Understanding English as a foreign language is still a problem in developing countries, especially in mastering productive skills--writing and speaking English. One approach that can be used is called a natural approach as in learning our mother tongues since we were babies.
English Learning Programs : Receptive and Productive Skills of English Language
English learning can be divided into two skills—receptive and
productive skills. Someone who can understand reading materials, master
grammatical exercises, and understand spoken English is good at
receptive skill. She or he may not be good at productive skills which
require him or her to produce writing materials and speaking it well.
In reality, especially in developing countries, where English is still a foreign language (not a second language like in Singapore, Malaysia, India, and The Philippines)
many students who either study the subject as their main course or
learn it at English courses still find it hard to master the productive
skills: writing and speaking. English learning lessons in schools are
mostly centered on grammatical items, reading passages and listening
practices. TOEFL courses are in fact teaching students receptive skills
not productive skills.
How to Speak English is all what students want to know about
English learning programs as in productive skills—how to speak English
and how to write it well—seem difficult to master because many students
feel ashamed of making mistakes in speaking. For writing, students still
find it comfortable to produce the language as mistakes can soon be
corrected. There are clever students whose tofl scores are higher than
500 but when it comes to speaking and writing, they are still unable to write it neither well nor able to speak it perfectly.
What teachers should do to make students able to write and speak English
Teachers should no think of the productive skills as perfection. I mean
it is not possible to force students to produce language items
perfectly as those native speakers of English do. All it takes is try
and error. The process of acquiring productive skills should be the same
as we learned our mother tongues since we were babies. However,
students are not babies but at least steps used by teachers should be more or less the same. Teachers
should avoid using the students’ first language when introducing the
lesson. This is what we call a language item exposure. With targeted
language items, teachers keep using them again and again during the class hours. At this phase, students listen to teachers while knowing their word as teachers write the words down on the board.
Don’t expect students to be able to use the target language items
perfectly. Already making them speak is a success in teaching this