Chapter 5 - Daniel Craig

Chapter 5
Key issues in teaching listening
Helgesen, M. & Brown, S. (2007). Listening [w/CD]. McGraw-Hill:
New York.
Listening as a Social Activity
• Listening is not done in isolation. It is part of a
social practice.
• How to listen “socially”
– Put Ss in social situations
– Teach active listening. Interactive listening. Both
listening and responding.
– Teach culturally appropriate listening. Appropriate
feedback, body language, touch, distance, eye gaze.
– Practice how to engage with different types of people
(shy vs. outgoing)
Listening Technology
• Analog
– Tapes, video cassettes, …
– Somewhat uncommon these days, but still used in
some schools (public & private)
– Distinct methods for using these tools
• Digital
portable audio/video digital files (mp3, mp4, avi, etc),
streaming audio/video, and
listening software
• Video can be motivating, entertaining, and easier to
• Video can distract from the audio and impair listening.
– If the images don’t match the audio this can be confusing.
– Watching the visuals can take attention away from the
• Video can replace, to an extent, the need to listen in
order to comprehend.
– However, this may be more realistic than audio alone.
• Benefits of video
– Gestures, facial expressions, body language, physical
proximity of speakers, cultural imagery, etc.
Video Activities
• Strip stories
– Put screen shots in the proper order.
• Dialogue differences
– Have students guess what the dialog in a scene is (given options) without playing the
audio, then run it again with the audio to check.
• Silent viewing
– Watch a video without sound and guess what it is about.
• Predict the action
– Stop a video at a critical time and ask learners what will happen next.
• What do you want to know?
– Show a clip from an unknown movie. Student then must come up with questions to ask
about the scene.
• Five Ws and H
– Have students watch a clip and create questions with who, what, where, when, why, and
how. Then get into groups and ask those questions to partners.
• Should we use subtitles?
• L1 subtitles
– Not usually advisable. Learners are less likely to process English
(particularly older learners)
– Could be useful for motivation purposes, used in multiple
instances, comprehension check, etc.
• L2 subtitles
– Good for reading, less so listening.
– Used in multiple instances, comprehension check, etc.
• None
– Best for focus on the listening
– Difficult texts can be split into shorter segments
Sites Designed for ESL/EFL
• Some of the most popular sites:
– Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab (
• This is the oldest listening site on the Web. There is an
incredible amount of material with audio and other learning
– English Listening Lesson Library Online (ELLLO
• Another huge repository of listening dialogues with
transcripts and activities.
– English Central (
• Amazing site that has videos with transcription, quizzes, and
even pronunciation activities (speech analysis).
• Internet audio episodes (primarily mp3 format)
are referred to as podcasts.
• Most listening sites can be considered podcasts.
– I prefer to think of podcasts as mp3 files that can be
downloaded and automatically updated through RSS
and podcast software (like iTunes)
• Examples:
– ESL Podcast (
– Business English Pod
Voice Chat
• Skype ( is a great VoIP
software that can be used to speak to anyone
in the world. It is currently the world’s largest
phone company.
• Many social networks for language learning
have chat built-in.
– Livemocha (
– Babbel (
– italki (
Self-study & Learner Autonomy
• It is important to provide both encouragement
and resources for self-study.
• Learner autonomy is more than just self-study. It
is the desire and action to learn on one’s own.
• What to use:
– Many websites are available (some noted in this
– Many books come with software and/or listening
– Authentic listening: TV, movies, music, etc.
Extensive Listening
• Useful for increasing vocabulary, motivation,
grammar skills, cultural knowledge, and more.
• May provide graded materials for students or
authentic materials of a student’s choosing.
• The vast amount of material on the Internet
can fuel both your classroom as well as the
interests of the learners.

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