Teaching listening

Aims of the English language teaching. Psychological features of listening and its connection with other types of speech activity. The difficulties in understanding the oral speech. Use of listening at training to a foreign language in a modern school.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид дипломная работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 26.02.2014
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Contents

language teaching understanding speech

Introduction

1. Aims of the English language teaching

2. Specific features of listening as the type of speech activity

2.1 Psychological features of listening and its connection with other types of speech activity

2.2 The main difficulties in understanding the oral speech

2.2.1 Difficulties caused by the nature of language material

2.2.2 Difficulties connected with the language form

2.2.3 Difficulties connected with semantic content of the message

2.2.4 Difficulties connected with the sources of the information

2.2.5 Difficulties concerning the listener

3. The techniques of training to listening

3.1 Use of listening at training to a foreign language in a modern comprehensive school

3.2 Principal types of exercises for training to listening

3.3 Control of understanding of the exercises on listening

Conclusion

Bibliography

Introduction

Language came into life as a means of communication. It exists and is alive only through speech. When we speak about teaching of a foreign language, we first of all have in mind teaching it as a means of communication.

Teaching process changed according to the social order of a society, and its purpose. In particular, the practical purpose of training was transformed as follows: from teaching of a foreign language to speaking another language.

Nowadays, when the knowledge of English language becomes wider (computer, economic and political terminology are all of English origin) and it is possible to speak about the English language as a language of the international dialogue, the purpose of teaching of a foreign language lies in the formation of the communicative competence.

The communicative component includes purpose of training and the content of education in the formation of regional geographic knowledge and provide the pupils with knowledge with realities of other country, its national culture, to enlarge their general outlook and, in turn, to raise the pupil's interest to a foreign language they study. It also helps to generate the strong motivation.

According to prof. Lyahovitsky M.В., the basis of teaching of a foreign language is “the language environment, and all other means are auxiliary, and the maim purpose lies in the creation more or less illusion of attaining the pupils to the natural language environment”.

Last years the problem of listening draws attention of methodologists more and more. To study this difficult process there were and are still being made serious theoretical searches. However, the ways out to the teaching of the foreign languages paying the great attention to the oral comprehension in teaching practice is not as significant as it is wanted to be.

It is well known, that the techniques of training to listening in practice of teaching is not still profoundly developed. One of principal reasons to lack the attention to the problem of listening is that fact, that it was considered to be an easy skill. There was a point of view that if at training the oral speech the teacher will concentrate all efforts on speaking and will provide mastering by this ability, the pupils will understand speech easily, without special training. The inconsistency of this point of view has been proved both in the theory, and in practice.

Though speaking and listening abilities are interrelated and interconnected, to achieve their stable development is possible only under condition of application of specially developed system of exercises for development of understanding the oral speech. According to some latest researches made by the scientists, even people speaking the foreign language fluently, have some difficulties at hearing the natural speech of native speakers. The recent researches in psychology also testifies that the perception and understanding of speech are rather difficult mental activity.

Listening and comprehension are difficult for learners because they should discriminate speech sounds quickly, retain them while hearing a word, a phrase, or a sentence and recognize this as a sense unit. Pupils can easily and naturally do this in their own language and they cannot do this in a foreign language when they start learning the language. Pupils are very slow in grasping what they hear because they are conscious of the linguistic forms they perceive by the ear. This results in misunderstanding or a complete failure of understanding. During the auding of a foreign language pupils should be very attentive and think hard. They should strain their memory and will power to keep the sequence of sounds they hear and to decode it. Not all the pupils can cope with the difficulties entailed. The teacher should help them by making this work easier and more interesting. This is possible if that he will take into consideration the following three main factors which can ensure success in developing pupils' skills in listening:

(1) linguistic material for listening;

(2) the content of the material suggested for listening and comprehension;

(3) conditions in which the material is presented.

Though the process of listening belongs to one of the most difficult types of speech activity and, it must be developed better than other abilities. One of the practical tasks during the auding is teaching and training the pupils to perception of foreign speech in conditions, close to real.

Theme of this research belongs to one of the most actual because the modern methods of teaching English are practically impossible without teaching listening. And the lack of this activity reflects negatively on linguistic preparation of schoolchildren. This very type of activity, I mean the listening, had been studied for not so long period of time, even the term ” listening” used in methodical literature is comparatively new. If «listening» means just the acoustic perception of words, the concept of auding includes the process of perception and understanding of the spoken language. It is also well known that listening is a very difficult type of speech activity. And it is not a top secret that school-leaving pupils of modern schools do not practically possess this type of activity.

