So dictation is often asking students to do something in a foreign language that is unnatural and very difficult even in the first language. Read the following and, in your mind, imagine the story. I Step 1 A road went though a forest. A woman was walking down the road. Suddenly she saw a man. He was wearing a shirt, pants, and a hat. He smiled and said something. In class, students hear the passage and imagine the story. As they listen, they fill in a cloze fill in the blanks dictation sheet.
Each time they hear the bell, they write any w ord that fits the story as they imagined it. The imagined words go in the boxes. The student task appears in Figure 3. Som e see a dark forest. Some see it as green, old, a rainforest, etc. This, o f course, means they continue listening-this time to their partners. This could be to provide an additional listening task—letting the students listen to the same recording for a different purpose. You might want to add different tasks just for variety if your textbook overuses a small number o f task types.
Examples might be names o f colors, people, places, etc. In class, tell the students the topic o f the recording. Ask them to listen for the target items. Each time they hear one, they should raise their hands. Play the recording. Students listen and raise their hands.
In small groups or as a whole class, they brainstorm vocabulary likely to com e up on the recording. Each learner makes a list. Then they listen to the recording and circle the words they hear. In pairs or small groups, they write two or three questions about the information they think will be given. Then they listen and see howr many o f the questions they are able to answrer. Very often these are not actually listening tasks since learners can find the answer by reading. If you are using a b ook that has such exercises, have the students try to fill in the blanks before they listen.
They read the passage and make their best guesses. Then when they listen to the text, they have an actual listening task: to see if they were right. See Nunan, Chapter 8, this volume. L ook at Figure 4. For the first task, the students are asked to listen for the general meaning o f five conversations conversations between a doctor and a patient and conversations not between a doctor and a patient.
This is an excellent follow-up task since it moves from a general understanding o f the gist to a narrower, m ore specific understanding o f what was said. P 5SE Listen. Which are consultations between a doctor and patient, and which are general conversations? Circle the correct answer. What words gave you the hints? Often, subpoints within the conversation make g ood distracters.
Students listen and identify the main idea. W hat is the order? W hen the listening text is a story, list five or six events from the story. Students listen and put the items in order. It is often useful to tell them which item is number one to help them get started. Otherwise, the last item is obvious without listening. If pictures are available e. What do you think it means?
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Listen to the dialogue, then circle your answer. Now read the script to see if you were right. Man: So the office is, what, on the fifth floor? Woman: That's right, fifth floor. Room Well, shall we go up? It makes them aware o f the clues that gave them the meaning. It also provides information and an example for students who may not have gotten the correct answer.
This is because inference depends as much on the text-what is being said-as it does on the task. However, as teachers, we can try to be aware o f inference and look for opportunities to work with it. H ow do the speakers feel? H ow do you know that? W hy do you think so? Think of a listening lesson you have taught or experienced, or a time you had to listen to and understand something in another language or culture. Identify the following: 1.
What was the task? What did the students or you need to do? Was there a prelistening task? If there was, did it integrate top-down and bottom-up processing? If not, how could you have changed it to do so? What type of listening was it specific information, gist, inference, a combination? How could you have changed the type of listening using the same text recording , but a different task?
Think about how you would teach the lesson differently. If possible, explain your new plan to a partner. If that is not possible, just imagine yourself teaching the new plan. Write it out, step-by-step. In the process, we will note a few extra techniques teachers sometimes employ. In each case, the listening task itself is the second step in the activity.
The learners do a prelistening, which serves to activate the top-down and bottom- up schema. Each activity is follow ed with a speaking activity. As mentioned earlier, although listening is a different skill than speaking, they often go hand-in-hand. Also, students often com e to our classes to learn to speak. The prelistening task is to have the students work in pairs. Learners see how many opposites they can think of.
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They are thinking about descriptions—just w'hat they will need to do in the main task. Students, having created their own version o f the story, usually want to com pare their images with their partners. This is a useful example o f activating their background knowledge while preteaching vocabulary at the same time. O nce the students have com pleted the main task in their books, the teacher might elicit answers from the students and w'rite them on the board. Please ch oose how you want to listen.
If this was kind of difficult, watch me. Try to catch the answers as they say them. Imagine the people. What do they look like? Where are they? This final listening serves several purposes. It gives students a new task- albeit a simple o n e -a n d thus a new reason to listen. Finally, for those w ho choose the third option, it encourages imagination.
