Integrating the Four Skills: Current and Historical Perspectives

Eli Hinkel

in The Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics

Second edition

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195384253
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Integrating the Four Skills: Current and Historical Perspectives


In the contemporary world of second language teaching, most professionals largely take it for granted that language instruction is naturally divided into discrete skill sets, typically reflecting speaking, listening, reading, and writing, and usually arranged in this order. Based on the principles of Bloomfieldian linguistic analyses, the structural division of language teaching in the four skill areas has the learning objective of imitating the native speaker. The continual separation of the four skills lies at the core of research and testing in speaking, listening, reading, and writing. Some current approaches to teaching language, however, strive to integrate the four skills in pedagogy whenever possible. This article begins with a brief look at the historic and methodological reasons for the continual separation of the four skills in teaching. Then it addresses the highly idiosyncratic and limited designs of major English language tests and concludes with an overview of the pedagogical and methodological currents in integrated language instruction.

Keywords: contemporary world; second language training; second language; historic reasons; methodical reasons; language instruction

Article.  6282 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics

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