Listening Comprehension: Top down, Bottom up, and Interactive Models Abdul Hadi
Facts and Assumptions about Listening and Teaching Listening Comprehension “ Listening is used far more than any other language skills” (Rivers, 1981, Weaver, 1972, in Celce-Murcia, 2001). Listening is often regarded as a passive activity. The importance of teaching listening comprehension has only been realized very recently. Current published materials and classroom practices still demonstrate that listening is the least important skill.
Facts and Assumptions….. Listening comprehension is often taught separately, or integrated with other language skills without conscious considerations. It is often treated merely as a linguistic activity. “Learning to speak a language is very largely a task of learning to hear it” (Nida, 1957, in Celce-Murcia, 2001).
Linguistic and Nonlinguistic aspects of Listening Comprehension Linguistic messages (the words). Paralinguistic messages (vocally transmitted meanings). Extra-linguistic messages (meaning transmitted through body language).
Models of Listening Comprehension Process Bottom-Up Processing Meaningful Information SoundsWordsPhrases Body Language Grammar
Bottom-Up…… Beginner listeners Great amount of conscious attention Limited to comprehending small chunks of information Small capacity for higher level of operation (top-down processing)
Models of …… Top-Down Processing Meaningful Information SoundsWordsPhrases Body Language Prediction Prior Knowledge Context Experience Grammar
Top-Down…… Proficient listeners Large capacity for higher level of operation Ability to comprehend bigger chunks of information Ability to sort important information
Models of ……… Interactive Processing Experience Prediction Prior Knowledge Context Meaningful Information SoundsWordsPhrases Body Language Grammar
Interactive ……… Proficient listeners Little conscious attention to words, sounds, etc Large capacity for higher level of operation Ability to comprehend big chunks of information Interactive and simultaneous information processing (compensation of lack information in one level by checking it at other level)
Material Design and Aural Information Processing Provide opportunities for integration of listening activities into other activities involving other language skills Provide pre-listening activities to activate learners’ prior knowledge or experiences related to the topic listened Carefully consider learners’ level of SL/FL proficiency Reflect the fact that we listened much more than we speak, read, and write???
Material Design …… Provide opportunities to localize listening- related activities Make use of computer technology and the web for classroom activities or self-study Create (password-protected) multimedia websites to better facilitate and maximize the use of textbooks???
References Celce-Muria, M. (Ed). (2001). Teaching English as a second or foreign language. Boston, Mass.: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.