Seminar Paper, 2006
13 Pages, Grade: 2,3
2 Teaching Listening and Speaking
2.1 Teaching Listening
2.1.1 Characteristics of Listening Situation
2.1.2 Learner Problems with Listening
2.1.3 Listening Activities
2.2 Definition of Speaking
2.2.1 Teaching Speaking
2.2.2 Speaking Methods
2.2.3 Learner Problems with Speaking
2.3 The Oral Presentation
3 Final Conclusion
Since we are studying to become future teachers of English, it is really important to teach the “so-called ´four skills`- listening, speaking, reading and writing” (Brumfit, 1984, p.103). This term paper will only deal with two of the four skills, which are listening and speaking. Both of these skills need to be learned and require active behaviour.
This term paper starts off by introducing the reader to the topic of teaching listening, continues by explaining the characteristics of listening situations, learner problems with listening and different listening activities which can be used at school. Furthermore, it gives a definition of speaking, how to teach speaking at school, some important speaking methods and learner problems.
The next topic is the oral presentation itself and what we did in class, which tasks we gave to the other students, which aims we wanted to achieve and how everything worked out.
In the final conclusion we want to show what we learned while we prepared our presentation and actually presented it in class. Some problems that occurred in class and how we could have improved the organisation of the presentation and the get involved part will be mentioned as well.
We finish our paper with the attachment and the bibliography.
Listening is a basic skill for different learning processes. It is an active behaviour in contrast to reading which is just a receiving of sound waves. There are three basic steps listening involves: hearing, understanding and judging.
Listening has two major intentions, which are to maintain the communicational relation (interactional function) and to impart information (transactional function).
The most important factors of which listening is composed are the knowledge of linguistic structures, the numbers of vowel and consonant phonemes (liaison, elision), rhythm (syllable-timed or stress-timed), intonation, prior knowledge, attention and the short- and long-term memory (Sakuma, 2000).
There are three different stages of teaching listening: pre-listening, while-listening and post-listening. Pre-listening means that the teacher makes the students aware of a situation and activates their prior knowledge. While-listening means that the teacher gives the students visual support or guiding questions beforehand. Post-listening is the stage where the students become active and work with what they had heard.
Listening needs to be taught with interest, variation and motivation
There are five characteristics of listening situations: the informal spoken discourse, listener expectation and purpose, looking as well as listening, ongoing purposeful listener response and speaker attention (Ur, 1996).
The informal spoken discourse means that most of the conversations are spontaneous and therefore informal. There are various features informal speech has. One is called the brevity of “chunks” and denotes that conversations are usually broken into short chunks because people take turns. Pronunciation is another important aspect because it is often different from the phonological representation given in a dictionary (e.g. can’t versus cannot). In addition to that vocabulary is often colloquial (e.g. kid versus child) and informal speech is somehow ungrammatical. Because we usually comprehend less than 100 per cent of what is being said a certain amount of noise is meaningless noise. Redundancy includes repetition, paraphrase or the use of fillers like well, eh. The last feature is non-repetition. The discourse will not be repeated unless you request for repetition.
Listener expectation and purpose denote that the listener knows in advance what is going to be said and expects to hear relevant things in a conversation.
Looking as well as listening indicates that we usually do have something to look at which is linked to the topic and can be the speaker, a map or a picture. Only a small proportion of listening is done without looking (blind) like listening to the radio or talking to someone on the telephone.
Ongoing, purposeful listener response means that we normally respond at intervals to show that we, as a speaker, are still listening and comprehend what is being said.
The speaker attention is the last characteristic of listening situations and says that a speech is usually directed at the listener and the listener’s character and intentions will be taken into account.
During a learning process there will always appear some problems or difficulties, especially when you try to learn a foreign language. Some of the most common problems will be discussed briefly in this chapter.
The first one is that students have trouble with sounds because they try to comprehend words in context and cannot pronounce them in isolation. This can be prevented by teaching pronunciation.
The second learner problem is that students think they have to understand every single word that has been said. This happens because they believe that every word bears important information. Unfortunately trying to understand every word leads to an ineffective comprehension. This can be prevented by practicing scanning and asking students only to look for two items of information in a text.
Another very common learner problem is that students cannot understand fast, natural native speakers. They ask the teacher to slow down and pronounce words the way they would be pronounced in isolation. The problem could be solved by producing as much spontaneous informal talk as possible in order to help the students to develop their listening skills.
Most of the students need to hear things more than once but in real life there is “one-off” listening and they have to cope with listening situations like that. As a teacher, you could use texts which are not too difficult to understand and where the important information is stated more than once.
Another difficulty is that the learner sometimes feels overloaded with information and finds it difficult to keep up. Therefore they need to learn to pick out the most important things.
As a result of all the problems mentioned above the learner gets tired, a feeling of fatigue and failure arises. To prevent this, listening passages should not be too long and changes of speakers should take place.
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