardest thing to forget someone who means the world to you. Forgetting a friend like him is like forgetting our own soul – it is just not possible! His sudden disappearance has created a vacuum among us. He will be remembered with warm thoughts and memories.   Having him with us was having great support, a great colleague, a caring brother, and a loving father. Date: 12/17/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  On November 29, 2021, Dr. Mazeegha Al-Tale' led a training webinar for undergraduate and graduate programs in the Faculty of Languages and Translation titled 'Designing CLOS for EFL Courses'. In attendance were around 35 course coordinators and instructors from numerous campuses.   Dr. Al-Tale' began the webinar by explaining the benefits of course learning outcomes (CLOs) to both teachers and students. She stressed the need for teachers to ensure the consistency and alignment of outcomes, materials, methods, and activities because that will help students learn more effectively.   When going through the difference between objectives and outcomes, she explained that course objectives describe an intended state and is more general and open to more than one interpretation. Dr. Al-Tale' then mentioned that learning outcomes are specific and not open to more than one interpretation. "There are 7 characteristics of writing good CLOs. They should be topic-related, domain-related, measurable, specific, concise, clear, and aligned," she said. She then showed the 4 criteria to consider when writing CLOs, stressing CLOs need to be aligned with program learning outcomes, course objectives, content, teaching methods, teaching activities, and assessment tools. At the conclusion of her presentation, there was a lively question and answer session where participants had the opportunity to discuss course learning outcomes and how they align. Please click here to view a recording of the event. Date: 11/29/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation
  On November 27, 2021, Dr. Abdulwahid Al Zumor led a training webinar for undergraduate and graduate programs in the Faculty of Languages and Translation titled 'Course Learning Outcomes'. In attendance were around 55 course coordinators and instructors from numerous campuses.   Dr. Al Zumor began the webinar by explaining that course learning outcomes (CLOs) are the brain and heart of the course specification. He stressed the need to utilize the models provided in level 6 of the NQF-KSA because it acts as a key nexus that reinforces and consolidates relationships between education and training on the one hand and the practical and realistic requirements of the labor market on the other. When going through the knowledge/understanding, skills, and values learning domains, he related that values also include autonomy and responsibility. "Effective learning outcomes are student-centered, measurable, concise, meaningful, achievable, and outcome-based," he said. He then showed examples of both well-written and poorly constructed CLOs, emphasizing the importance of quantifiable CLOs, whether direct or indirect. At the conclusion of his presentation, there was a call to action to write the main course objective from the instructor's perspective and to have a variety of assessments. Please click here to view a recording of the event. Date: 11/27/2021 Source: Faculty of Languages and Translation