Challenges and Demands in the Teaching of Listening
Challenges andDemands in theTeaching of Listening What makes listening difficult? Junnie Armel T. Salud UST Graduate School
We have to make listening a priority – WE NEED TO CHOOSE TO LISTEN!
What do we do thenas languageteachers?• Teach effective listening in the classroom.• Listening skills should be developed to enable students to comprehend, analyze, respond to, assess and benefit from what they listen to.
Nord (1980):“Some people now believe that learning a language is not just learning to talk, but rather that learning a language is building a map of meaning in the mind. These people believe that talking may indicate that the language was learned, but they do not believe that practice in talking is the best way to build up this ―cognitive‖ map in the mind. To do this, they feel the best method is to practice meaningful listening.”
Delaying Speaking Concentrating on Listening Gary and Gary (1981):• 1. The learner is not overloaded by having to focus on two or more skills at the same time—a cognitive benefit. 4. Learners will not feel shy or worried• 2. Speed of coverage—receptive about their language classes. knowledge grows faster than productive • Having to speak a foreign language,• knowledge. It is possible to experience particularly when you know very and learn much more of • little, can be a frightening experience.• the language by just concentrating on Listening activities reduce the listening. If learners had to be • stress involved in language learning—a• able to say all the material in the lessons, psychological benefit. progress would be very • 5. Listening activities are well suited to• slow. independent learning through• 3. It is easy to move very quickly to listening to recordings. realistic communicative listening activities. This will have a strong effect on motivation.
• Teaching listening-speaking as separate units. (Delay speaking. Concentrate on listening)• Listening-speaking should be interrelated.
What Makes ListeningDifficult? (Dunkel, 1991; Richards, 1983; Ur, 1984) • Clustering (Chunking) –breaking down speech into smaller group of words. *In teaching listening comprehension, therefore, you need to help students pick out manageable clusters of words; sometimes second language learners will try to retain overly long sentences or they will err in the other direction in trying to attend to every word in an utterance.
• Redundancy -rephrasing, REPETITIONS, elaborations, and little insertions of ―I mean‖ and ―You know‖. *Such redundancy helps the listener to process meaning by offering more time and extra information. Consider the following excerpt of a conversation...
Amos: Hey, Andy, how’s it going?Andy: Pretty good, Amos. How was your weekend?Amos: Aw, it was terrible, I mean worst you could imagine. You know what I mean?Andy: Yeah, I’ve had those days. Well, like what happened?Amos: Well, you’re not gonna believe this, but my girlfriend and I –you know Rachel? I think you met her at my party-- anyway, she and I drove up to Point Reyes, you know, up in Marin County? So we were driving along minding our own business, you know, when this dude in one of those four- wheelers, you know, like a Bronco or something, comes up like three feet behind us and like tailgates on us on these crazy mountain roads up there-- you know what they’re like. So, he’s about to run me off the road, and it’s all I can do to just concentrate...
• Reduced Forms -can be: ~Phonological (“Djeetyet” –Did you eat yet?) ~Morphological (contractions like I’ll – I will) ~Syntactic (elliptical forms like “When will you be back?” ―Tomorrow, maybe.‖ ) ~Pragmatic (Phone rings in a house, child answers and yells to another room: “MOM! PHONE!” )
• Performance Variables (Fillers) –can easily interfere with comprehension in second language learners. Imagine listening to the following verbatim excerpt of a sportsman talking about his game: ―But, uh—I also –to go with this course if you’re playing well –if you’re playing well then you get uptight about your game. You get keyed up and it’s easy to concentrate. You know you’re playing well and you know... in with a chance then it’s easier, much easier to –to you know get in there and –start to... you don’t have to think about it. I mean it’s gotta be automatic.‖
• Rate of Delivery -Jack Richards (1983) points out that the number and length of pauses used by a speaker is more crucial to comprehension than sheer speed. Learners will nevertheless eventually need to be able to comprehend language delivered at varying rates of speed and, at times, delivered with pauses. Unlike reading, where a person can stop and go back to reread.
• Stress, rhythm, and intonation -the prosodic features of the English language are very important for comprehension. Intonation patterns are very significant not just for interpreting straightforward elements such as questions, statements, and emphasis but for understanding more subtle messages like sarcasm, insult, praise, etc.
• Interaction (including non-verbal) -plays a large role in listening comprehension. Conversation is especially subject to all the rules of interaction: negotiation, clarification, attending signals, turn-taking, etc. -to learn to listen is also to learn to respond and to continue a chain of listening and responding. -students need to understand that good listeners are good responders. -listening should always be a two- way process.
Not to let a word get in the way of its sentence.Nor to let a sentence get in the way of its intention.But to send your mind out to meet the intention as a guest; THAT is understanding.
Conclusion• Language teachers should consider the importance of listening and developing active listening skills in their students. Listening is arguably the least understood and the most overlooked of the four macro skills and listening plays a critical role in effective communication. In 1981, Gary and Gary stressed the importance of delaying speaking and concentrating on listening. According to them, the learner should not be overloaded by having to focus on two or more skills at the same time. But the trend nowadays in teaching listening and speaking is develpmental, learners need not separate each of the macro skills but he learns the skills progressively (spiral). Language teachers should also have to consider the factors as to why listening can be very difficult to learn (especially to L2 learners) so the teachers can attend to these factors to help the stream of conversation to flow WITH FULL COMPREHENSION.
References• Brown, Douglas. (1994). Teaching by Principles. California: Longman• Newton, Jonathan et al. (2009). Teaching ESL/EFL Listening and Speaking. NY: Routledge