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Read the story and answer the reading comprehension questions. Answers are at the bottom of the page.

Teaching a Language

   Teaching a language to non-native speakers requires a thorough knowledge of learning styles and levels of competency. One has to place students at the appropriate level in reading, listening, speaking and writing and follow through in pushing the student to achieve. Levels in language learning can be difficult to assess; however, they frequently reveal the learner's strengths. For instance, those that prefer aural learning will usually be strong in speaking and listening, whereas those that learn visually may prefer reading and writing. More creative personalities often prefer speaking and writing as these involve more free-form approaches. Those who prefer learning of a technnical nature often enjoy listening for vocabulary cues and reading for sentence structure.
   In assessing levels of competency, students are generally placed in the lowest level if they achieve varied levels on a competency test. For instance, if a student places in level 3 in speaking, level 2 in reading and writing and level 1 in listening, the student is placed in a level 1 group. This can cause difficulty for an inexperienced teacher because the student may be able to speak much more quickly than others. Rather than allowing such a student to answer all questions before the others, a wise teacher will use the student's advanced skills to help the other students. For instance, this student will be paired with another who needs extra help to advance in speaking. While it may be tempting to place this student in level 2 and hope that the listening component gradually arrives, this can cripple the student's learning process. Perhaps a few points of pronunciation are holding the student back. Even when a student can speak well, this does not mean the same student can understand others correctly. In fact, some students can be very good at cloaking their lack of understanding by appearing overconfident.
   Having a thorough knowledge of a student's preferences in learning and correct levels of competency helps the teacher to fully prepare the student for potential fluency in a language. Teachers are encouraged not to rush the learning process even when students achieve high levels in one competency quickly. A student that can speak well, but not read well can hold conversations with strangers, yet misread signs and written instructions. A student that can read well without being able to speak confidently will struggle with feeling tongue-tied in spite of having a strong vocabulary. A good teacher understands the student's complete package of needs and meets these needs with discipline and patience.

Answer the questions:

1. What is the main idea of this passage?

A. When teaching a language to non-native speakers, it is most important to place the student in the correct level.
B. Teaching a language to non-native speakers requires a thorough knowledge of the different learning styles which include visual, aural, free-form and technical.
C. Language teachers usually know the competency levels and learning styles of their students.
D. Teaching a language to non-native speakers requires knowledge of competency level and learning styles.
E. Most language learners have different learning styles and competency levels.

2. Which conclusion follows the advice given in the passage?
A. A student who places into level 2 in speaking and listening, level 3 in writing and level 4 in reading should be placed in a level 3 group.
B. A student who places into level 3 in speaking, level 4 in reading, level 2 in writing and level 1 in listening should be placed in a level 1 group.
C. A student who places into level 4 in speaking and level 3 in the other categories should be placed in the level 4 group.
D. A student who places into level 1 in writing, level 2 in speaking and listening and level 3 in reading should be placed in the level 3 group.
E. none of the above

3. Learners who prefer a more free-form approach will likely be strong in which categories?
A. speaking and writing
B. speaking and listening
C. reading and writing
D. reading and listening
E. writing and listening

4. The author would most likely agree with which of the following?
A. A teacher should know the students learning style in order to help the student develop other learning styles.
B. A teacher should know the student's learning style because this is usually required by state law.
C. A teacher should know the student's learning style so that students can be placed in groups with other students who use the same style.
D. A teacher should know the student's learning style in order to understand how the student learns.
E. A teacher should know the learning style in order to place the student in the highest possible level.

5. In paragraph two, the phrase "perhaps a few points of pronunciation are holding the student back" means:
A. The student cannot speak because pronunciation is difficult.
B. The student does not understand pronunciation, even though the student can speak.
C. The student may not be able to hear others because the student expects to hear slightly different sounds.
D. The student has difficulty with hearing.
E. The student needs to get tested in order to be placed in level 2.



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Answers:
1. D, 2. B, 3. A, 4. D, 5. C