Teaching listening skill
The importance of listening skills in methodological research. Theoretical background of listening skill. The nature of the listening process. Teaching listening skills to young learners through "listen and do" songs. Listening skills and young learners.
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The teaching of listening has attracted a greater level of interest in recent years than it did in the past. Now, university entrance exams, exit exams, and other examinations often include a listening component, acknowledging that listening
skills are a core component of second-language proficiency, and also reflecting the
assumption that if listening isn't tested, teachers won't teach it.
Later views of listening drew on the field of cognitive psychology, which introduced the notions of bottom-up and top-down processing and brought attention to the role of prior knowledge and schema in comprehension.
To understand the nature of listening processes, we need to consider some of the characteristics of spoken discourse and the special problems they pose for listeners. Spoken discourse has very different characteristics from written discourse, and these differences can add a number of dimensions to our understanding of how we process speech. For example, spoken discourse is usually instantaneous. The listener must process it “online” and there is often no chance to listen to it again
Underwood (1989) offers seven conceivable causes of obstacles to efficient listening comprehension:
First, listeners cannot control the speed of delivery. Underwood says, "Many English language learners believe that the greatest difficulty with listening comprehension, as opposed to reading comprehension, is that the listener cannot control how quickly a speaker speaks".
Second, listeners cannot always have words repeated. This is a serious learning problem in situations.
Third, listeners have a limited vocabulary. The speaker may choose words the listener does not know.
Fourth, listeners may fail to recognize the signals, which indicate that the speaker is moving from one point to another. In informal situations or spontaneous conversations, signals are vaguer as in pauses, gestures, increased loudness and etc. These signals can easily be missed especially by less proficient listeners.
Fifth, listeners may lack contextual knowledge. Sharing mutual knowledge and common context makes communication easier. Even if listeners understand the surface meaning of the text they may have considerable difficulties in comprehending the whole meaning of the passage unless they are familiar with the context. Nonverbal cues, such as facial expression, nods, gestures, or tone of voice, can also be easily misinterpreted by listeners from different cultures.
Sixth, it can be difficult for listeners to concentrate in a foreign language. Concentration is easier when students find the topic of the listening passage interesting however, students sometimes feel listening is very tiring even if they are interested because it requires an enormous amount of effort to follow the meaning.
Seventh and last, students may have established certain learning habits, such as a wish to understand every word. By tradition, teachers want students to understand every word they hear by repeating and pronouncing words carefully. Consequently, students tend to become worried if they fail to understand a particular word phrase and they will be discouraged by the failure.
The aim of my course work is to draw up some guidelines for solving these problems and developing listening ability.
Listening avidity develops through face-to-face interaction;
Listening develops through focusing on meaning and trying to learn new and important content in the target language.
Listening avidity develops through work on comprehension activities.
Listening avidity develops through attention to accuracy and an analysis of form.
The more we give different activities to our learners the more successful they will be in listening.
The material for this will consist mainly of:
a) Stories, anecdotes, talks, commentaries
b) Conversations, discussion, plays
d) Videos and films
This work explores approaches to the teaching of listening and speaking in light of the kinds of issues discussed in the preceding paragraphs. My goal is to examine what applied linguistics research and theory says about the nature of listening skills, and then to explore and introduce some listening methods and activities for classroom teaching
1. THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING SKILLS IN METHODOLOGICAL RESEARCH
listening skill learner teaching
1.1 Methodological research
The importance of listening skill in the process of learning a foreign language has been emphasized in various models and theories of foreign language learning. Krashen and Terrell (1983), for example, stated that all foreign language acquisition takes place through receiving comprehensible input that is slightly above the learners' present level, that is, through reading and listening to the foreign language. Some teaching methods, such as Total Physical Response, rely heavily on the listening input at the beginning stages of learning a language (Richards & Rodgers, 1986). Although listening is very important at the beginner's level, its importance does not diminish as the learners progress to more advanced levels of language proficiency. Practicing listening at all stages of learning not only develops this skill but also expands and consolidates other elements of language knowledge, such as vocabulary, grammar and intonation. However, while the importance of listening in language learning is widely recognized today, there are different views as to how to approach the teaching of listening. While some authors, such as Krashen and Terrell (1983), believe in the value of mere exposure to spoken language during which learners unconsciously develop their listening skills and acquire other elements of the foreign language, other authors, such as Rost (1990, 1994) and Ur (1984), agree that in order for learners to benefit from practicing listening, it is necessary to develop this skill in a direct and systematic way.