The essence of this research is not only a process of listening on the initial and middle stages but also methods of teaching this type of speech activity. The initial stage is always considered to be the major one. Thus, the basic skills of auding, which are necessary to perfect all the skills and abilities, must be formed at the junior stage. The purpose of this work is to expose the basic aspects of teaching listening on the basis of all sources of information. And the research tasks are as follows:

1) to investigate the process of teaching listening from the point of view of psychology;

2) to study thoroughly the theoretical bases of teaching listening;

3) to consider the new intensive steps for teaching listening;

4) to develop the own number of lessons including the listening.

The theme of this research, listening, belongs to one of most actual in the modern methods of teaching English, because this kind of speech activity is considered to be one of the most difficult, alongside with speaking; and this process is bilateral: speaking process cannot exist without listening and vise versa.

Now the next point under consideration is the process of teaching listening on the middle stage and it is not chosen occasionally, because at this period the main or basic speech activities and skills are formed and that allows to do the use of listening most effective. There one can see the importance and actuality of the problem of teaching listening. The way out and the possibility to make the pupils understand and speak the foreign language is to try to create the language environment. The wider using of the audiovisual means made it possible to hold the lesson in foreign language and the educational process comes closer to the real conditions.

During this research we made the attempts to prove that listening is reasonably considered to be one of the basic means in learning the foreign language.

1. Aims of the English language teaching

Aims are the first and most important consideration in any teaching.

«The training process is one of the transition the students from one state to another ... The objectives of education is to move students from the initial state to a state (or, more precisely, in many states), meaning that they have certain knowledge, skills and knowledge».

Hence the teacher should know exactly what his pupils are expected to achieve in learning his subject, what changes he can bring about in his pupils at the .end of the course, at the end of the year, term, month, week, and each particular lesson, i. e., he should know the aims and objectives of foreign language teaching in schools.

The terms "aims" and "objectives" are clearly distinguished in this work in accordance with the suggestion given by R. Roberts. Here is what he writes: "The term 'aims' be reserved for long-term goals such as provide the justification or reason for teaching second languages ... the term 'objectives' be used only for short-term goals (immediate lesson goal), such as may reasonably be achieved in a classroom lesson or sequence of lessons." In this chapter we shall deal with long-term goals, that is, with the aims of foreign language teaching which dictate the teacher's approach to this subject.

The changes the teacher must bring about in his pupils may be threefold:

Practical -- pupils acquire habits and skills in using a foreign language;

educationa1 -- they develop their mental abilities and intelligence in the process of learning the foreign language;

cultura1 -- pupils extend their knowledge of the world in which they live.

Therefore there are three aims, at least, each should be achieved in foreign language teaching: practical, educational, and cultural.

Practical aims. The foreign language as a school subject differs from other subjects of the school curriculum. Whereas the teaching, for instance, of history is mostly connected with the imparting of historical laws and facts which pupils are lo learn and the teaching of the mother tongue leads to (In mastery of the language as a system (which is already used (in exchanging thoughts and feelings) so that pupils will be able to use it more effectively in oral and written language, the teaching of a foreign language should result in the pupil's one more code for receiving and conveying information; that is, in acquiring a second language for the same purpose as the native language: to use it as a means of communications. In this connection we should like to quote G. Perren: Whatever a new language is being taught as a curricular extra …or as an essential medium for education it will be learned by the young child only if it obviously makes possible some useful activity otter than language learning. If it does not do this, attempts to teach it may be largely a waste of time."

In modern society language is used in two ways: directly or orally, and indirectly or in written form. Thus we distinguish oral language and written language. Direct communication implies a speaker and a hearer, indirect communication implies a writer and a reader. Hence the practical aims in teaching a foreign language are four in number: hearing, speaking, reading, and writing.

When adopting the practical aims for a secondary school course the following factors are usually taken into consideration: economic and political conditions of society, the requirements of the state; the general goals of secondary school education; the nature of the subject, and the conditions for instructing.

