Current Perspectives on Teaching the Four Skills



    1. Seattle University Seattle, Washington, United States
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    • Eli Hinkel has taught ESL and applied linguistics, as well as trained teachers, for more than 20 years and has published numerous books and articles on learning second culture, and second language grammar, writing, and pragmatics. She is also the editor of Lawrence Erlbaum's ESL and Applied Linguistics Professional Series.


This article presents an overview of recent developments in second language (L2) teaching and highlights the trends that began in the 1990s and the 2000s and are likely to continue to affect instruction in L2 skills at least in the immediate future. Also highlighted are recent developments in instruction as they pertain specifically to the teaching of L2 speaking, listening, reading, and writing. In the past 15 years or so, several crucial factors have combined to affect current perspectives on the teaching of English worldwide: (a) the decline of methods, (b) a growing emphasis on both bottom-up and top-down skills, (c) the creation of new knowledge about English, and (d) integrated and contextualized teaching of multiple language skills. In part because of its comparatively short history as a discipline, TESOL has been and continues to be a dynamic field, one in which new venues and perspectives are still unfolding. The growth of new knowledge about the how and the what of L2 teaching and learning is certain to continue and will probably remain the hallmark of TESOL's disciplinary maturation.