Listening is an active process. According to Rogers and Farson (1986), `active' means `the listener has a very definite responsibility of trying to grasp the facts and feelings in what s/he hears.' (p. 149). From this point of view, it can be concluded that a listener should do her/his best to be a good listener. Then, what is `being a good listener?' or `an effective listener?' Throughout history, effective speaking has been accepted as an important talent. However receptive behavior, in particular listening, matters as well. Several studies give two reasons to support this. First, effective listening allows the listener to have access to other's beliefs, objectives, knowledge and attitudes as this kind of information is disclosed to an effective listener (Bavelas, Coates & Johnson, 2000; Miller, Berg &Archer, 1983). Second, effective listening provides important relational assets such as setting up trust, sincerity and creditability between the agent and the listener (Blader & Tyler, 2003; Detert & Burris, 2007; Yukl, Kim &Falbe, 1996).Purdy (1997) lists seven features for an effective listener:
1.Willingness to listen
2.Focus the attention
3.Being aware (perceptive) during listening
4.Doing interpretation (both verbal and non-verbal cues)
5.Consciously working to remember
6.Responding with feedback
7.Caring about the relationship during listening
He makes a definition of listening in accordance with the above mentioned features. According to him, `listening is the active and dynamic process of attending perceiving, interpreting, remembering and responding to the expressed (verbal and nonverbal) needs, concerns, and information offered by other human beings.' (p.4).
During 70's and early 80's several researchers investigated `the time devoted to listening during daily communication and language learning process' (Barker, Edwards, Gaines, Gladney & Holley, 1980; Gilbert,1988; Rivers, 1981; Weaver, 1972). They all concluded that listening is by far the most important human activity and language skill which merits more extensive concentration.
The importance of listening skill in EFL learning is undeniable since the elixir of acquiring a language is to gain language input (Hamouda, 2013). When we process and decode auditory input, it necessitates knowledge of perception. However, when we encode and generate speech output, it necessitates retrieval knowledge (Vandergrift, 1999). Listening comprehension is an immensely integrative skill and it plays a vital role in the process of language learning, promoting the rise of other language skills. As a result, consciousness and formation of proper listening comprehension strategies can aid learners to benefit from the language input they are receiving, Vandergrift (1999) clearly mentions. It is a fact that listening is highly necessary in language learning in that it supplies the learner with the required input and learners can't acquire any thing without the comprehension of the speci?c input (Hamouda, 2013). To gain much authentic input of the target language, students can listen to songs, radio channels or watch any video in the target language; however learning may not be achieved totally as sometimes instructions aren't presented appropriately by the materials (Dey, 2014). Teachers won't present brilliant listening classes if there aren't proper elements such as appropriate apparatus, classroom setting and students' motivation and interest. However, it must be recalled that even if the gears are su?cient it is necessary to have entry into listening materials opted according to the grades and needs of the students as well (Andrade, 2006).
In their study, Nowrouzi and others (2015) have found out that distraction and missing sounds or words linked to perception, chunking complications and sentence dismissing from mind in the process of analysis, also bewilderment about the main idea related to utilization are the ?rst coming problems in listening comprehension activities. EFL listening has always been an ignored skill in both research and practice when compared to reading skill; it is crystal clear that listening is weaker in literature when compared to that of reading comprehension (Nunan, 1997).
Al-Thiyabi (2014) formed a need analysis for EFL listening in his study as in the following:
need to learn how to take e?ective notes and how to ask for repetition or clari?cation in English
need to identify lengthy description in English and instructions as well
need to recognize the subject matter of a talk
need to identify di?erent accents and pronunciation due to the variety of students'
teachers' background need to learn and use new and di?erent vocabularies and terminologies that are related to di?erent areas
Moreover, Al-Thiyabi (2014) puts forward some frequent problems of learners as well as reasons blocking their listening comprehension skill such as hasty speaking, unknown words, and weird pronunciation, adding that such problems are severe and ought to be overcome to enhance learner's listening competency level. Students' prior knowledge of the second or foreign language, motivation and learning strategies, the teachers' teaching methods, classroom environment, classroom facilities all form the most crucial parts of the students' views about the origins of their low listening comprehension performance according to what Bennui (2007)states. It is crucial that EFL instructors boost learners' employment of strategies like individual knowledge and mental translation (Al-Alwan, Asassfeh and Al-Shboul, 2013). According to Tyagi (2013) listening skill contains some essential elements such as:
discriminating between sounds
recognizing words and understanding their meaning
identifying grammatical groupings of words,
identifying expressions and sets of utterances that act to create meaning,
connecting linguistic cues to non-linguistic and paralinguistic cues,
using background knowledge to predict and to con?rm meaning and
recalling important words and ideas.
