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1 © University of Reading Listening in the languages classroom: Developing teacher educators' understanding and practice. (From the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation project, Foreign language listening comprehension: from current practice to improved pedagogy). Seminar funded by the Higher Education Academy Suzanne Graham, Denise Santos and Ellie Francis-Brophy.

2 Aims To develop understanding of what teaching listening and listening effectively consist of To discuss the current scenario of listening pedagogy and envisage alternative ways of approaching listening in ITE. To familiarize participants with some listening strategies To identify a framework that can be used for teaching listening To apply that framework to the instruction of listening strategies To apply the points discussed in the development of an ITE session on listening

3 Overview of session: Part 1 1.Discussion of pre-session statements 2.What is effective listening – what do good listeners do? 3.What are we doing now and what are the problems with the current approach? 4.What our research tells us 5.How to fill the gap? 6.Listening as product x Listening as process 7.Looking at how learners listen

4 Overview of session: Part 2 1.The role of research findings in teacher development 2.A framework for teaching (listening) strategies: theory 3.A case study from our study 4.Planning a session with trainee teachers: a focus on listening strategies


6 Pre-session questions: Which of these sentences are true? Listening is the skill in which Year 12 and 13 learners feel its hardest to do well. For Year 11 learners, speaking is the skill in which they feel its hardest to do well. In the latest Ofsted inspection of MFL teaching across the country, listening was a skill that was generally well-taught. Textbook listening materials address all the aspects of the Programme of Study that concern listening. The most important thing when doing a listening activity is to help learners find the right answer. Teachers have a clear understanding of how to teach learners how to listen effectively. Giving learners more challenging texts to understand increases their confidence in language learning.

7 1: Listening is the skill in which Year 12 and 13 learners feel its hardest to do well. True Graham (2002, 2004, 2006) found this to be the case, using a large sample of Year 11, 12 and 13 language learners

8 2. For Year 11 learners, speaking is the skill in which they feel its hardest to do well. True This was the finding reported in Graham (2002, 2004, 2006). Listening was not an area of strength nor of particular difficulty. That Year 12 and 13 learners found it so much more difficult suggests there is a gap between the listening skills we develop in learners lower down the school.

9 3. In the latest Ofsted inspection of MFL teaching across the country, listening was a skill that was generally well-taught. Not true

10 (Contd) Ofsted (2011) says The overall progress made by students at Key Stages 3 and 4 was good or outstanding in over half of the 470 lessons observed. However, there were weaknesses in too many lessons, particularly in speaking, listening and reading in modern languages.... Although students listening skills were generally satisfactory, they were not always strong because their development in some of the schools visited relied too heavily on exercises from text books.... Secondary schools should....make more use of authentic materials to help develop students language skills and their intercultural understanding.

11 4. Textbook listening materials address all the aspects of the Programme of Study that concern listening. False Our analysis of textbooks for Phase 1 of our study shows that there is very little attention to:

12 Textbook analysis findings Focus on locating very specific, factual information, matching or repetition Very little focus on dealing with unknown words Texts relatively short, little redundancy Listening as finding information, presentation and drilling. Little sense of dealing with the unpredictable Very little focus on listening strategies – more so in more recent books

13 Listening strategies in teachers guides In books with an average of over 100 listening activities, very few references to listening strategies and how teachers might present these (min 0, max 16) Strategies briefly included: prediction (but rarely verification); using tone of voice/intonation; selective attention/focusing on specific information – but lack of specific advice on how to implement: Encourage pupils to listen for clues in Maribel's tone of voice Greater focus on procedures, lack of clear advice: They may need to hear this a few times and have extra time to write; Warn them that there is a lot of extraneous detail.

