Foreign Language Pedagogy
Listening (*also true in one's first language):
1. Listening to get the main idea/ gist=Skimming
2. Listening for specific information =Scanning
(E.g. Before you depart tomorrow for N.Y. on a business trip tomorrow, you listen to the weather forecast on the TV.)
What is listening comprehension?
It is the ability to comprehend information necessary for the listener. The following are the goals for our
Japanese Program at UCI, as an example.
Fundamental Japanese (1A-B-C)
Students develop the ability to comprehend the information necessary for daily life.
80% of the students achieve Intermediate-Low proficiency by the end of the series according to the ACTFL Listening Proficiency Guidelines.
Intermediate Japanese (2A-B-C)
Students develop the ability to handle minorly complicated situations in their daily life without much trouble. They can comprehend main ideas when listening to topics that are normally out of the sphere of their personal situation, such as educational system and social issues in the target culture, if the utterance is controlled and adjusted to their level by a qualified instructor.
80% of the students achieve Intermediate-Mid proficiency by the end of the series according to the ACTFL Listening Proficiency Guidelines.
Advanced Japanese (3A-B-C)
Students develop the ability to converse with native speakers in daily conversation. They can also discuss abstract topics by reconfirming the content from time to time. They are able to understand TV dramas with the use of visual aids.
80% of the students achieve Intermediate-High proficiency by the end of the series according to the ACTFL Listening
for Fostering Students' Listening Comprehension:
1. Teacher should speak the target language as much as possible from the very first day. However, you may use English (or the common language among the students and the teacher) when giving directions for activities or explaining grammar, in order to save time.)
2. Tell the students to "listen for communication." In other words, they don't have to understand every single word they hear, but they should pick out key words within the message. Remind the students who are perfectionists that this is the way we listen to things even in our first language.
3. Assign students listening homework regularly which contains tasks that allow them to test their listening comprehension by themselves. Students could even just listen to audio that merely reads the textbook in order for them just to get used to the sounds of the target language. However, it is very crucial that students listen to something "with a purpose or a goal" so that they feel a sense of accomplishment.
4. Tests need to reflect your teaching goals. That is, if you consider listening comprehension/ communication one of your main focuses, you need to test listening not only in mid-terms and final exams but also in chapter tests and quizzes, including a listening section. The same is true for speaking.
5. Do some listening activities in class in order to 1) add a variation to your class activities, and 2) teach students how to listen to seek for information.
6. After having students do any activity in class, you should summarize it someway at the end, for example, by doing a "spot check:" ask a group or pair to perform a dialogue they created or to report back a summary of their discussion to class. Listening Activities
A. Listening materials
There are two kinds of listening materials: authentic ones and scripted ones for teaching purposes. The authentic materials that can often used in class include movies, TV and radio programs, commercial/advertisements, music CD, a talk by a guest speaker, etc.
The format for both authentic and scripted ones are conversations/dialogues, interview, monologue, announcement, dramas, songs, etc.
B. Samples of Listening Excercise/Activity
(Reference: Jack C. Richards "Methodology in TESOL." Chapter 12)
1. Matching or distinguishing:
Choosing a response in written or pictorial form that corresponds with what
was heard (e.g., placing pictures in a sequence which matches a story or a set
of events; choosing a picture to match a situation, such as listening to a radio
advertisement and finding the product form a set of pictures).
2. Transferring: Exercises of
this type involve receiving information in one form and transferring the information
or parts of into another form (e.g., listening to a discussion about a house
and then sketching the house).
3. Transcribing: Listening, and
then writing down what was heard. Dictation is the most common example of this
4. Scanning: Exercises in which
listeners must extract selected items by scanning the input in order to find
a specific piece if information (e.g., listening to a news broadcast and identifying
the name of the winning party in an election).
5. Extending: Exercises which
involve going beyond what is provided, such as reconstructing a dialogue when
alternate lines are missing or providing a conclusion to a story.
6. Condensing: Reducing what is
heard to an outline of main points, such as is required in notetaking.
7. Answering: Answering questions
from the input. Different sorts of questions will focus on different levels
of listening (e.g., questions which require recall of details, those which require
inferences and deductions, those which require evaluation or reactions).
8. Predicting: Guessing or predicting outcomes, causes, relationships, and so forth, based on information presented in a conversation or narrative.