On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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Key Questions about Listening
What are listeners doing when they listen?
What factors affect good listening?
What are characteristics of “real life” listening?
What are the many things listeners listen for?
What are some principles for designing listening
• How can listening techniques be interactive?
• What are some common techniques for teaching
•What are listeners doing when they listen?
•Listeners think , feel and do when they are
• What factors affect good listening?
• Effective listening requires maximum thinking power. Here are
1- Understand the complexities of listening.
2- Prepare to Listen. Preparation consists of three phases—longterm, mid-term, and short-term.
3- Adjust to the situation. No listening situation is exactly the
same as another.
4- Focus on ideas or key points.
5- Capitalize on the speed differential.
6- Organize material for learning.
• What are characteristics of “real life”
• The characteristics of real-life listening include: the
passiveness of the listeners; the expectation of listeners;
the high quantity and variety of the received information
and the choice of listeners; the response of listeners, the
visibility of speakers; the shift of attention and focus of
listeners; the priority of meaning; the ambiguity of the
received information; characteristics of spoken language.
Based on these features of real-life listening, in foreign
language teaching, it is advisable to supply real-life
listening materials, develop students' listening strategy,
and emphasize students ′ response to what they listen to.
• What are the many things listeners listen
• We listen for obtaining information.
• We listen for understanding.
• We listen for enjoyment.
• We listen for learning….etc.
• What are some principles for designing
1. Establish eye contact with the speaker. Studies show
that listening has a positive relationship with eye contact.
In other words, the better eye contact you have with the
speaker, the better you will listen.
2. Take notes effectively.
3. Be a physically involved listener.
4. Avoid negative mannerisms.
5. Exercise your listening muscles.
6. Follow the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would
have them do unto you.
• How can listening techniques be
• Listening techniques can be interactive by
Being the kind of listener you want others
to be when you are talking. Ask “How
would I want others to listen to me?”
That’s how you can be an interactive
• What are some common techniques for
• To start with listening needs to be ‘taught’. It needs to be
seen as an active skill in which students take part and in
which there are opportunities to interact, negotiate,
discuss and become part of the event rather than being
an ‘eavesdropper’. The majority of real-life listening
involves all of these things and yet learners are often
denied them in the classroom. As teachers we should
start trying to bring to life the listening activities our
At lower levels, in particular, listening tasks should focus on helping
students feel competent and believe in their ability. This means that it is
essential to move away from a product-orientated (answers to questions)
approach. When students feel there is a need to understand every word
(whether or not that is necessary to achieve the task) they will never
become ‘good’ listeners. Ultimately, teaching listening should be about just
that, ‘teaching’ not testing. If the focus is on getting the correct answer, then
we are failing our students.
What makes listening difficult?
Clustering (listening in groups )
Redundancy ( useful )
Rate of delivery
Stress, rhythm, and intonation
What kinds of listening skills are
Reactive (listen and repeat)
Intensive (listen on a focused sound)
Responsive (listen and respond – briefly)
Selective (listen for particular items in a
• Extensive (listen for interactive/responsive
• Interactive (listen to discuss, respond,
Principles for teaching listening
Integrate listening into the course
Appeal to students’ personal goals
Use authentic language and contexts
Consider how students will respond
Teach listening strategies
Include both bottom-up AND top-down
Common listening strategies
Looking for key words
Looking for nonverbal cues to meaning
Predicting a speaker’s purpose by the context
Activating background knowledge
Guessing at meanings
Listening for the gist
Developing test-taking strategies for listening
Current issues in teaching oral
Accuracy and fluency
Questions about intelligibility
Questions about what is “correct” speech
What makes speaking difficult?
The same things that make listening difficult:
• Clustering ( speaking in groups )
• Redundancy ( speaking usefully )
• Reduced forms
• Performance variables
• Colloquial language
• Rate of delivery
• Stress, rhythm, and intonation
What are the types of classroom
• Imitative (this should be limited) –
• Intensive – practice a
• Responsive – to respond to a question
• Transactional (dialogue) – to convey
• Interpersonal (dialogue) – to interact
• Extensive – monologue
Do drills have a place?
• Yes, BUT….
Give some examples of Guidelines
for Drills ?
• Keep them short
• Keep them simple
• Keep them snappy ( speaking sharply and
• Ensure that students know WHY they are
doing the drill
• Limit the drill to phonological/grammatical
• Ensure that they lead to a communicative
DON’T OVERUSE THEM
What are the principles for Teaching
• Focus on fluency and accuracy (depending on
• Use intrinsically motivating techniques
• Use authentic language in meaningful contexts
• Provide appropriate feedback and correction
• Optimize the natural link between listening and
speaking (and other skills)
• Give students the opportunity to initiate oral
• Develop speaking strategies.
Give some examples of sample activities for
teaching conversation ?
Should we teach pronunciation?
• According to Wong (1987), “sounds are
less crucial for understanding than the
way they are organized” (as cited in
Brown, 2008, p. 339).
• Native speakers rely more on stress and
intonation than accurate articulation of a
What are the factors that affect
Innate phonetic ability
Identity and language ego
Motivation/concern for good pronunciation
What are the common speaking
Asking for clarification (what?)
Asking someone to repeat something
Using conversation maintenance cues (uh-huh,
right, yeah, okay, hmm)
Getting someone’s attention
Using paraphrases for structures one can’t
Appealing for assistance from the interlocutor
Using formulaic expressions
Using mime and nonverbal expressions