Studiu de specialitate – Teaching listening

Autor: prof. Diaconu Mihaela-Claudia
Școala Gimnazială Sagna, Neamț

Listening is an active process, defining the ability to identify and understand what people are saying, recognizing sounds, dialects and speech rhythm. The main aim is to understand the foreign language spoken at regular speed and the frequency of these activities depends on the students’ needs and the resources available. The teacher has two great resources for practicing listening comprehension, the teacher him/herself with his/her students and the electronic devices which provide authentic listening material.
When addressing the students, the teacher should use’ target language as much as possible (Vizental 2007), even though some students might not understand everything but comprehend the message (e.g. paralanguage and visuals to accompany message).
When talking about electronic devices, we must say that we depend on the audio-visual equipment available in our schools, which is often insufficient but there is always the Internet where we can find any type of activity and material we have to teach. If the CDs accompanying the textbooks seemed to be enough to provide authentic language and bring the native speaker’s voice into the classroom and stir the students’ attention.
But this doesn’t break the monotony of ordinary classes. The old type recorder is replaced by different programs and the Internet itself, an inexhaustible resource of authentic material available at any time at home or at school. For example when students listen to a story read by the teacher or to a dialogue on a CD, they will loose their interest if they don’t have anything to do while listening to it. YouTube can provide the same material, song or film, but listening is accompanied by visual elements. Students hear, see and follow the story.
Songs are the most precious materials provided by the Internet, as students can see also the singers and the story behind the text of the song, illustrated in the video. YouTube provides also the lyrics and a „karaoke” section of the class can transform it into a very enjoyable one.
For example, working with „Snapshot Elementary”(Longman 2001 ) the Past Tense Simple forms of Irregular Verbs lesson are introduced by a text where the famous four ‘ Beatles’ were presented and caught students attention and curiosity even if some of them hadn’t heard about ‘The Beatles’ before.  (fragment)