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9 Tips for Making Listening an Authentic Experience in the Classroom

make listening an authentic experience in the classroom

Listening tasks in the classroom are intended to give students practice at understanding spoken language, and also to help develop their communication skills.

Here are 9 tips you should consider to help you make listening an authentic experience and teach it more effectively in the classroom.

1. Talk naturally to develop your students’ listening skills:

Find the time to tell a story or an anecdote, or to describe something without choosing your words too carefully.

Your social talk, perhaps outside the main structure of the lesson, can increase your students’ ability to understand English and develop their listening skills.

2. Find out what your students like to listen to:

Suppose they like to listen to lectures or sales presentations or any other genres. In that case, you can use them in your teaching of listening but after telling them some of the typical characteristics of their target genre.

3. Use audio and video recordings:

These bring essential variety to the class and considerably enrich the exposure that is possible. Give your students practice at getting the basic meaning of a text with just one hearing—this, after all, is the situation they will face outside. Hearing a recording also gives them a chance to listen without doing anything else, which can make a pleasant change.

4. Provide a context for any recording you use:

A context makes listening and understanding much easier; students will know what sort of thing to expect.

It is similar to our listening outside the classroom; in everyday life. We rarely listen to anything without any idea of what it will be about.

5. Give students a reason for listening:

Before you play the recording, you can give students a task based on what they will hear, or even some questions to answer. This can help them to focus on key information and filter out ‘noise’.

Especially for lower-level students who find understanding speech difficult, it is very motivating to successfully complete a task from spoken input.

6. Tell students they don’t have to understand every word:

Use texts that are not too dense, including features like hesitation, repetition and redundancy, which we associate with real-time communication in the world outside the classroom.

Ask students to do various activities like listening for gist, listening for specific information or listening to confirm predictions and tell students that they should not try to follow every word but listen only to do what’s wanted from them.

7. Simulate face-to-face listening situations:

Using transcripts of some listening texts, show your students how they can indicate that they are understanding or ask for repetition or clarification.

Simulate face-to-face situations when the listeners are very active, indicating how well they are following the speakers.

Focusing on such indicators can give students the confidence to interact with more competent speakers outside the classroom and have more learning and practice opportunities.

8. Use listening for pleasure, too:

You can also use radio stories, films, etc., where the motivation for listening lies in the interest of the text itself. This is something that students can do outside class, too – and they are more likely to do so if they build up confidence by doing it in class first.

9. Consider setting a listening task for homework:

You can set your students a listening task to do outside the class. This gives them exposure to far more spoken input than they could get if all your listening tasks were confined to the classroom.

Thanks for reading

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