Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 1
HOW DOES LISTENING WORK
The Importance of Listening in Verbal Communication
• Using language relies heavily on listening
Basic Types of Listening in Daily Life
• Listener and Speaker Roles
• Variety of Listening Situations and Conditions
The Role of Listening in Language Instruction
• Listening is an active process that involves complex cognitive procedures
Listening and Listening Comprehension / Listening vs. Listening
• Listening for general language practice: pronunciation; intonation;
reinforcement of structures, vocabulary; improving listening and reading
• Listening for the purpose of obtaining information
• Listening for successful verbal interaction
The Complexities of Listening Comprehension in a Foreign Language
• How do we process a spoken text in a foreign language?
• Linguistic and extra-linguistic resources:
1- Linguistic Knowledge (Decoding of the linguistic message; learner’s
evolving system of the target language; limited)
2-General situational knowledge (language independent; based learner’s
knowledge of language use in human communication in general)
3- Language-specific situational knowledge (what would be said/heard, in
the target language, in the specific situation, e.g., leave-taking; limited)
4-General background knowledge (real-world knowledge; factual
knowledge; learner’s knowledge of the target culture(s) is often very limited)
• Differences in textual input that affect processing:
How do students interpret the following spoken sentences?
a-Dün sinemaya gittin mi?
Did you go to the movies last night?
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 2
b-Dün akşam sinemaya veya tiyatroya gittin mi?
Did you go to the movies or the theater last night?
c- Dün akşam sinemaya mı yoksa tiyatroya mı gittin?
Did you go to the movies or did you go to the theater last night?
Why is sentence d more difficult to understand?
d- Bursa’da hamam var mı?
Are their traditional baths in Bursa?
Difficulties for Learners during the Listening Process:
• Reading vs. Listening
• Classroom Listening vs. Listening in the Real World
- The rate of speech
- Boundaries between linguistic units
- The syntax of spoken language
- The teacher: sympathetic listener and speaker
- Listening comprehension as a prerequisite for successful speaking
- Bias of learning through reading
- Only one chance to understand the message: limited processing time
- Other barriers that can impede on interpreting the speech sample (lack of
linguistic or general background knowledge; acoustic conditions; dialect;
pronunciation; intonation, etc.)
HOW CAN TEACHERS HELP LEARNERS BECOME BETTER LISTENERS
The Teacher’s Role
The teacher’s two most important responsibilities are: to engage students in
active listening and to teach them how to listen effectively so that they can
become independent listeners.
Teaching Learners How to Listen
+ Making students aware effective listening strategies
+ Offering ample opportunities for private listening outside the
+ The benefits of listening privately
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 3
Preparing Effective Listening Tasks
+ Contextualization; focused listening; making the task manageable;
avoiding processing overload
+ Using listening tasks that are reflect the cognitive processes that
Pre-listening; Listening; Post-listening
+ Integration of listening into lesson plan; combining listening with
other language skills: reinforcement of contents taught
+ Having realistic expectations of students’ abilities
What to consider when selecting listening texts:
♦ Texts that provide visual support, i.e., including additional
stimuli that assist in comprehending the audial message: still
pictures; maps; video; written text
♦ Paying attention to the length of the audial text (comprehending
♦ Providing for variety in text types (announcements; monologues;
conversations; lectures; songs; audio poems or stories, etc.)
♦ Introducing various speakers, types of speakers
♦ Input that teaches about the target culture
♦ Preference of authentic input
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 4
THE TOOLS AVAILABLE FOR TEACHING LISTENING
Teachers of Turkish can draw from three sources to find listening materials:
1) The teachers themselves
- The most important resource for listening activities
2) Materials dedicated to Turkish language learning and instruction
- Limited availability
3) Listening texts available, in different mediums, on the general market
- These audio samples are meant for native speakers; a sizable pool of
potential texts exists, however, adapting these for the language course can
be time consuming
1) EXAMPLES of teacher-generated listening activities:
(The tasks can be performed in class with ‘live’ input from the teacher, or the
texts can be recorded and listening can be assigned for outside the classroom.)
Topic: Numbers (random numbers)
Goal: Listening. Students will recognize numbers.
1. Sayılar / Numbers
I. Listen and write the numbers you hear, in numerals, in the spaces below.
a. ———————— d. ————————
b. ———————— e. ————————
c. ———————— f. ————————
ç. ———————— g. ————————
[Listening text: (reading out numerals):
a. 36; b. 87; c.14; ç. 132; d. 1029; e. 765; f. 1965; g. 1881; h.19.000]
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 5
Topic: Telephone numbers
Goal: Students will recognize telephone numbers as they are commonly said and
grouped in Turkish. ((This requires the teaching of çift sıfır (double zero)))
II. You will hear four telephone numbers. Listen and write them, in numerals, in the
blank spaces below.