14 (Contd) Some aspects of the NC Developing language-learning strategies Pupils should be able to: –use previous knowledge, context and other clues to work out the meaning of what they hear or read Developing language skills Pupils should be able to: –listen for gist or detail –respond appropriately to spoken and written language –deal with unfamiliar language, unexpected responses and unpredictable situations

15 5. The most important thing when doing a listening activity is to help learners find the right answer. Teachers think this Most frequent words in justifications:

16 Listening as a product (or as process)? Feedback tends to focus on right answers Without establishing why the errors occurred, we have no means of assisting learners to get it right next time. (Field, 2008:81) Testing listening vs teaching listening

17 6. Teachers have a clear understanding of how to teach learners how to listen effectively. Yes, but… Focus on procedures for task completion Responses to our questionnaire: justifications = procedures Also in the questionnaire: large number of middle answers Our previous research: focus on topics

18 7. Giving learners more challenging texts to understand increases their confidence in language learning. This was the finding of Macaro and Erler (2008) for reading with Year 7 learners, leading the authors to argue that we need for MFL a curriculum which provides learners with a range of [reading] problems to be overcome via strategy use at a much earlier time, and which has higher expectations of what they can achieve in the first 2 years of their foreign language study (Macaro and Erler, 2008: 116).

19 Pause for reflection Has any of the answers surprised you? If yes, which one(s) and why?

20 What is effective listening, ie What strategies do effective listeners use? Preparation strategies Getting in the right frame of mind – concentration, calmness Making predictions Thinking of words and phrases that might be heard, plus synonyms Making predictions Thinking about the likely topic and themes of the passage Preparing to check out the evidence and verify predictions

21 Strategies used by effective listeners Strategies to gain an overall sense of the passage Self-questioning Comparing early and later parts of the passage Looking at the local and global context Controlling my background knowledge Bringing it all together Does my interpretation make sense? Does my interpretation fit the context? Does my interpretation fit in with what I know already? Evaluating decisions taken

22 Difficult words: weaker listeners (1) (based on Graham, 1997) Context Sentence structure Surrounding words Tone of voice Unknown word/phrase Understanding?

23 Difficult words: weaker listeners (2) Individual words Thinking of English Wild guessing Context Unknown word/phrase Understanding?

24 Difficult words: better listeners Context Tone Sentence structure Surrounding words Unknown word/phrase Understanding

25 Pause for reflection Do you feel that learners in general, at any stage of their learning, adopt the effective strategies? Do you feel that teachers receive enough information in their initial training about those strategies?

26 What are we asking learners to do here? (from) Extract from Listos 2 Rojo, Pupils Book, p. 14, exercise 3a, plus transcript from accompanying Teachers Book

27 Audioscript: translation extract - What is your sister Pili like? - Well, shes always here and there. Shes never at home. Shes very sociable. She really enjoys going out and she has a lot of friends. - What is your friend Marta like? - Marta is a very serious person. I like her a lot. - What is your cousin Julio like? - Everybody likes Julio. Hes a very friendly and nice guy. (Listos 2 Rojo, Teachers Book, p. 29)

28 Pause for Reflection What skills and/or knowledge are required for the successful completion of the task? What opportunities are missed?

29 To recap: we looked at… what teachers in England believe about listening; how those teachers think listening is delivered; how the above compares with what good listeners do, and what the NC asks us to do

30 Our respondents Random sample of 90 high schools in England, across a range of contexts + 32 local schools Replies received from 46 schools throughout England; a total of 115 teachers in a range of state maintained schools (91% in comprehensives) Majority of teachers (approx 85%) non-native speakers of language taught Experience: 0-3yrs (20%); 4-8rs (22%); 9-15yrs (32%); 16+ yrs (26%)

31 Instruction on how to teach listening How much instruction on how to teach listening comprehension did you receive in your initial teacher training? –1% A lot (more than for other skills) –46% A fair amount (the same as for other skills) –49% A little (less than for other skills) –1% None (didnt train as a language teacher) Have you received subsequent training (e.g. INSET) on how to teach listening comprehension? 18% Yes 82% No

32 Findings: the purpose of listening PurposeMean To teach learners how to listen more effectively2.1 To increase learners opportunities to practise listening 2.3 To provide learners with a model of pronunciation 3.1 To assess how well learners can listen3.5 To extend learners vocabulary3.8

33 Findings: Pre- and post-listening PRE: Most emphasis on reminding learners of vocabulary (80% - always/frequently), some prediction of vocabulary (48%) Less emphasis on ideas/content (40%) or possible answers (20%) POST: asking learners how they felt (51%), advising on dealing with difficulties (50%), asking learners how they dealt with task ( 21%)

