Key Questions about Listening What are listeners doing when they listen? What factors affect good listening? What are characteristics of “real life” listening? What are the many things listeners listen for? What are some principles for designing listening techniques? How can listening techniques be interactive? What are some common techniques for teaching listening?
What makes listening difficult? Clustering Redundancy Reduced forms Performance variables Colloquial language Rate of delivery Stress, rhythm, and intonation Interaction
What types of listening skills are developed? Microskills Macroskills (see handout)
What kinds of listening skills are taught? Reactive (listen and repeat) Intensive (listen on a focused sound) Responsive (listen and respond – briefly) Selective (listen for particular items in a longer passage) Extensive (listen for interactive/responsive purposes) Interactive (listen to discuss, respond, debate)
Principles for teaching listening Integrate listening into the course Appeal to students’ personal goals Use authentic language and contexts Consider how students will respond Teach listening strategies Include both bottom-up AND top-down listening
Common listening strategies Looking for key words Looking for nonverbal cues to meaning Predicting a speaker’s purpose by the context Activating background knowledge Guessing at meanings Seeking clarification Listening for the gist Developing test-taking strategies for listening
Break-out Activity With a partner/group, look at the strategies given on the handout to you. Briefly plan how you might teach these strategies to students. Report back to the whole group on at least two of the activities.
Current issues in teaching oral skills Conversational discourse Teaching pronunciation Accuracy and fluency Affective factors Interaction effect Questions about intelligibility Questions about what is “correct” speech
What makes speaking difficult? The same things that make listening difficult: Clustering Redundancy Reduced forms Performance variables Colloquial language Rate of delivery Stress, rhythm, and intonation Interaction
Types of classroom performance Imitative (this should be limited) – repetition drill Intensive – practice a grammatical/phonological feature Responsive – to respond to a question Transactional (dialogue) – to convey information Interpersonal (dialogue) – to interact socially Extensive – monologue (intermediate/advanced)
Guidelines for Drills Keep them short Keep them simple Keep them snappy Ensure that students know WHY they are doing the drill Limit the drill to phonological/grammatical points Ensure that they lead to a communicative goal DON’T OVERUSE THEM
Principles for Teaching Speaking Focus on fluency and accuracy (depending on objective) Use intrinsically motivating techniques Use authentic language in meaningful contexts Provide appropriate feedback and correction Optimize the natural link between listening and speaking (and other skills) Give students the opportunity to initiate oral communication. Develop speaking strategies.
Sample activities for teaching conversation See handouts Interviews Guessing games Jigsaw tasks Ranking exercises Discussions Values clarification Problem-solving activities Role plays Simulations
Should we teach pronunciation? According to Wong (1987), “sounds are less crucial for understanding than the way they are organized” (as cited in Brown, 2008, p. 339). Native speakers rely more on stress and intonation than accurate articulation of a particular sound.
Factors that affect pronunciation Native language Age Exposure Innate phonetic ability Identity and language ego Motivation/concern for good pronunciation
When and how should I correct errors? Global and local errors Performance slip or competence error
Common speaking strategies Asking for clarification (what?) Asking someone to repeat something Using fillers Using conversation maintenance cues (uh-huh, right, yeah, okay, hm) Getting someone’s attention Using paraphrases for structures one can’t produce Appealing for assistance from the interlocutor Using formulaic expressions Using mime and nonverbal expressions
References Brown, H.D. (2007). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy (3 rd ed). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education. Richard-Amato, P.A. (2003). Making it happen: From interactive to participatory language teaching theory and practice (3 rd ed.). White Plains, NY: Pearson Education.