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11 Guidelines for Teaching Listening

11 guidelines to teaching listening

In this article, you will learn the most important guidelines for teaching listening in the classroom to EFL students

Why should listening have the priority to be developed in students? Simply because no one can say a word before listening to it.

Listening is the first skill for students to master to be proficient in a language.

Good listeners proved to be able to speak more exactly and more creatively than poor listeners as they have more words at their command.

Realizing these reasons, we can see how important it is for teachers to teach listening.

Why listening to a foreign language is difficult:

Despite its importance, listening to a foreign language sounds difficult for EFL students for the following reasons:

  • The sounds they hear, at least in the initial stages, are unfamiliar.
  • They always feel under unnecessary pressure to understand every word.

The default method used to develop listening:

  • By default a listening lesson usually begins with some kind of pre-teaching of the context of the listening material combined with an introduction to some of the vocabulary included in the text.
  • What comes next is often simply listening to the text, listening again, and finally answering some sort of comprehension questions.

Such steps are of course not bad but this default method focuses more on the product rather than the process, that’s the learners merely practice listening but do not learn to discriminate the phonological features of the speech they are hearing.

Thus, the teaching of listening should focus on:

  • Discriminating sounds in words, especially phonemic contrasts.
  • Deducing the meaning of unfamiliar words.
  • Predicting content.
  • Noting contradictions, inadequate information, and ambiguities.
  • Differentiating between fact and opinion.

To achieve these aims, the teacher should take into account the following 11 guidelines:

1. Remove All Distractions

Make sure the physical conditions are properly set up. All the distractions unrelated to materials, noise and movement should be removed. The teacher must also be sure that chairs face the right direction so that the eye strain and uncomfortable sitting conditions are erased.

2. Prepare Students for the Listening Task

It is important to help students prepare for the listening task well before they hear the text itself. First of all the teacher must ensure that the children understand the language they need to complete the task and are fully aware of exactly what is expected of them. Learners should know what they are listening for and why.

3. Teach the Phonological Features

Select, explain, and demonstrate the use of the phonological features (ellipsis, assimilation, prominence, etc.) used in the text you think are important for the students to notice to decode the text they are going to listen to such as phonemes, stress and intonation pattern.

4. Use Authentic Materials

Use materials based on a wide range of authentic texts, including both monologues and dialogues.

5. Speak Lively

The teacher should speak animatedly and interestingly so that the students have a deep interest in the activity.

6. Adjust Your Speaking Speed

The teacher should also be sure that his speaking speed does not exceed the students’ listening speed.

7. Encourage Prediction

The teacher should encourage students to anticipate what they are going to hear.

In everyday life, the speaker, the situation, and visual clues all help us to decode oral messages. The teacher can help the students by presenting the listening activity within the context of the topic of a teaching unit (About this, using videos in listening classes is also advantageous). This will help the young learners predict what the answers might be.

The teacher can also help them further by asking questions and using illustrations to encourage students to guess the answers even before they hear the text.

8. Ensure Students only Listen

During the listening, the students should be able to focus on understanding the message. So, it is imperative to make certain they are not trying to read or write at the same time. It is also necessary to give a second chance to listen to the text to provide a new opportunity to those who were not able to do the task.

9. Encourage Students to Do Post-Listening Tasks

When the students have completed the activity, encourage the whole class to answer. Try not to put individual students under unnecessary pressure. Rather than validating whether an answer is correct or not, replay the cassette or video and let the students listen again for confirmation.

10. Motivate Students to Listen Again

If the class gives you a variety of answers, list them all on the board and replay the cassette or video, so that the students can listen and choose the correct one. Even if they all appear to have completed the task successfully, always motivate them to listen to the text once more and check their answers for themselves.

11. Appreciate Good Listeners

The teacher needs to stimulate the students to appreciate good listening by praising their achievements.

For instance, when someone could answer questions, it is important to say: Very good! You did such a good job! It proves that you listened very well.

Thanks for reading

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