34 Procedures and justifications Common first procedure: explaining or going through as a class the task requirements; pre- teaching key words Justifications: ensuring pupils readiness and preparedness to effectively answer/complete the task and building student confidence; pupils preparedness, correct task completion leading to implied understanding and self-efficacy

35 Findings: beliefs It is possible to teach learners how to listen more effectively 1.5 When learners don't understand a word they should work out its meaning from the context 1.9 When learners don't understand a word they should work out its meaning from the word/phrases that precedes or follow the unknown word 2.1 When learners don't understand a word they should work out its meaning from their linguistic knowledge 2.3 Learners' main problems lie in the difficulty they have in identifying where word/phrase/sentence boundaries are 2.4 After listening, students should discuss how they completed the listening activity 2.6 After listening, students should discuss how they felt about the listening activity 2.6

36 Pause for reflection Based on the discussion so far, list key issues characterising current practice in MFL listening as opposed to ideal practice Then reflect: is there a gap between those two scenarios? What is the role of ITE in closing that gap? Current practice Ideal practice GAP? THE ROLE OF ITE

37 How to fill the gap? The role of strategies In a helpful summary of attribution theory, Dickinson (1995) explains that if learners attribute their lack of progress to fixed causes (such as their level of ability), they tend to give up the minute they encounter any difficulties, believing they are no good at languages anyway. They are more likely to persist if they feel the outcome of their learning is not predetermined and they have some control over it. Strategies can play an important part in giving them that sense of control and changing their perceptions of themselves. (Harris et al, 2001, p. 16)

38 Often poor learners dont have a clue as to how good learners arrive at their answers and feel that they can never perform as good learners do. By revealing the process, this myth can be exposed. (Rubin, 1990, p. 282)

39 Pause for reflection Observe some student quotes about their listening. Which of those students seem to be in control of their listening process? Which are not in control? Why? Control/no control

40 Making links with ITE Think of a training session you have done with your current cohort on listening. Write down the steps you have followed during that session.

41 Now read this excerpt Picture this scene during a listening lesson. A teacher introduces the topic of a listening text and invites students to say what they know about it. She writes their ideas and unfamiliar words on the board. Next, she tells the students to read the instructions for the listening activity carefully to find out what information in the listening text to pay attention to. After this, the teacher plays the recording and the students listen attentively. …

42 (Contd) …They complete the activity by giving appropriate written responses (for example, choosing the correct options, filling in the blanks, sequencing information, drawing a diagram, jotting down notes). The teacher plays the recording again and instructs the students to confirm or change their responses. After that, she tells the class what the correct responses are, and the students find out where they have gone wrong. …

43 Contd …Does this sound familiar to you? Well, that was what I used to do when delivering listening lessons. My emphasis was on the product or outcome of my students listening. What mattered most was how accurate or complete their responses were. In retrospect, even though I did many listening exercises, I was not teaching my students how to listen effectively. I was merely testing their comprehension without showing them how they could improve their listening. (Goh, 2010: )

44 Product or process? The audio: extract from Authentik en français (2001) Alors, bien sûr, tous les secteurs sinistrés vont avoir, euh, du mal à sen remettre car les dégâts sont énormes et le bilan humain est déjà très lourd, donc: 26 morts et au moins 3 disparus. Cest le département de lAude qui a payé le plus lourd tribu à ce phénomène exceptionnel…. The task: For each question, tick the correct answer: 4. The number of people killed or missing runs to at least: a)3b) 29c) 26d) 500

45 And now? Hum, vingt-six morts! Voilà numéro quatre! Il a dit vingt-six morts et trois… and three people missing. […] So, do I take it twice? Or, do I add it up? (reading from the sheet)The number of people killed or missing amounts to… Of course, when you add up the numbers, its going to be twenty-nine. (Alan, p.63) Yes, I heard vingt-six morts. So, twenty-six dead, I think, so its probably that one. (Sue, p. 62) (from Graham et al., 2008)

46 Exploring thinkalouds The task: m/c task (in English) The topic: French politics The procedure: student thinks aloud while doing the task What can the thinkaloud tell us about how the students listening process? (See Preparation)