In her study, Osuka (2008) found out that the most outstanding element that hinders Japanese EFL students' listening comprehension skill appears to be hasty rates of speech and students' incompetence to grasp English sounds. She adds that a slower speech rate could assist learners to understand better, particularly at lower levels. Besides, further ways of enhancing listening skill contain supplying questions connected to the main ideas, and presenting background info as to the topic. Teaching listening skill, particularly for starters, should concentrate on listening practice initially and gradually include speaking practice based on learners' learning progress. Moreover, teaching listening in EFL context ought to contain some methods or strategies like Suggestopedia making students employ progressive relaxation, deep breathing, or meditation, and also Jazz Chant getting students to employ music (Huei-Chun, 1998). Listening strategies are techniques or activities which supplement the comprehension of listening skill input (Tyagi, 2013)
1.2 Theoretical background of listening skill
For many years, listening skills did not receive priority in language teaching. Teaching methods emphasized productive skills, and the relationship between receptive and productive skills was poorly understood. Until recently, the nature of listening in a second language was ignored by applied linguists, and it was often assumed that listening skills could be acquired through exposure but not really taught. This position has been replaced by an active interest in the role of listening comprehension in second language acquisition, by the development of powerful theories of the nature of language comprehension, and by the inclusion of carefully developed listening courses in many ESL programs. Some applied linguists go so far as to argue that listening comprehension is at the core of second language acquisition and therefore demands a much greater prominence in language teaching. The papers in this section explore the nature of second language listening and principles for the design of teaching activities and classroom materials.
Listening is the Cinderella skill in second language learning. All too often, it has been overlooked by its elder sister - speaking. For most people, being able to claim knowledge of a second language means being able to speak and write in that language. Listening and reading are therefore secondary skills - means to other ends, rather than ends in themselves.
Every so often, however, listening comes into fashion. In the 1960s, the emphasis on oral language skills gave it a boost. It became fashionable again in the 1980s, when Krashen's (1982) ideas about comprehensible input gained prominence. A short time later, it was reinforced by James Asher's (1988) Total Physical Response, a methodology drawing sustenance from Krashen's work, and based on the belief that a second language is learned most effectively in the early stages if the pressure for production is taken off the learners. During the 1980s, proponents of listening in a second language were also encouraged by work in the first language field. Here, people such as Gillian Brown (see, for example, Brown, 1990) were able to demonstrate the importance of developing oracy (the ability to listen and speak) as well as literacy, in school. Prior to this, it was taken for granted that first language speakers needed instruction in how to read and write, but not in how to listen and speak, because these skills were automatically bequeathed to them as native speakers
Related to research in the classroom, Griffiths and Parr (2001), Nunan (1986), Hawkey (2006), and O'Malley et al. (1985) examine the differences between language learners' and teachers' perceptions of language learning, and what actually is happening in the classroom. Griffiths and Parr (2001) discuss a study that showed parallel results to that of Nunan's (1986) study. Like Nunan's research, the Griffiths and Parr study which examined students' and teachers' perceptions of language learning strategies used, revealed discrepancies between students' and teachers' perceptions. While teachers believed that the students used memory strategies the most and were less reliant on cognitive strategies, students, on the other hand, reported that they primarily used social strategies and memory strategies the least - the exact opposite of what teachers believed they used.
Nunan (1986, 2000) also discussed the mismatch between teachers' and learners' expectations of the classroom. Using interviews and classroom observation as research tools, Nunan probed teachers' perceptions of what they felt is important in the learning process. While teachers believed in using communicative oriented activities, students, on the other hand, were found to value traditional learning activities more. Of the 10 learning activities researched by Nunan, only one (i.e., conversation) was selected by both teachers and students as important in the learning process.
Hawkey's (2006) study, which employed quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, also found differences between teachers' and students' perceptions of activities that took place in their classrooms. While both groups agreed on the importance of communicative approaches for language learning, both the teachers and students reported differences in the way they perceived grammar and pair work in their classes.
O'Malley and colleagues (1985) similarly found differences between teachers' beliefs on students' use of language learning strategies in the classroom versus students' perception of language learning strategies used. While students reported using a variety of language learning strategies, teachers “were generally unaware of their students' strategies” (p.20).
The recognition of the importance of language learning strategies began in 1975, and since then various frameworks to examine learners' reported language learning strategies have been designed. Oxford's (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning, and O'Malley and colleagues' (1985) list of language learning strategies are two such frameworks. This study uses the description of language learning strategies put forth by O'Malley and colleagues (1985) and adapts it for discussing listening strategies in this paper.
Insights from research and views expressed by Berne (1996), Griffiths and Parr (2001), Hawkey (2006), Mendelsohn (2001a), Nunan (1986), and O'Malley and colleagues (1985) support the points expressed earlier - that a discrepancy does exist between research and actual practice in the classroom.