Nowadays our republic is establishing closer economic, political, scientific and cultural relations with various peoples of the world. International relations are extended and strengthened through the exchange of delegations as well as scientific, technical, and cultural information. The peoples want to know what is going on in the world in all spheres of human activity: science, engineering, culture, politics, etc. They also want to acquaint other peoples with their life and achievements. In this situation foreign language teaching is a matter of state significance, "On Improving the Foreign Language Learning" has obliged educational boards to ensure that school-leavers master a-foreign-language as a means of communication in its two forms -- oral and written, therefore, proficiency in speaking and reading are the desired skills. They are both of great importance, since oral language, though opportunities for conversation are rare for most of the school-leavers, creates favourable conditions for language learning. Besides, practical aims as they are understood here correspond to the idea of secondary school education -- to provide pupils with the fundamentals of the subject. Hearing, speaking, reading, and writing within carefully selected linguistic material will constitute the fundamentals of the language.

The nature of the language should also be taken into consideration in determining the aims of language teaching. Learning any living language implies using the language of sounds that is, speaking. Scientific research gives a more profound insight into the problem. It is not so much the ability to speak that is meant here but rather the oral treatment; in other words, the language of sounds, not of graphic signs (which is usually the case when a dead language is studied) should serve as basic means of teaching.

The length of the course, the frequency of the lessons, the size of groups should also be taken into consideration in adopting practical aims. The amount of time for language learning is one of the most decisive factors in mastering and maintaining language proficiency since learners 'need practice. Tire more time is available for pupils' practice in the target language, the better results can be achieved. Moreover, for the formation of speech habits frequency of lessons, is a more essential condition than the length of the course. It is not necessary to prove (it has already been proved) that intensive courses are more effective than extensive ones, for example, six periods a week for three years are more effective for language learning than three periods a week for six years. In our secondary schools, however, we cannot afford an intensive course because school curriculum includes a lot of essential subjects and the foreign language is one of many which should be taught.

Proceeding from these considerations the school syllabus emphasizes reading and speaking as the chief practical aims of language teaching. Writing is restricted to teaching the ability to compose simple letters on everyday topics. Thus the syllabus sets out to teach pupils to carry on a conversation in a foreign language and to read texts with complete comprehension.

The syllabus for the ten-year school requires that school-leavers should:

(1) read and understand a foreign text both with and without a dictionary;

(2) understand oral language and speak within the topics and material required by the syllabus;

(3) write a letter.

In foreign language learning all forms of work must be in close interrelation, otherwise it is impossible to master the language. However, attention should be given mainly to practice in hearing, speaking, and reading. Thus pupils must achieve a level in their knowledge of the language which will enable them to further develop it at an institute or in their practical work.

In conclusion it should be said that the achievement of practical aims in foreign language teaching makes possible the achievement of educational and cultural aims.

Educational aims. Learning a second language is of great educational value. Through a new language we can gain an insight into the way in which words express thoughts, and so achieve greater clarity and precision in our own communications. Even at the most elementary level learning a second language teaches the cognizance of meaning, furnishes a term of comparison that gives us an insight into the quality of language. When learning a foreign language the pupil understands better how language functions and this brings him to a greater awareness of the functioning of his own language.

Since language is connected with thinking, through foreign language study we can develop the pupil's intellect. Teaching a foreign language helps the teacher develop the pupils' voluntary and involuntary memory, his imaginative abilities, and will power. Indeed, in learning a new language the pupil should memorize words, idioms, sentence patterns, structures, and keep them in long-term memory ready to be used whenever he needs them in listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Teaching a foreign language under conditions when this is the only foreign language environment, is practically impossible without appealing to pupils' imagination. The lack of real communication forces the teacher to create imaginary situations for pupils, to speak about making each pupil determine his language behaviour as if he were in such situations.

Teaching a foreign language contributes to the linguistic education of the pupil, the latter extends his knowledge of phonic, graphic, structural, and semantic aspects of language as it is through contrastive analysis of language phenomena.

Cultural aims. Learning a foreign language makes the pupil acquainted with the life, customs and traditions of the people whose language he studies through visual material (such as post cards with the views of towns, countryside, and people; filmstrips, for example, "Great Britain", "What Tourists Can See in London", "Disney Land" films) and reading material dealing with the countries where the target language is spoken. Foreign language teaching should promote pupils' general educational and cultural growth by increasing their knowledge about foreign countries, and by acquainting them with progressive traditions of the people whose language they study. Through learning a second language the pupil gains a deeper insight into the nature and functioning of language as a social phenomenon.

The cultural aims mentioned on school program of foreign languages imply the following tasks: widening the pupils' general outlook, developing their powers abstract thinking, cultivating their sense of beauty and their appreciation of art. The reading of English texts acquainting the pupils with the life and culture of the English-speaking nations, and with their manner and customs, will contribute to the mental growth of the pupils. Later the ability of reading English and American authors in the original and texts in the English language reflecting the culture of the countries where that language is spoken will likewise serve the pupils as a mean of attaining a higher general education level. Reading good authors in the foreign language will develop in the children a feeling of beauty. A widening of their philological outlook will result from the unconscious and conscious comparison of the foreign with the native language.