47 Your turn What are the strategies used by the student to answer question 1? 1.The passage is about: a)The decline of Jean-Marie Le Pen b)The defeat of François Mitterand c) A socialist mayor d)The rise of the National Front in France Use Appendix 1 for reference. Thinkalaoud

48 The audioscript (extract) Le Front national est né en 1972, avec pour objectif de regrouper diverses tendances dextrême-droite. Quand le socialiste François Mitterand devient Président de la République en 1981, le Front national présidé par Jean- Marie Le Pen est au plus bas…. (Pillette & Graham, 2000, p. 39)


50 To recap: Overview of Part 2 1.The role of research findings in teacher development 2.A framework for teaching (listening) strategies: theory 3.A case study from our study 4.Planning a session with trainee teachers: a focus on listening strategies

51 A reminder of our findings from Phase 1 Questionnaire and interviews – teaching effective listening vs lack of evidence of this happening Observations – task-focussed work, little prediction+verification, strategy discussion or feedback Textbooks: product, levels-focussed approach, lack of guidance, short texts, extraction of information/details, lack of challenge

52 Possibilities of teacher growth? Indirect approaches? Engagement with research can help teachers make deeper sense of their work (new ways of seeing) (Borg 2010, p. 414) Borg (2010, pp ) A mismatch between teachers narrative experience of classroom life and the portrayal of learning and teaching they encounter in research papers – need to help teachers see parallels between research reports and their own learners, and to reconcile and meld (…) research knowledge with their own practical knowledge (also Hemsley-Brown & Sharp, 2003), with teachers valuing research thatmeshes with their experience (Zeuli, 1994, p. 52).

53 A model for intervention/strategy instruction Based on several accepted models (e.g. Macaro, 2001 ): Awareness-raising/exploration of possible strategies Modelling of possible strategies Practising combinations of strategies on a task With support, applying strategies Evaluation of strategies Removal of support Further evaluation and monitoring

54 Intervention Based around key findings – effective listening; teaching listening as a specific skill; prediction and verification; inferencing/key word focus; sounds/segmentation; feedback. Two 2-hour workshops (6 teachers) and 6 online modules over six to eight months. Four additional teachers viewed the filmed workshop presentations. Four completed all or some of the online modules consisting of worksheets and reflection on practice activities; one, observation and further interview.

55 Workshops Discussion interspersed with research evidence Consideration of what effective listening is – summarised findings from UK-based classroom studies, comparisons drawn with participants own learners; analysis of think-aloud materials from previous studies Textbook and lesson analysis – amalgamation of our observations (anonymised!) contrasted with a teaching listening approach Summary of key points from Phase 1 survey; participants reflect on differences between current practice and what we might be aiming for

56 Awareness raising: Discussion of lesson outlines Reflect on some outlines of listening lessons we have observed. In pairs, read the outlines and answer: –Was listening approached as product or process in the lesson? –What skills/knowledge were presupposed and/or developed? (What was neglected?) –Is there any trace of strategic work in the lesson? –Lesson outlinesLesson outlines

57 Awareness-raising: unknown words and prediction Nonsense word activity – Lotticks and Izzids – teachers carry out this task themselves Prediction – reflecting on what learners do:

58 What is going on here? The listening passage: The task: Three French departments have been hit by: a) Strikes b) Riots c) Floods d) Snow storms Ce quont vécu ce week-end les départements de lAude, du Tarn, et des Pyrénées orientales, la France ne lavait pas connu depuis… (passage continues, giving several details about floods in France) neig e

59 During & After listening The choice a)Strikes b)Riots c)Floods d)Snow storms The thinkaloud Number one I guessed, only because I thought I heard the Pyrénées, and I thought it had something to do with snow, but Im not sure, because I dont know the words for strikes or riots. I just didnt hear anything else.

60 PAUSE FOR REFLECTION What does this suggest to us about the potential dangers involved in learners predicting what they might hear? How could we lessen these dangers?

61 Exercise from Expo 2 PB, p. 82) Whats going on here?

62 The task Pupils listen to the recording and work out from the venues given where each conversation is taking place. They need to understand the gist of each message to work out the answer. (Expo 2, TB, p. 129) Extract from transcript: 4 - Excusez-moi, madame, mais il ne faut pas fumer ici quand les autres mangent. Si vous voulez fumer, vous pouvez aller sur la terrasse ou bien au bar, si vous préférez.

