Language skills


The importance of language skills

The art of effective communication is essential in all areas of human existence from basic family life where we must deal with simple family dynamics, to the uppermost levels of government where ministers negotiate complex agreements in order to maintain the country’s position in world politics. So one of the most important skills we can encourage our children to acquire, as they prepare to leave home and make their own way in the world, is the ability to make themselves clearly understood and to listen to and comprehend whatever is communicated to them.

Core communication skills

In schools in the UK children are instructed in the basics of Standard English and although this may not necessarily be the precise language used at home, it is necessary if they intend to proceed to further education where Standard English is the basic mode of communication. Language skills are essential to learning in order to make sense of the subject being studied and also to communicate a student’s understanding of the concepts central to that subject in return.

The application of language skills

In education, therefore, adequate language skills are necessary in order that students may take part in the formal learning process where they must, for example, understand the study materials available and use them effectively. They must also be able to communicate with their lecturers and fellow students to whom they must convey their wants and needs. They also need to complete essays and assignments using the appropriate vocabulary for the subject under study and they must be able to interpret the materials and write about what they have learned in their own words.

Language in the workplace

Language skills continue to be a necessary requirement beyond education when we enter the workplace, beginning with the application form and the interview process where excellent language skills can give applicants an advantage. Furthermore, within any place of work, language and communication skills are vital in almost every area, from simple communication by phone or email to top level business meetings.

Communication between companies also requires additional language skills where technical, legal and financial requirements become important aspects and of course with the increasing globalisation of commerce, international communication requires a different set of language skills altogether. Although English is the international language of business (and more) it is advantageous to be able to communicate in a foreign language. As things stand currently however, most English speaking nationals do not place the same level of importance on acquiring a foreign language as their counterparts around the world. This may change however with the emerging financial power and influence of countries such as China and India.

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Updated by: AK English Academy.