In conclusion it should be said that practical, educational, and cultural aims are intimately related and form an inseparable unity. The leading role belongs to practical aims, for the others can only be achieved through the practical command of the foreign language.

The belief is prevalent that the teaching of a foreign language is a comparatively simple subject. This follows the assumption that the process is solely that of providing language experience; for every lesson in which the language is spoken, read or written must inevitably contribute to the extension of the pupil's acquaintance with the language. If this were the true character of the process the only qualification for the role of instructor would be an adequate knowledge of the language. Closer examination, however, proves that the efficient teaching of a foreign language, far from being a simple process, is probably the most difficult and complex of all subjects in the curriculum. For all subjects the initial considerations are what to teach and who. In this case of all other subjects there is no appreciable difficulty about the first, as the syllabus is usually clear and indisputable. Even for method there are guiding principles which meet with more or less general acceptance. Foreign-language teaching, however, has not yet attained the stage of universal agreement even as to what is to be taught, still less as to how. This may be taken as an indication of the complex character of the subject, wherein content and method are curiously involved. What appears to be a single subject is really a group of associated yet distinct branches of study; for language is a generic term covering all or any of the following features; speech, reading, composition, grammar, literature, commercial, technical and scientific activities. Therefore courses must differ widely if reading or speech is made the sole or major purpose, and if the syllabus is extended to literature or commerce; the extent and choice of vocabulary too will depend on whether instruction is given on Translation or Direct Method lines; and presentation of grammar will vary considerably if taught formally or functionally. It is difficult even to qualify the general character of foreign-language teaching. All other school subjects may be broadly classified as either knowledge or skills. Thus History and Geography are undoubtedly knowledge subjects, whereas Mathematics and Drawing are skills. Strictly speaking none is purely one or the other. History is certainly more than the mere absorption of data, and Mathematics call for the memorizing of tables and formulae; but the predominant feature is clearly one element, with the other as incidental. In which category is foreign-language learning to be included? The answer is more than academic interest, as the respective point of view will determine the whole character of course. If it is thought of as predominantly a knowledge subject, efforts will be concentrated on giving the pupils as large a vocabulary as possible, and supplying them with many grammatical data. The value individual lessons will probably be assessed by the number of new words taught or the point of grammar elucidated. On the other hand, if language is thought of as essentially a skill or a series of skills less attention will be paid to extent of vocabulary, and progress will be measured instead by the degree of fluency attained by the pupils. The conflicting views possibly arise from different interpretations of the function of memorizing in the learning process. This question has implications which warrant discussion. That learning by the heart ought not to be lightly dismissed as a deplorable feature of obsolete methods may be gathered from the opinions of leading authorities. Thus Handschin, a leading American Specialist, writes: “One of the best exercises of the will is memorizing. We know there is a tendency in some quarters to make school tasks easy by omitting memory work in former periods. But, of course, there must be memory work, although to overdo it is just as bad… For instance oftentimes a course in elementary language is so conducted as to acquire nothing but memory work.” Harold Palmer, one of the most stimulating of modern authorities, asserts that `the study of language is in its essence a series of acts of memorizing; whether we are concerned with isolated words, with word-groups, with meaning or with the phenomena of grammar, the fact remains that successful memorizing is the basic of all progress.' Elsewhere he elaborates his interpretation of the teaching process by analyzing language psychologically as comprising what he call (a) Primary matter and (b) Secondary matter. He explains primary matter is an appreciable part of language may be seen from the list of categories it comprises. Summed up they are:

It must be admitted in the light of Palmer's formidable list of categories that there is a considerable amount of language is virtually an act of recall, for all constructed sentences conform to conventional patters. Indeed one of the chief causes of error may be (as Palmer points out) the attempt of pupils to construct secondary matter freely before they have absorbed and mastered sufficient primary matter. Memorizing, therefore is undoubtedly an essential part of the learning process.