1.3 The nature of the listening process
Listening is assuming greater and greater importance in foreign language сclassrooms. There are several reasons for this growth in popularity. By emphasizing the role of comprehensible input, second language acquisition research has given a major boost to listening. As Rost 238 0521808294c21 CY011.cls December 5, 2001 11:12 Listening in Language Learning 239 (1994, pp. 141-142) points out, listening is vital in the language classroom because it provides input for the learner. Without understanding input at the right level, any learning simply cannot begin. Listening is thus fundamental to speaking.
Two views of listening have dominated language pedagogy since the early 1980s. These are the bottom-up processing view and the top-down interpretation view.
The bottom-up processing model assumes that listening is a process of decoding the sounds that one hears in a linear fashion, from the smallest eaningful units (phonemes) to complete texts. According to this view, phonemic units are decoded and linked together to form words, words are linked together to form phrases, phrases are linked together to form utterances, and utterances are linked together to form complete, meaningful texts. In other words, the process is a linear one, in which meaning itself is derived as the last step in the process. In their introduction to listening, Anderson and Lynch (1988) call this the `listener as tape recorder view' of listening because it assumes that the listener takes in and stores messages sequentially, in much the same way as a tape recorder - one sound, one word, one phrase, and one utterance at a time.
The alternative, top-down view suggests that the listener actively constructs (or, more accurately, reconstructs) the original meaning of the speaker using incoming sounds as clues. In this reconstruction process, the listener uses prior knowledge of the context and situation within which the listening takes place to make sense of what he or she hears. Context and situation include such things as knowledge of the topic at hand, the speaker or speakers, and their relationship to the situation, as well as to each other and prior events.
These days, it is generally recognized that both bottom-up and top-down strategies are necessary. In developing courses, materials, and lessons, it is important to teach not only bottom-up processing skills, such as the ability to discriminate between minimal pairs, but also to help learners use what they already know to understand what they hear. If teachers suspect that there are gaps in their learners' knowledge, the listening itself can be preceded by schema-building activities to prepare learners for the listening task to come.
There are many different types of listening, which can be classified according to a number of variables, including purpose for listening, the role of the listener, and the type of text being listened to. These variables are mixed in many different configurations, each of which will require a particular strategy on the part of the listener.
Listening purpose is an important variable. Listening to a news broadcast to get a general idea of the news of the day involves different processes and strategies from listening to the same broadcast for specific information, such as the results of an important sporting event. Listening to a sequence of instructions for operating a new piece of computer software requires different listening skills and strategies from listening to a poem or a short story. In designing listening tasks, it is important to teach learners to adopt a flexible range of listening strategies. This can be done by holding the listening text constant (working, say, with a radio news broadcast reporting a series of international events) and getting learners to listen to the text several times - however, following different instructions each time. They might, in the first instance, be required to listen for gist, simply identifying the countries where the events have taken place. The second time they listen, they might be required to match the places with a list of events. Finally, they might be required to listen for detail, discriminating between specific aspects of the event, or perhaps comparing the radio broadcast with newspaper accounts of the same events and noting discrepancies or differences of emphasis.
Another way of characterizing listening is in terms of whether the listener is also required to take part in the interaction. This is known as reciprocal listening. When listening to a monologue, either live or through the media, the listening is, by definition, nonreciprocal. The listener (often to his or her frustration) has no opportunity of answering back, clarifying understanding, or checking that he or she has comprehended correctly. In the real world, it is 0521808294c21 CY011.cls December 5, 2001 11:12 240 David Nunan rare for the listener to be cast in the role of nonreciprocal “eavesdropper” on a conversation. However, in the listening classroom, this is the normal role.
There was a time when listening in language classes was perceived chiefly as a means of presenting new grammar. Dialogues on tape provided examples of structures to be learned, and this was the only type of listening practice most learners received. Ironically, much effort was spent on training learners to express themselves orally. Sight was lost of the fact that one is (to say the least) rather handicapped in conversation unless one can follow what
is being said, as well as speak. From the late 1960s, practitioners recognized the importance of listening and began to set aside time for practicing the skill. A relatively standard format for the listening lesson developed at this time:
Pre-teaching of all important new vocabulary in the passage
Extensive listening (followed by general questions establishing context)
Intensive listening (followed by detailed comprehension questions)
Analysis of the language in the text (Why did the speaker use the present perfect?)
Listen and repeat: teacher pauses the tape, learners repeat words
Pre-listening critical words.