63 Participants task Read through the two lesson outlines in Appendix 2, both based on the same passage and answer: -How do they differ? -Can you identify for each one the following: –The aims/objectives of the tasks –What knowledge and/or skills each presupposes and/develops –What knowledge/skills seem to be neglected. –The extent to which the suggested procedures follow a cycle of strategy instruction

64 Modules Modules took this further, leading teachers through stages of reflection: topic contextualised in relation to teachers survey responses and observed classes or connected back to either the live workshop presentations or the previous module – own lesson observations and questionnaire responses included in their module version excerpts from studies showing learners listening; participants reflection on these

65 Modules Detailed suggestions for alternative approaches using same textbook materials and invitation for participants to try these out in their own classes Module evaluation – reflection on what learnt, how new approaches worked with classes, changes needed, etc. See Appendix 3

66 Areas covered Module 1: Awareness raising: How learners listen and how they can listen more effectively Module 2: Prediction and verification Module 3: Identifying key words Module 4: Developing learners understanding of key sounds, how to segment streams of speech and to use intonation to help them understand. Module 5: Giving feedback on listening Module 6: Adapting existing listening materials

67 Findings: a case study Maggie – shared characteristics with majority of teachers who completed the questionnaire Teacher in a mixed comprehensive secondary school; 9-15 years experience teaching French; non- native French speaker Selected agree strongly with the statement It is possible to teach learners how to listen more effectively. Just over 60% of respondents to the survey also chose agree strongly Data from her questionnaire, interviews, 3 observations, module responses and evaluations

68 Beliefs and practice Time 1 (questionnaire) What do you do and/or what students do? Why do you do this? Why is this done? Get them to turn to right page, find correct exercise, write 1-10 or whatever To prepare for the exercise Ask pupils to suggest what they have to do/look at example Get them to focus/take responsibility for task Point out level (NC) of exercise and explain why so hard/easy Familiarise pupils with the level they're working at Play tape twice, with pauses; check progress Ensure all pupils had fair chance to complete task.

69 Effective listening changes (interview) T1: Effectively, to be able to be sure that you have gleaned as much as is humanly possible from what youve just heard by concentrating as fully as possible and drawing on the context, grammatical knowledge, word before and after, what are we listening for, knowing vocabulary thats preceded it. And I think the four things that I said to you that I do where I make sure that theyve got the right page and the right exercise and they know whats coming up and thats part of my preparation to make sure that they do try and listen effectively.

70 Effective listening changes (interview) T2: Um, to be able to glean enough from it to feel that was a positive experience even if you havent ticked all the boxes. To have made progress and broadened your vocabulary. To have gained in confidence. To accrued new skills to how to approach it next time. That comes up in the next section that Im going to.

71 Subtle changes (interview) Change in approach to textbook use: I tend to now start with the script, the audioscript. And then see what we can do with it. In the planning Once youve overcome the fear of doing something a new way and youve seen a positive result from it youre more inclined to then try it other ways Listening experience for pupils had been more positive and enjoyable...Yes I would use it again as it gives pupils confidence that somewhere in the wall of sound they will encounter, there are items they are already expecting!...anticipat(ing) filled them with hope they might actually understand some of it. They are less defeatist!

72 New insights hard won Maggie: Ive done 4 [modules] now…which makes my brain ache. I sit there saying I cant think this through… Interviewer:Is it the way we write…is it how we write? Maggie: No its the hard…reading the question, reading the rubric, what is this presupposing? But it is making me realise the ineffectuality of some of those exercises.

73 Learning about the process of reflection Time 2 future plans: I might reflect on the processes weve done like the prediction, like the listening for, like the using the rubric. Whatever the processes weve had, um, or anticipating these problems we came up with, how can they arm themselves and therefore be less reliant on me to address these things when they have another listening, I suppose.