During the English study the teachers trying to do their best in they may face many problems, such as big classes, where it is difficult for the teacher to make contact with the pupils at the back and it is difficult for the pupils to ask for and receive individual attention. It may seem impossible to organize dynamic and creative teaching and learning sessions. In large classes, pair-work and group-work play an important part since they maximize student participation. Organizing pupils into pairs is an important job for the teacher at the project lesson. In pair work students can practice the language together, study a text, research the language or take part in information-gap activities. They can write dialogues, predict the content of reading texts, or compare on what they have listened to or seen. There are some advantages and disadvantages of using pair work. So, the positive sides are: It dramatically increases the amount of speaking time any one student gets in the class and allows pupils to work and interact independently without the necessary guidance of the teacher, thus promoting learner independence. It allows teachers time to work with one or two pairs while the other pupils continue working. It recognizes the old maxim that `two heads are better than one', and in promoting cooperation helps the classroom to become a more relaxed and friendly place. If teachers get pupils to make decisions in pairs, they will be allowed to share responsibility rather than having to bear the whole weight themselves. It is relatively quick and easy to organize. There are disadvantages of pair-work: pair-work is frequently very noisy and some teachers and pupils dislike this. Teachers in particular worry that they will lose control of their class. Pupils in pairs can often veer away from the point of an exercise, talking about something else completely, often in their first language. Generally teaching aims in foreign languages methodologists tend to divide into some parts - structures, functions, vocabulary, pronunciation and skills. There are three skills teachers are supposed to master in learning a new language: they must learn to read it; they should learn to understand it when they hear it; they should learn to speak it. Most modern school curricula require all subjects to encourage initiative, independence, self-discipline, imagination, development of all language skills, so the project work is a way of turning such general aims into practical classroom activity and involve children into teaching process. Project provides a natural context in which these separate parts can be re-integrated in learners' minds. This is important for students to be sure about their own abilities to use target language in real situations. It is student's own interests to produce language that is accurate and fluent. Teachers and students encourage that projects break the routine. Project work demands creature and a lot of enthusiasm for both- teachers and learners. Project work is very effective method because: themes and target tasks for project learning derived from all forms and objects of life; learners are involved with the ideas through a process of discussion, experimentation, reflection, and application of insights to the new stages of experimentation. During the project students practice in main language skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing.

The content of foreign language teaching or what to teach is one of the main problems the Methods deals with. In this chapter an attempt is made to touch on the chief components, which, we think, should constitute the content of foreign language teaching in schools; a more detailed consideration will be given in appropriate chapters dealing with teaching various aspects of the language and language skills.

The first component of "what to teach" is habits and skills, which pupils should acquire while learning a foreign language. According to the aims of learning this subject they are: hearing (listening comprehension), speaking, reading, and writing. The level of habits and skills is determined by the syllabus for each form. However, quantitative and qualitative characteristics of skills, or the so-called terminal behaviour, is not defined yet for different types of schools and stages of instruction. This is one of the problems for methodologists to investigate and solve. Nevertheless, some attempts have been made in this respect. Thus in school syllabi we can find some directions as to the level of skills that should be reached in each particular form and their development from form to form. For example, the requirements for hearing and reading skills differ in the 9th and 10th forms. In the 9th form pupils should be able to understand oral language on the basis of the material previously learned and within the topics covered, while in the 10th form the material for hearing should include 1-2 unfamiliar words for pupils to guess their meaning, and to understand a text received by ear, based on the material learned and on a topic close to those pupils have worked at. This is a new "qualitative step" for pupils in understanding oral language. If in the 9th form pupils should read with the speed of 1 000 signs per academic hour, in the 10th form the speed of reading is 1 300.

The second component of "what to teach" is language (textual) material, arranged in topics and serving as starting points for the development of oral language and written language, which allows the teacher to reach the practical, educational, and cultural aims set by the syllabus. For example, in the junior stage (the 5th and 6th forms) pupils should speak and read about school, home, town and countryside, nature, physical training and sports. In the senior stage the textual material should cover the following topics: the life of the youth in the our country and. abroad; sport in the our country and abroad; industry, agriculture, and science in the our country and abroad; history and geography of the country whose language pupils study; art and literature in the country and abroad. Topics for speaking and reading are developed from form to form, i. e., the pupil's ability to read and speak on a certain topic is widened as his vocabulary and grammar are enriched.

The third component of the content of foreign language teaching is linguistic material, i. e., phonology, grammar, and vocabulary carefully selected for the purpose. The selection of linguistic material, the compiling of the so-called minima, for instance, minimum vocabulary and minimum grammar, has always been one of the most important and difficult problems to be solved and, although a great deal of work has been done in this respect; we are still on the way to its solution. A limited body of linguistic material is required by .pupils who have about 600 class hours at their disposal spread over six years (extensive course), and at the same time it must be large enough to serve as a sound basis for developing pupils' language skills.