Pre-teaching of vocabulary has now largely been discontinued. In real life, learners cannot expect unknown words to be explained in advance; instead, they have to learn to cope with situations where part of what is heard will not be familiar. Granted, it may be necessary for the teacher to present three or four critical words at the beginning of the listening lesson - but `critical' implies absolutely indispensable key words without which any understanding of the text would be impossible.
Pre-listening activities Some kind of pre-listening activity is now usual, involving brainstorming vocabulary, reviewing areas of grammar, or discussing the topic of the listening text. This phase of the lesson usually lasts longer than it should. A long pre-listening session shortens the time available for listening. It can also be counterproductive. Extended discussion of the topic can result in much of the content of the listening passage being anticipated. Revising language points in advance encourages learners to focus on examples of these particular items when listening - sometimes at the expense of global meaning.
One should set two simple aims for the pre-listening period:
1. to provide sufficient context to match what would be available in real life
2. to create motivation (perhaps by asking learners to speculate on what they will hear)
Listening the intensive/extensive distinction.
Most practitioners have retained the extensive/intensive distinction. On a similar principle, international examinations usually specify that the recording is to be played twice. Some theorists argue that this is unnatural because in real life one gets only one hearing. But the whole situation of listening to a cassette in a language classroom is, after all, artificial. Furthermore, listening to a strange voice, especially one speaking in a foreign language, demands a process of normalisation of adjusting to the pitch, speed, and quality of the voice. An initial period of extensive listening allows for this.
We no longer spend time examining the grammar of the listening text; that reflected a typically structura list view of listening as a means of reinforcing recently learned material. However, it remains worthwhile to pick out any functional language and draw learners' attention to it. (`Susan threatened John. Do you remember the words she used?'). Listening texts often provide excellent examples of functions such as apologising, inviting, refusing, suggesting, and so on. The `listen-and-repeat' phase has been dropped as well - on the argument that it is tantamount to parroting. This is not entirely fair: In fact, it tested the ability of learners to achieve lexical segmentation - to identify individual words within the stream of sound. But one can understand that it does not accord well with current communicative thinking. As part of post-listening, one can ask learners to infer the meaning of new words from the contexts in which they appear - just as they do in reading. The procedure is to write the target words on the board, replay the sentences containing them, and ask learners to work out their meanings. Some teachers are deterred from employing this vocabulary-inferring exercise by the difficulty of finding the right places on the cassette. A simple solution is to copy the sentences to be used onto a second cassette.
2. TEACHING LISTENING SKILLS TO YOUNG LEARNERS THROUGH “LISTEN AND DO” SONGS
If it's true that listening skills are the most important outcomes of early language teaching (Demirel 2004), that explains the constant demand for methods that successfully improve listening skills of learners. Songs can be one of the most enjoyable ways to practice and develop listening skills. Any syllabus designed for teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) to young learners (YLs) typically contains songs, chants, and rhymes (Bourke 2006). Musical expression is an essential part of the human experience, and children respond enthusiastically to songs and welcome them. Klein (2005) argues that teaching YLs is different from teaching adults. YLs tend to change their mood every other minute, and they find it extremely difficult to sit still. On the other hand, children show greater motivation than adults to do things that appeal to them. It therefore helps if the teacher is inventive and selects a wide variety of interesting activities, especially with songs.
The purpose of this part is two fold: I will first provide a theoretical discussion about listening skills and YLs, and about songs and YLs in general; second, I will provide a sample lesson for what can be called “Listen and Do” songs for YLs at the beginning level. These are the songs to which students physically respond by performing an action (e.g., a song contains the words “wake up,” and whenever students hear “wake up” they perform an action, such as raising their hands). Teachers around the world can apply this lesson to songs of their own choice to make students active participants in the listening activity from start to finish. Following the lesson plan is a short list of online song resources for teaching young ESL/EFL learners.
2.1 Listening skills and young learners
Listening is the receptive use of language, and since the goal is to make sense of the speech, the focus is on meaning rather than language (Cameron 2001). Sar?coban (1999) states that listening is the ability to identify and understand what others are saying. For learners, listening is how spoken language becomes input (i.e., it is the first stage of learning a new language). In the classroom, this happens by listening to the teacher, a CD, or other learners. It is the process of interpreting messages--what people say.
Two theories of speech perception portray listeners as having very different roles. In the first view, listeners play a passive role and simply recognize and decode sounds, and in the second view, listeners play an active role and perceive sounds by accessing internal articulation rules to decode speech (Crystal 1997). Whether speech perception is active or passive, or a combination of both, Phillips (1993) says that listening tasks are extremely important in the primary school setting, providing a rich source of language data from which children begin to build up their own ideas of how the foreign language works. This knowledge is a rich source that YLs draw on to produce language.