74 Observed changes in practice? –Time 1: Listening as being quiet: The whole point of a listening exercise is that youre listening, not talking –T seems to feel that the task is too hard; starts spoon-feeding the ss towards the end – to guarantee success? Sense of accomplishment? –To check, ss unscramble missing words on slide, as in a game General: T seems to be concerned about getting things done, about guaranteeing that pupils will be successful. A strong concern with NC levels. T asdoer, page turner, box ticker By T2, emphasis on finding the right answer lessened.

75 Time 2 observation? But change only partially evident in observed class: hectic pace, one activity after another, no thinking/talking about what was being done Senses however improved efficacy: adapting & incorporating new teaching strategies required a lot of concentration and brain power in the preparation stage. Thought it paid off for ss learning experience and her own skills at teaching listening Specific question to interview suggests subtle, initial changes in thinking 'do you think I overplayed what I did today?

76 Implementing these principles and practices with beginning teachers Lotticks and Izzids as first awareness-raising Modelling traditional approach Trainee reflection on advantages and disadvantages of this approach Video clip of alternative approach –predictions clip from ESRC workshop Reflection on the differences between the approaches Looking at materials: how could they use them differently? Where could they start? What would be possible for them?

77 Conclusions Changes in beliefs may not lead directly to changes in practice (Johnson & Golombek, 2002) Knowledge about teaching and the classroom becomes instantiated only after it has been integrated into the teachers personal framework (Rankin & Becker, 2006, p. 366) But evidence of a range of developmental processes (Borg, 2011, p. 378) Facilitated by data collection methods that encouraged teachers to reflect not only on their own work, but also on that of other teachers, on materials and the relationship of all these to research evidence

78 Your task Group Work: Applying the framework to work with trainee teachers What could be applied to your contexts? Which aspects of what we have presented today could you use in your own work with beginning or in- service teachers? Draft an outline session What problems might trainees/teachers encounter? How could you help them with these?

79 References Authentik en français. (2001). Mars/avril. Trinity College: Dublin. Borg, S. (2010). Teacher cognition in language teaching: A review of research on what language teachers think, know, believe, and do. Language Teaching 36, 81–109. Borg, S. (2011). The impact of in-service teacher education on language teachers beliefs. System 39, Field, J. (2008). Listening in the language classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Goh, C. (2010). Listening as process: Learning activities for self-appraisal and self-regulation. In N. Harwood (Ed.), English language teaching materials: Theory and Practice (pp ). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Graham, S. (1997). Effective language learning. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Graham, S. (2002). Experiences of learning French: a snapshot at Years 11, 12 and 13. Language Learning Journal 25, Graham, S. (2004). Giving up on modern foreign languages? Students perceptions of learning French. Modern Language Journal 88 (2), Graham, S. (2006). Listening comprehension: The learners perspective.System 34, Graham, S., Santos, D. and Vanderplank, R. (2008). Listening comprehension and strategy use: A longitudinal exploration. System 36, Harris, V. (with Alberto Gaspar, Barry Jones, Hafdís Ingvarsdóttir, Renate Neuburg, Ildikó Pálos, Ilse Schindler) (2001). Helping learners learn: exploring strategy instruction in language classrooms across Europe. European Centre for Modern Languages: Council of Europe Publishing.

80 References (Contd) Hemsley-Brown, H., & Sharp, C. (2003). The use of research to improve professional practice: a systematic review of the literature. Oxford Review of Education 29, Johnson, K.E., & Golombek, P.R. (2002). Inquiry into experience. Teachers personal and professional growth. In K.E. Johnson & P.R. Golombek (Eds.), Teachers narrative enquiry as professional development (pp. 6-14). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Macaro, E. (2001). Learning strategies in second and foreign language classrooms. London: Continuum Macaro, E. & Erler, L (2008). Raising the achievement of young-beginner readers of French through strategy instruction. Applied Linguistics 29, OFSTED (2011). Modern Languages. Achievement and challenge Available at: type/Thematic-reports/Modern-languages-achievement-and-challenge (accessed 17 May 2011) Pillette, M. & Graham, S. (2000). Objectif Bac 2. London: Collins Educational. Rankin, J., & Becker, F. (2006). Does reading the research make a difference? A case study of teacher growth in FL German. The Modern Language Journal 90, 353–372. Zeuli, J.S. (1994). How do teachers understand research when they read it? Teaching and Teacher Education 10,

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