Did You Learn To Listen and To Speak?

In education, considerable emphasis is placed on numeracy and literacy – the ability to understand and work with numbers and the ability to read and write. But what about the capacity to listen and to speak? Why is so little importance attached to oracy?
David Gurteen

I have often asked myself the same question.

I left school not being able to speak my two foreign languages (French and German) well.

And I hear this from the people who come to me to improve their English speaking skills.

But we might have different reasons for learning a foreign language.

You might want to:

  • gain insight into a culture and its customs, beliefs and way of life;
  • have more job opportunities, particularly in fields such as international business and translation;
  • study abroad or participate in exchange programs;
  • improve your cognitive abilities and increase your self-confidence;
  • read, watch and listen to stories, music and art from other cultures;
  • improve your memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.

But if we want to be able to communicate with people who speak that language, we might have to change something in the system.

What do you think?


numeracy – understanding and working with numbers
literacy – reading and writing
oracy – listening and speaking
A-level – similar to the German Abitur


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Foto Christine Sparks

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