Listening is the initial stage in first and second language acquisition. According to Sharpe (2001), the promotion of children's speaking and listening skills lies at the heart of effective learning in all subjects of the primary curriculum. Therefore, ESL/EFL teachers have to make the development of children's listening skills a key aim of primary teaching and equip them with the best strategies for effective listening.
Linse (2005) also considers the teaching of listening skills as foundational to the development of other language skills. We should, however, be aware that any kind of listening comprehension activity needs to be well guided with clear aims. To this end, Ur (1996) argues that a listening purpose should be provided in the definition of a pre-set task. The definition of a purpose (a defined goal, as in the “wake up” example) enables the listener to listen selectively for significant information. Providing the students with some idea of what they are going to hear and what they are asked to do with it helps them to succeed in the task; it also raises motivation and interest. The fact that learners are active during the listening, rather than waiting until the end to do something, keeps the learners busy and helps prevent boredom.
2.2 Songs and young learners
The most prominent features of songs that reinforce language acquisition include their rhythmic and repetitive nature and the joy that the association between melody and content brings to the learning activity. Children have a keen awareness of rhythm, and they have not yet experienced the anxiety that can accompany learning a second language (Krashen 1981). Therefore, songs are considered to be a sine qua non of teaching ESL/EFL to YLs. I feel that among the many advantages of using songs in YL ESL/EFL classrooms, the most striking ones are the following.
Songs are key to primary practice
Most primary school teachers generally use songs as a teaching technique, and Cameron (2001) claims that the use of songs and rhymes is also important for YLs in foreign language classrooms. Likewise, John - stone (2002) claims that teachers of YLs may make an important contribution to children's early language education by introducing their classes to recorded songs. Demirel (2004) makes the strongest claim when he argues that the most effective way to teach listening comprehension, pronunciation, and dictation to YLs is through teaching songs.
Songs create a safe and natural classroom ethos.
According to Cullen (1998, 1999), songs are significant teaching tools in teaching ESL/EFL because, as most teachers find out, students love listening to music in the language class - room and they often hold strong views about music. This affinity with music makes songs vital tools to create a safe and natural class - room ethos and to overcome feelings of shy - ness and hesitation on the part of the learners. Because of their limited attention span, YLs need a variety of activities. YLs are often shy, and they should join in classroom activities when they feel ready rather than when the teacher demands--an opportunity that songs create (Djigunovich and Vilke 2000). The learning characteristics of YLs also reveal a need to develop a strong emotional attachment to their teacher. Listen and Do songs support this attachment since the students and the teacher are physically involved in doing the same actions; that is, they share a common experience. The students' education, including language education, is a process in which they should be encouraged to contribute physically, emotionally, and intellectually. This type of learning environment is best achieved when the teacher creates a safe, nonthreatening context within which learners can play with language.
Songs provide opportunities for repetition and practice.
Songs provide excellent opportunities for repetition and practice that might otherwise be tedious. Repetition of language is pleasurable--such as repeating choruses, or singing cumulative songs where each verse borrows words from a previous verse (e.g., “The Twelve Days of Christmas”). This repetition, most often accompanied by physical actions, helps learning and in turn leads to familiar - ity so that children feel comfortable with the foreign language (Rumley 1999). In addition, as argued by Sharpe (2001), by singing songs pupils gradually internalize the structures and patterns of the foreign language as well as the specific language items that the teacher wants them to learn.
Songs provide opportunities for real language use.
According to Sharpe (2001), songs provide an occasion for real language use in a fun and enjoyable situation. She claims that singing is a vital part of the life of a young child, inside and outside the school, and incorporating the foreign language into this fundamental activity is another way of normalizing it. Young children readily imitate sounds and often pleasurably associate singing and playing with rhythms and rhymes from an early age. Schoepp (2001) believes that the follow - ing three patterns emerge from the research on why songs are valuable in the ESL/EFL classroom:
1. Affective reasons: A positive attitude and environment enhance language learning. Songs are an enjoyable activity that contribute to a supportive, non-threatening setting with confident and active learners.
2. Cognitive reasons: Songs contribute to fluency and the automatic use of meaningful language structures.
3. Linguistic reasons: In addition to building fluency, songs provide exposure to a wide variety of the authentic language students will eventually face in nonacademic settings.
2.3 A lesson plan for listen and do songs
Before you start teaching any song, ascertain that the classroom CD player is ready for use and that every student can hear equally well. If you are going to use handouts, distribute them to the students but tell them not to read the lyrics until after the first listening. If you are using a textbook, tell the students the page number. If you do not have a textbook or access to a photocopier, you may write the lyrics on the board or on a poster before you start.