Then they exchange lists with another group and compare. This activity allows them to make use o f the ideas and language from the warm-up and the listening, and to personalize the task by relating the information to their own lives. In the sign activity, learners guess the meaning before they listen. By doing so, they are activating their previous top-down knowledge: the likely meaning o f the sign based on other signs they know.
It also puts them in touch with vocabulary and phrases, bottom-up information. A n d the fact that they have to com m it to an answer often increases student interest. They listen to see if they win the bet. As they listen, the teacher could suggest pair work, either to the whole class or to lower-level students. Another reason for doing the activity in pairs has to do with making the task easier. Students tend to focus on different parts o f the listening and listen in different ways.
By working in pairs, they tend to understand the listening m ore quickly. This idea can be used with nearly any sort o f listening where there are specific correct answers. A warm-up activity that integrates top-down and bottom-up data 2.
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A main listening task 3. A speaking task related to the previous task O ver the length o f a course, the listening tasks should be balanced to include a variety o f listening types and tasks.
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It is often useful to decide on the listening task before planning the warm-up. Often, the task itself will determine the kind o f information you want to elicit or preteach through the warm-up. Student speaking tasks often take place in pairs or small groups and require learners to listen and respond to each other. Imagine that you have a recording of it that you want to use for a lesson. What would the task be? What would the students do as they listened?
Design a lesson plan. What kind of prelistening task would you use? What kind of information would it target? How would you follow it up with a speaking task? Conclusion This chapter started b y emphasizing listening as an active, purposeful process. I also considered text difficulty, authenticity, and the use o f strategies. To that end, examples o f how to incorporate these ideas into the classroom and ways to m odify textbook tasks are provided.
If we do these things, our learners can becom e m ore effective, active listeners. Rinvolucri Dictation: New methods, new possibilities. This book is a cla ssic exploration of com m u nica tive po ssib ilities for dictation. M endelsohn, D. Rubin eds. This is a very acce ssib le overview of listening. M urphey, T. Resource Books for Teachers. Oxford: Oxford University Press. M urphey offers creative ways of using m usic in the classroom. M iller eds. New Ways in Teaching Listening. Rost, M. Teaching and Researching Listening. This is a very thorough ha nd bo ok for both tea chers and researchers, representing state-of-the-art tea chin g and learning to listen.
W hite, G. Listening Resource Books for Teachers. W hite provides m any ideas in clud in g using authentic texts and having students create their own texts. References Brown, G. Dimensions in difficulty in listening comprehension. In Mendelsohn, D. Brown, S. Menasche Authenticity in Materials Design. Listening at the Turn of the Century. Buck, G. How to Become a Good Listening Teacher. Mendelsohn and J. Chaudron, C. Richards Applied Linguistics. Day, R. Bamford Extensive Reading in the Second Language Classroom. H elgesen, M. Brown New York: Cambridge University Press. Just, M. Carpenter A Capacity Hypothesis of Comprehension; Individual differences in working memory.
Psychological Review. Long, D. Second Language Listening Comprehension: A schema-theoretic perspective. Modern LanguageJournal. Lynch, T. Theoretical Perspectives on Listening. Annual Review o f Applied Linguistics. Listen in 2. Peterson, P. Skills and Strategies for Proficient Listening. Celce-Murcia ed.
Longman Dictionary of Applied Linguistics. Rodgers Rubin, J. The Modern LanguageJournal, Rumelhart, D. Ortony The Representation of Knowledge in Memory. Anderson, RJ. Sprio, and W. Montagues eds. Schooling and the Acquisition of Knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
The Language Teaching Matrix. Titone, R. Teachingforeign languages: An Historical Sketch. Washington, D. Tsui, A. Fullilove Applied Linguistics, 19 4 What is speaking? If you have learned a language other than your own, which o f the four skills-listening, speaking, reading, or writing-did you find to be the hardest? Second, when you speak, you cannot edit and revise what you wish to say, as you can if you are writing. Language generated by the learner in speech or writing is referred to as productive.
Language directed at the learner in reading or listening is called receptive. Teaching speaking is som etim es con sidered a simple process. Com m ercial language schools around the world hire people with no training to teach conversation. Spoken language and written language differ in many significant ways. Here are some key contrasts van Lier, , p. So an audiolingual speaking lesson might involve an interaction like Example 1. T stands for teacher and S represents a particular student. Textbook lines are in quotation marks.
