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    Challenges that an EFL learner would encounter when learning

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    State the challenges that an EFL learner would encounter when learning productive skills. How could he/ she overcome such challenges?

    When you learn a language, you develop both receptive skills and productive  skills. Receptive skills include understanding when you listen and when you read, you receive the language and  decode the meaning to understand the message. Productive skills are speaking and writing because we use language to produce a message through speech or written text , they are also known as active skills. These are the four skills in English language that have to master by the student . All are equally important and whenever possible teachers should try to incorporate all of them into the lesson if teachers want to have a balanced result. Here in this essay I will focus on  productive  skills (speaking and writing ) and the challenges that an  EFL learner encounter when learning these productive skills and how to overcome such problems.

    Learners need to articulate words by speaking and writing to produce  language .They receive language by listening to conversation and also by reading comprehension . Then, they move on to the next stage where they produce the language to express their thoughts by using productive skills. Speaking is an oral  production of language.

    McDonough and Shaw(2003) stated that, speaking involves expressing ideas and opinions ,expressing a wish or desires to do something negotiating or solving problems or establishing and maintaining  social relations , so speaking is the oral process to produce language .On the other hand ,writing is a productive skill in written mode when we talk about writing there is usually two- way distinction of writing ; institutional and personal writing. Institutional writing includes reports applications and text books whereas personal writing covers personal letters and creative writing.

    There are many factors that cause speaking  and writing difficulties to EFL learners. First, we’re going to talk about speaking difficulties. Speaking remains the most difficult skill to master for the majority of English learners, and they are still incompetent in communicating orally in English.

    According to Ur (1996) , there are many factors that cause speaking difficulties like inhibition ,students are worried about making mistakes ,afraid of criticism or they are simply shy to talk . Nothing to say ,students have no motive to express themselves .Low participation ,only one participant can talk at a time because of the large capacity in classes there is no time for all the people to participate and take chance .Mother tongue use ,learners who share the same mother tongue tend to use it because it’s easier and because learners feel less exposed if they are speaking their mother tongue.

    In addition, Rababa’h  (2005) pointed out that there are many factors that cause difficulties in speaking  English among  EFL learners .Some of these factors are related to the learners themselves ,the teaching strategies , the curriculum ,and the environment .For example ,many  learners lack the necessary vocabulary to get their meaning across and consequently , they cannot keep the interaction going .Inadequate strategic competence and communication competence can be another reason as well for not being able to keep the interaction going Some learners also lack the motivation to speak English .They do not see a real need to learn or speak English . Actually motivation is the crucial force which determines whether a learner embarks in a task at all.

    Furthermore, all the other subjects are in Arabic ,and English is seen as an academic subject only ,which means exposure to the English language is insufficient.’ Language is best learned when the learners attention is focused on understanding , saying ,and doing something with language and not when their attention is focused explicitly on linguistic features’ (Kumaravadivelo 2003). Littlewood (1981) argued that some teachers use L1 for class management .Nevertheless ,this can be another factor that contributes to the problem of speaking difficulties as using the L1 in class devalue the foreign language as a vehicle for communication.

    On the other hand there are various factors responsible of EFL learners writing problems, First of all writing is not given much importance in our society , it is considered as a secondary skill to speaking ,the culture of writing does not flourish at academic and social level and this skill remain ignored .Students have never been given the idea that they need to be   good writers ,writing does not get maximum of instruction(MT4) , writing is one of the skills which is least liked in our society (MT2) .Similarly . the examination system does not encourage learners creative writing .Instead , it encourages memorization and plagiarism.

    There are many ways help in solving the speaking and writing skills problems, choosing correct vocabulary is important for good speaking .According to Richards(1976), the goals of vocabulary teaching must be more than simply covering a certain number of words on a word list .Then teachers must look into how teaching techniques can help realize the concept of what it means to know a word.

    Encouraging ,motivating students to speak ; in speaking classes students should get the chance to interact with each other .According to Scrivener (2011) learners usually need to be able to make eye contact with those they are speaking to .Hear clearly what other people are saying .Be reasonably close together .A teacher should try to make speaking classes interactive .Gower et al.(1995) suggested that ,a teacher’s aim should be to create a comfortable atmosphere where students are not afraid to speak and enjoy communicating with their fellow students as well as the teacher .

    Introducing  speaking activity to communicate ,these activities should be designed in such a way so that students get motivation to speak .Planning speaking activities carefully especially for lower levels as communication games and information gap ,Role play and simulation ,discussions etc—.Also to improve writing skills ,reading was suggested in order to develop better writing and to enrich vocabulary .The conscious teaching of vocabulary was also emphasized .By making students write daily for fifteen or twenty minutes  to improve their writing skill .A change is also required in the examination system it shouldn’t promote memorization and plagiarism. Arranging writing competitions and courses.


    • Kumaravadivelu( 2003) .Beyond methods
    • Littlewood,W (1981) communicative language teaching
    • Rabab’ah ,G (2005) communication problems facing Arab learners of English.
    • Scrivener,j (1994) Learning teaching Oxford;Macmillan publishers Limited
    • Ur ,p. (1996) Acourse in language teaching .Cambridge

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