Stage 1: Pre-teaching activities
According to Davies and Pearse (2000), this stage is useful to prepare the learners for what they are going to hear, just as we usually prepare for real-life situations. Important points to consider for this stage, mainly derived from my own teaching experience, are as follows:
* To get the students interested in the topic of the song and to warm them up, you can show a picture or other realia related to the song and ask the students what they think the song is about. Tolerate some native language use, as these are YLs and beginners.
* Next, read the title of the song aloud, and explain it through actions and visuals.
* Ask the students if they already know any words in English related to the title of the song. On the board, write any English words that the students mention.
* Finally, explain the unknown vocabulary from the song through actions and visuals. There are usually very colorful pictures in YLs' books, and it is timesaving to make use of them.
Stage 2: While-teaching activities
This stage is useful to help the learners understand the text through activities. As pointed out earlier, one advantage of Listen and Do songs is that students are active as they are listening. However, do not expect your students to learn the song and the accompanying actions in the first listening. They will need to listen to the song a few times.
Stage 3: Post-teaching activities
This stage is generally accepted as the stage when the teacher moves on from listening practice to focus on other language skills such as reading, speaking, and writing. In this context, Listen and Do songs are suitable for competitions, games, and simple drama activities.
Developing listening skills is a fundamental component of any ESL/EFL curriculum for YLs, and songs are regarded as one of the most effective techniques to this end. Songs have a definite place in the YL classroom; they provide meaningful and enjoyable language practice, especially in fostering listening skills. The hope is that the more songs YLs experience, the better language learners they will become. The effectiveness and importance of songs increase when they are used in combination with TPR, which involves game-like movements. It is my hope that the sample lesson plan in this article will bring songs to the attention of teachers of English to YLs and rein - force the practice of using songs in ESL/EFL contexts. It is important that ESL/EFL teachers understand the reasons for using songs in the YL classes and understand teaching procedures. Then they will discover their own reasons for and ways of using songs effectively and mean - in fully in their respective teaching contexts.
3. TEACHING LISTENING SKILLS THROUGH VIDEOS
3.1 Significance of the Study
The importance of this study is developing English listening skills to students from advanced level by the teaching material: videos. This strategy can be applied for teaching and learning in the English Language development skill area of the Foreign Language Department from beginner to advanced levels. There are benefits for the English teacher, students, and the English curriculum.
The benefit for teachers is using properly, videos in English as a Foreign Language classroom. First of all, videos are a supplementary tool for teaching listening that creates a center of attention to students. Videos stimulate students English listening skills. This way the teacher is using a variety of strategies, methods and techniques in the classroom to extend the students' attention. Listening strategies are techniques or activities that contribute directly to the comprehension and recall of listening input.
Listening strategies can be classified by how the listener processes the input, techniques are procedures or skills for carrying out or completing specific tasks, these can be classroom devices or activities: a method is a set of procedures that describe how to teach a language and a skill is a learned ability to perform something
Lastly, an effective listening advanced English class will be characterized by the following feature: the materials should be authentic similar to real life, or students should be eager to know what they are listening for. In the future, English teachers can help the students develop listening skills by providing various kinds of materials and activities in classroom.
Definitions of Terms Video: Video in language learning may mean the use of popular films on video to provide content, and the use of smaller pieces of broadcast materials such as short documentaries and television advertisements. It can refer to professionally produced tapes specifically written and designed for classroom instruction, as well as the use of news broadcasts to provide content and to teach specific features of authentic language. The video that can be used in the language classroom may be bought, or recorded from television. They can be films, cartoons documentaries news, weather. Interviews, games show, advertisements or commercials. These materials can be used for general course, listening practice, business English and so on.
3.2 Video and young learners
Young Learners who are students in early age around six to twelve, Alkhamali stated that, Young Learners is a term used to describe children of pre-primary and primary school age. Young Learners are often more enthusiastic and lively learners, Cameron notes that, Young Learners are like to please their teachers rather than their friends, they will do any activities even when they do not understand the reason therefore they also interest more quickly and are less able to keep themselves motivated on tasks they find are difficult. That are make Young children is very unique and attractive than adults. Phillips said that, how Young Learners, learn a new language, and even the technique to teach obviously depends on their developmental stage, Young Learners have their own responds to learn a new language, they react to foreign language according to what they can do with it, rather than treating it as an intellectual game or abstract system.