To sum up what has been said above, the content of foreign language teaching involves:

(1) language skills: hearing, speaking, reading, and writing;

(2) language (textual) material;

(3) linguistic material; vocabulary; grammar, phonological minima.

In conclusion it should be said that the content of teaching in our schools is laid down in the syllabus and realized in teaching materials and in the teacher's own speech

Methods of foreign language teaching are based on the fundamental principles of didactics; among them, a conscious approach to language learning, activity, visualization, and others. However, in foreign language teaching, due to the specific features of the subject in which means and ends are equally essential, these principles are used in a particular way.

2. Specific features of listening as the type of speech activity

In this chapter we will try to consider the psychological features of listening as the type of speech activity, its interrelations with reading, writing and speaking. Here we shall pay much attention to the importance of the teacher's speech, considering it as the transitional phase from hearing to auding ability. In this chapter we shall also try to point out the main difficulties of understanding of another language speech, in order to reveal the ways of their overcoming.

The understanding of the oral speech and the ability to recognize it, or listening, as speech activity represents as difficult and not wholly solved problem. Let us take into consideration the process of listening as the type of speech activity.

Listening is the process of perception and understanding speech. It is also considered to be the purpose and the means. As ability it can be used as:

1. The way of the organization of educational process.

2. The way of introducing the language material in verbal form.

3. Means of training the other types of speech activity.

4. Means of controlling and verifying the knowledge, habits and skills.

As the purpose of teaching listening in the school programs is fixed as follows: “The pupils are to understand the foreign language, the text is once presented by the teacher or in audio-tape in the natural speed, based on the language materials of the 11th and previous forms and may include until 3-4 % of unfamiliar words, and the unknown words should not interfere the understanding of the text. The texts are to be 3-5 minutes in long.”

So for achievement of the purpose of training at school, it is necessary for the graduates to understand a foreign speech and equally take an active part in the conversation or talking. But there are some certain experiences that testifies the most difficult for the graduates is understanding the oral speech or listening.

The reason here lies in the substance of auding, because the process of auding is the only one type of the speech activities, at which on behalf of, her performing, depends nothing. As the subject of the message and language means are defined by the speaker, the recipient is forced to perceive message in that type, as it is transmitted. The listening person is powerless to change anything in this activity, to make it easier or more understandable to adapt the information and so to create favourable conditions for the pupils. Listening requires tensed mental activity, usually causes a quick fatigue and switching-off of attention of listening. The conditions of activity adverse for recipient make difficult taking possession of the information. As overall objective of training is preparation of trained to voice dialogue in natural conditions, process of training will be only then purposeful and effective, when the pupils already during training faced difficulties of natural speech and learned to overcome them.

Based on specific features of listening as one of the most difficult types of speech activity, in this work we should point out the main difficulties and indicate the ways of their overcoming.

There are different points of view on the problem of the speed of speech in teaching auding a foreign language. The most convincing is the approach suggested by N.V. Elukhina.

2.1 Psychological features of listening and its connection with other types of speech activity

In the given paragraph we will consider the connection of listening with other types of speech activity, as well as its psychological features as a whole.

We will begin from term itself: so, term “auding” was entered to the literature by American psychologist Brown. Listening is the ability of understanding the audible speech. It represents perceptive cogitative mental activity[26,23]. Listening take an important place at the early stage. The deep understanding of auding enables to reach.

The changes the teacher must bring about in his pupils may be threefold:

Practical -- pupils acquire habits and skills in using a foreign language;

Educationa1 -- they develop their mental abilities and intelligence in the process of learning the foreign language;

Cultura1 -- pupils extend their knowledge of the world in which they live.

Therefore there are three aims, at least, each should be achieved in foreign language teaching: practical, educational, and cultural.

It allows to train the pupils to listen attentively closely to sounding speech, to form ability to anticipate semantic content and in such a manner, to educate culture to hear not only on foreign, but also on native language. Educational value of formation of ability to understand speech influences at the same time and developing, and has the positive affects on the development of the memory of a pupil, and first of all acoustical memory, in so important not only for studying of foreign language, but also for any other subject.