Örnek: (212) 744 25 68
(312) 255 82 90 - (216) 641 00 25 - (212) 491 33 48 - (482) 577 29 00]
Goal: Saying (telephone) numbers.
(Students use written input to say telephone numbers based on the
pattern saw and heard in I. and II. above.)
III. Now say the following Turkish telephone numbers. Follow the reading pattern
your heard in exercise II. above.
536 27 93 - 863 37 21 - 444 92 72 - (212) 677 03 65 - (442) 395 00 76 - (564)
711 89 42
Goal: Identifying Turkish place names and telephone numbers in printed list.
Saying the telephone numbers.
IV. Select any five telephone numbers from the list titled ‘Telefon Numaraları.’
Practice saying them, in Turkish, to your classmates.
This was a sequence of listening exercises combined with a speaking task.
Below are some examples of listening comprehension exercises that can be
easily performed in the first-year classroom:
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 6
The teacher gives a brief account related to his or her personal life. Students
listen and compare results.
Listening Comprehension Exercises
Topic: Leisure activities; expressing likes and dislikes
Goal: a. Listening and understanding the teacher’s likes and dislikes.
b. Writing about daily activities, weekend activities, based on notes for
information obtained through listening comprehension.
a. What does your teacher like to do on weekends? What does she not like to do?
Listen and compare your results.
b. Based on the information you collected last week, describe your teacher’s schedule
on Wednesdays. Add how she likes to spend her weekends.
The teacher prepares a simple drawing and describes it, using vocabulary to
describe spatial relations. Students listen and draw.
Listening Comprehension Exercises
Topic: Spatial expressions; common nouns
Goal: Listening and understanding the features of objects and their location.
What is in the picture that I am holding in my hand? Draw a frame and fill it in based
on the information you will hear.
(Listening text: Resmin ortasında büyük bir kuş var. Kuşun altında çiçekler var.
Kuşun içinde bir kedi uyuyor.)
(There is a large bird in the middle of the picture. Underneath the bird there are
flowers. A cat is sleeping inside the bird.)
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 7
2) Materials Dedicated to Turkish Language Learning and Instruction
One reason why the teacher is an important resource for creating listening texts
and activities is the lack of a sufficient number and variety of adequate listening
materials prepared for Turkish instruction. What is available is primarily devoted
to practicing listening. These tools can assist learners in reviewing vocabulary,
practicing pronunciation, intonation, and familiarizing themselves with the sounds
of spoken Turkish, often with written support. However, as the examples will
show, there exist also a few innovative and learner–friendly tools that can be
accessed through the Internet or are available in DVD or CD-ROM format.
Examples of materials from group 2) – Texts for Listening:
[English translation of story:
The Fish and the Cat
Nasrettin Hoca buys some fish for dinner. In the evening, his wife offers him soup and rice
to eat. “Where is the fish?” asks Hoca. “Oh, the cat ate it! He is a bad animal!” replies his
wife. Nasrettin Hoca becomes very upset. He takes the cat and his wife to the shop next
door and weighs the cat very carefully. He then turns to his wife and says: “My fish
weighed three kilos. This cat weighs three kilos. You are telling me that my fish is right
here. If that is so, where is my cat?”]
Examples of materials from group 2) – Texts for Listening Comprehension:
Meeting Turkish Students (interactive, video-based lessons; CD-ROM)
Sevgili Murat (feature-length film; lessons to be developed in future; DVD)
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 8
Example shown from Scene 6:
3) These texts are not created for language learning but have potential for
adaptation for instructional purposes.
A few examples:
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 9
Byrnes, H. (1984). The role of listening comprehension: A theoretical base. Foreign
Language Annals , 17 , 317-329.
Lund, R.J. (1990). A taxonomy for teaching second language listening. Foreign
Language Annals, 23 , 105-115.
Mendelsohn, D.J., & Rubin, J. (1995). A guide for the teaching of second language
listening. San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.
Nunan, D., & Miller, L. (Eds.). (1995). New ways in teaching listening. Alexandria, VA:
Rost, M. (1990). Listening in language learning. London: Longman.
Rubin, J. (1987). Learner strategies: Theoretical assumptions, research history and
typology. In A. Wenden & J. Rubin (Eds.), Learner strategies in language learning (pp.
15-30). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Rubin, J. (1995). The contribution of video to the development of competence in
listening. In D.J. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second
language listening (pp. 151-165). San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.
Woodrow, L. (2005), The challenge of measuring language learning strategies. Foreign
Language Annals, 38 (1), 90-99.
Suzan Özel. Goals and Tools for Teaching Listening Skills. 4.6.2010 10
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