Based on the data gotten, since the nature of the children like to play and have fun, it is possible for the teachers to teach the students through the fun activity. One form of fun activities that the students know and familiar is video, and the simple form of video is movie. Through movie video and the fun activity make the students learn the language unconsciously, and in a fun way. Through video, the students can enhance their language skills such as listening, speaking and writing. These three skills are put in order, since the first skills that the students learn is listening to the voice on video , and after that the students learn to speak or pronounce the word on video, the last thing, the students learn to write the simple story from video. The activity is not only lead to the fun activity of the students but also the skills' development of the students. So, it can be concluded that teaching listening using video is considered as an alternative media used to improve the students' listening comprehension.
3.3 The role of video and criteria for selecting video for young learners
Role of video.
Once the decision has been made to use a video in class, thought should be given as to what purpose the video is being used for i.e. the role of the video. The way the video is used and the materials prepared for use with the video will depend on the role the video is to take. Below are four possible roles for video. ( Adapted from Willis' 6 roles for video 1983: 45)
Developing listening skills
Listening for global understanding, listening for detail.
To provide information
To provide content relevant to students' needs and interests.
Presenting or reinforcing language
Grammar, vocabulary, functions.
Stimulating language production
Video used as a basis for discussion, a model for learners to follow, a visual aid.
Criteria for selecting video
When selecting an authentic video for use in the classroom certain general criteria should be kept in mind.
Is the video interesting? Would a young native speaker want to watch this video?
Tomalin (1991: 50) 'The ideal video clip…… tells a complete story or section of a story'. This idea of completeness is important for young learners whose primary motivation for watching a video is enjoyment.
The length of the clip is important, it shouldn't be too long, perhaps between 30 seconds and 10 minutes depending on the learning objective.
Appropriateness of Content
The content should be suitable for Young Learners. How has the video been rated; 'Universal', 'Parental Guidance', for ages '13'or '18'? Would the video be suitable for viewing in all cultures?
Level of maturity
Children mature very quickly so a group of 7-year-olds watching a video made for 5-year-olds would probably regard it as 'too babyish'. On the other hand using a video intended for older children with a group of younger children might lead to the children not being able to understand the concepts in the video.
Availability of Related Materials
Many authentic videos now come with ready made materials that can be used for language teaching (Wallace and Gromit, the 'Speak Up' series of films in Spain.) Other videos may have been adapted from books, which could be used in the classroom to support the video. (The 'Spot' series and Eric Carlyle stories such as 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'.
If, however, the video is being used for presenting language or for comprehension tasks there are further factors which should be considered when selecting a video.
Degree of visual support
A good idea is to choose scenes that are very visual. The more visual a video is, the easier it is to understand - as long as the pictures illustrate what is being said.
Clarity of picture and sound
If the video has been copied from the television it is important to make sure both the picture and sound are clear.
Density of language
This refers to the amount of language spoken in a particular time. Videos where the language is dense are more difficult for learners to comprehend.
'Clarity of speech, speech rate and accents are all factors in determining how difficult a video excerpt will be for students to comprehend.' Arcario (Undated: 115)
'In using video to present language, an important factor to consider is the linguistic items (particular grammatical structures, language functions, or colloquial expressions) presented in the scene'
Spider, Spot, Pingu, Mr Ben, Eric Carlyle stories, Wallace and Gromit series.
TV documentaries made for children about science/nature etc, Dinosaurs series, The Blue Planet
Programs about musicians, video clips
TV series/soaps for young people (especially good for seeing life in Britain, maybe not so easy to understand!)
3.4 A lesson plan for teaching listening skills through videos
Current thinking on video in the classroom advocates an integrated approach, not simply using the video in isolation but within a sequence of tasks: Pre-viewing, while viewing and post viewing, always depending on the role chosen for the video. If for example, the video is used only as a stimulus, a pre-viewing stage would not be necessary. Below are suggested activities for the three stages.
Any pre-viewing activity will be associated with developing learners' comprehension strategies. Native speakers use many strategies to aid comprehension and these strategies can also be applied to learning a second language.
Tell learners they are going to watch/listen to a story/advert/news report about.... What do they expect to hear and see?
Class discussion about video topic. Learners do quiz on topic of video. The quiz could be True/False or open-ended questions. Give learners two minutes to brainstorm vocabulary connected to topic Learners put written summary of video in order
Learners watch video with sound off, then guess topic and content
Learners read story/news article connected to video topic
STORIES: Using flashcards of story - Ask learners if they can guess what happens in story. Flashcards need only be quick line drawings done on A4 card or even paper. STORIES: Learners predict story by numbering pictures from story on worksheet. To make the worksheet draw basic pictures illustrating main ideas of the story on paper. Make sure they are in a different order to the order they appear in the story.
In most cases you will want the learners to watch the video or video extract more than once. The aims for watching the video for the first time and further times will probably be different.
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