Listening introduces its contribution to the achievement of educational purpose, supplying the opportunity to understand statements or utterances on the language of other people, in this case in English, one of the most widely spread languages of the world. Auding itself serves as a powerful facility of training a foreign language. It enables to acquire by sound party of the language, its phonemic composition and intonation: by pace, accent, melody. In this case it is possible to compare the learning of the foreign language with the native language by means of listening. It is well known that the child acquires the language unconsciously, and by means of imitation and mere repetition. During his first years through acoustical channel huge amount of the information passes and is acquired, all of this should be taken into account at training to listening of speaking another language speech, because it is possible to find enough analogs with auding of native speech.

Through listening the pupils get acquainted with the lexical composition of the language and its grammatical structure. At the same time the process of auding makes it easier or simpler to teach the pupils speaking, reading and writing and is one of the main reasons of using this process as additional, and sometimes as the main means of training these types of speech activity. In order to train the pupils auding, it is necessary to understand clearly that this type of activity is from the psychological point of view. So, semantic perception of speech is perceptive, cogitative-metical activity which is implemented as a result of performance of whole series of difficult logical operations, such, for example, is analysis, synthesis, deduction, induction, comparison, abstraction, concrete definition and others, Characterizing the substance of perception (acoustical and visual), there should be distinguished two concepts: perception - process of allocation of informative distinctive signs (i.e. formation of images) and learning - identification of generated image. Analysing features of the identification psychologists point to the fact that in most instances it does not have nature of extensive conscious action; if such action and it is possible, then it is observed just at the stage of formation of the image. In accordance with acquainting with the material process of the identification changes, it is implemented instantaneously with the aid of the most necessary informative signs. If these signs are not enough and identification was not held either it turned out to be mistaken, then perception accepts again more extensive forms and transforms to conscious perceptive action or to a series of sequential actions.

At listening phrase as one of the units of perception is understood not by the way of analysis and subsequent synthesis of components of its words, and as a result of recognition of informative signs. The most informative sign is considered to be the intonation, as it possesses “perceived qualities”, due to which the auditor can segment speech to syntactic blocks, to understand communication of parts of the phrase, and consequently from here it is necessary to open content, representation about intonation as one of the guiding lines at understanding of speech. The intonation is one of the main structural signs, in which the communicative types of the sentence differ: narration, question, exclamation.

During the process of listening of speech on the native language mostly statement sense is predicted. Form and content form in this instance a total unity. At perception of speaking another language speech of such unity it is not observed. Language form for a long period of time remains an unreliable buttered leg for semantic forecasting, though the attention of listening exactly concentrates on it.

Based on the results of experimental data it is possible to point out two reasons that lead to the complicating acoustical perception and understanding:

1) The pupils direct their attention only to the common content and miss to catch the secondary information;

2) The pupils are quick to change their attention from language form to the content of the text.

The second case is the most typical of listening or emotionally stated texts. Saying in one word, auding connected with understanding of strange ideas and concept underlying the statement, assumes presence enough high level of development of lexical, grammatical and phonetic automatic actions.

Listening of speech messages is connected with the memory activity. The memory is attributed to sensitive knowledge by the person of world around. As opposed to them, thinking and speech name the ways of rational, or mental, world knowledge. The concept memory itself can be split to following components: short-term memory represents the way of storage of the information during short period; operational memory designed for storage of the information during determined, preset term is named, within the range of from a few seconds, to a few days; long-term is a memory, capable to store information during practically unlimited term. With the use of her for remembering rather often thinking and will effort is required (therefore, her functioning is not limited); visual memory is connected with preservation and reproduction of visions. Given type of the memory assumes ability advanced at person to imagination; acoustical memory is a good storing and accurate reproduction of diverse sounds, musical and voice. It is characterized that the person by her can memorize quickly and accurately sense of presented to it of text and so forth; emotional memory is a memory to experiences. Directly strength of storing of material is based on it: the fact that at person causes emotional experiences, is stored to them without specific labour and for more long term. Specified types of the memory play a basic role in training to listening, without their sufficient development it is impossible to learn not only the speech but the in language in general.

From early childhood development of the child's memory is led on a few directions[41,69]. First, mechanical memory is completed gradually and is replaced by the logic. Second, direct learning is connected with activity and is realized use for storing and reproduction of various means and receptions. Third, spontaneous storing dominating in the childhood, at adult person transforms to arbitrary. On the middle stage arbitrary and spontaneous storing are equal to each other.

Now we will consider the strong influence of the memory as psychological process to learning ability of auding.

Impressions which the person receives about the around world, leave some certain traces, and they are preserved, are fixed, and if it is necessary and there are the opportunities - are reproduced. These processes are named memory. As it was mentioned above, the person has two types of the memory: arbitrary, logical and meaningful, The first is connected with wide strong-willed control of learning, the second - with use of logic, third with use of diverse means of memoring mostly presented as the subjects of material and intellectual culture. During the process of listening there could be involved short-term, long-term and operational memory:

Short-term memory which supplies holding of the information on all phases of process of perception, until her processing and receipt of part of the information to long-term memory. The last is called to store given images of words, word combinations and syntactic structures, rules and the schemes of their connection. Due to it there takes place the correct understanding of phrase structure and communicative type of the sentences. Short-term memory is necessary to compare the images, following one after another with some time interval. In order to understand correctly the speech message, one is to keep in his mind all the words and phrases and to connect them into one common signal one after another.

These functions are fulfilled by the operational memory.

Short-term memory and operational memory fulfill the role. They assist receipt of part of the information to long-term memory, and success of performance of this function depends on qualitative and quantitative selection, from way of introduction the material and its confirming. From these we may come to the conclusion that the main mental processes, need during the listening are the follows: memory, imagination, perception and thinking. So the main part or even the essence of the teacher's work is taking into the account these mental features of the person.

2.2 The main difficulties in understanding the oral speech

In this paragraph we make target to consider the main difficulties in understanding and perception of the oral speech. Listening is not an easy type of speech activity at all. As the learning of the foreign language and development of auding skills are implemented mainly through listening, so it causes the largest difficulties. Auding is the only type of speech activity, at which on behalf of its performing, almost nothing depends. So to overcome these difficulties at training to listening and to form on this base skills promoting successful functioning in natural conditions of given type of voice activity, it is necessary to clarify that these difficulties can be caused [16,18]:

1) by nature of language material;

2) by language form of the message;

3) with semantic contents of the message or composition;

4) with the conditions of presentation the message;

5) with the sources of the information;

6) difficulties concerning the listener, his additive experience.

It is to be noted that some methodologists consider 4) and 6) to extra linguistic, and 1), 2), 3), 5) - to linguistic difficulties. So it is necessary to describe each of items more closely:

2.2.1 Difficulties caused by the nature of language material

Difficulties caused by the nature of language material, in turn can be separated as follows: a) phonetic, b) lexical and c) grammatical difficulties.

a) Phonetic difficulties of informal speech sometimes are considered the main, if not the only ones.

Phonetic difficulties can be both common for all foreign languages, and specific for a separate foreign language. The common difficulty lies in the absence of sharp boundary between sounds in the word and between words in the sentences; and in presence in the foreign languages of such phonemes which are not exist in native language. Discrepancy between spelling and words pronunciation particularly is typical for the English language.

Phonetic difficulties appear because the phonic system of English and Russian differ greatly. The hearer often interprets the sounds of a foreign language as if they were of his own language which usually results in misunderstanding.

The following opposites present much trouble to beginners in learning English. Pupils also find it difficult to discriminate such opposites as: o: -- o, a -- A, i: -- i, u: -- u. They can hardly differentiate the following words by ear: worked -- walked; first -- fast -- forced; lion -- line; tired -- tide; bought -- boat -- board.

The difference in intonation often prevents pupils from comprehending a communication. For example, Good morning (when meeting); Good morning (at parting). The teacher, therefore, should develop his pupils' ear for English sounds and intonation.

In foreigner's speech familiar words change a usual sounding in response to progressive or regressive assimilation. Deep penetration into context is required by multiple-meaning words, paronyms (which differs only with one sound), antonyms and synonyms. During the perception of such words it is necessary to keep in the memory all context or situation, otherwise the word acquired earlier and better, is heard instead of others. Words, sounding as the words of native language, but having different value, are understand hardly.

б) To the lexical difficulties it is necessary first of all to refer the presence in English language of homonyms (hour - our) and homophones. Great difficulty is caused as well by the word, very much alike on sound form, particularly paronyms (economic-economical), words expressing pair concepts (answer - ask, give-take, west-east), words having identical combinability, or simply for the first time met beside, - to put it otherwise all that it is possible to confuse. Lexical difficulties are closely connected with the phonetic ones. Pupils often misunderstand words because they hear them wrong. For example: The horse is slipping. The horse is sleeping. They worked till night. They walked till night.

The opposites are often misunderstood, for the learners often take one word for another. For example: east-- west, take -- put; ask -- answer. The most difficult words for listening are the verbs with postpositions, such as: put on, put off, put down, take off, see off, go in for, etc.


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