Now the next part. The concept o f habit formation, o f behaviorism, is the theoretical basis o f the audiolingual method. Students were not supposed to form bad habits, so teachers treated spoken errors quickly. Teachers worried that if errors were left untreated, the students might learn those erroneous forms. So students might spend several semesters repeating after the teacher, studying grammar rules, reciting dialogues, and learning vocabulary.
Ask someone who speaks that language well to see if people might have actually had that conversation. Does the language sound natural? If not, why not? During the late twentieth century, language acquisition research made us reconsider som e long-standing beliefs about how people learn to speak.
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Instead, infants acquiring their first language and people acquiring second languages learn the pieces by interacting with other people. This realization has several interesting implications. As a result, a m ethod called communicative language teaching arose. Two versions o f communicative language teaching emerged. The weak version says teachers should teach the components o f language but include communication activities.
However, in order to communicate well in another language, we must make ourselves understood by the people we are speaking with, and this is not an easy task—especially at the beginning and intermediate levels. There is some need to be accurate in speaking the target language. This is tricky because, as we saw in the speaking-writing contrast, there is limited time for planning and editing speech during conversations. It labels the units o f spoken language. Spoken texts are com posed o f utterances. A n utterance is something som eone says.
It may not be a full sentence, as the concept is used in writing. Eavesdrop on two people having a conversation. Do they use complete sentences or are their turns composed of shorter utterances? Share your answer with your classmates. These include prepositional phrases [to the store or after breakfast and infinitive phrases to eat or to look up.
Clauses are two or more words that do contain a verb marked for tense. These may be full sentences John ate the cake or something less than a full sentence Whilefohn was eating the cake.. Both clauses and phrases can be utterances, as can words, the next level in the pyramid. A w ord is called a free m orphem e-a unit o f language which can stand on its own and have meaning hat, flee, already, etc. There are also bound morphemes, which are always connected to words. These include prefixes, such as un- or pre-, as well as suffixes, such as - tion or -s or -ed. Identify the free and bound morphemes in this list: Action ski jumpers inappropriately dysfunctional nonrefundable The top levels o f the pyramid on page 51 deal with the sound system o f the language.
Pronunciation is covered elsewhere Murphy, Chapter 6, this volum e , so only a few related issues will be m entioned here. In Figure 1, the w ord syllable overlaps the levels o f m orphem es and phonem es. A phonem e is a unit o f sound in a language that distinguishes meaning. Think of five pairs of words where the phonemic distinctions are consonants as in pit and bit. Now think of five pairs where the phonemic difference is based on vowel sounds as in bit and bat.
Consonants and vowels are segmental phonemes. But syllables also consist o f com bined sounds the second syllable o f okay , and o f both free and bound morphemes. For instance, the free m orphem e hat consists o f three phonemes but only one syllable. O n the right side o f the pyramid there are three other labels. I think I know. In these four utterances, the bold italic typeface shows which w ord is stressed. The differences are related to the context where the utterances occur. You may not think I know the answer, but lYn pretty sure I do.
You may not know the answer, but I think do. I am not unsure—I am quite confident that I know the answer. Ask a friend to explain the difference in meanings in the following utterances: It was Jane who missed the bus. It was Jane who missed the bus. It is important for language teachers to understand these units o f language and how they work together. Given this background information, we will now consider five principles for teaching speaking.
Principles for teaching speaking 1. Be aware of the differences between second language and foreign language learning contexts. Speaking is learned in two broad contexts: foreign language and second language situations. A foreign language FL context is one where the target language is not the language o f com m unication in the society e. W hen he finally passed that course, his parents were so proud they sent him on a trip to Paris. A second language SL context is one where the target language is the language o f com m unication in the society such as English in the U K or Spanish in M exico.
Their speech seems to stop developing at a point where it still contains noticeable, patterned errors. Reflection Do you have experience learning a foreign language and then trying to use it with people who speak that language natively? Or have you learned a new language when you moved to a new country? If so, did you have any problems making yourself understood? What problems did you have? If you had no problems, ask some friends with different backgrounds. Give students practice with both fluency and accuracy. Fluency is the extent to which speakers use the language quickly and confidently, with few hesitations or unnatural pauses, false starts, w ord searches, etc.
In language lessons—especially at the beginning and intermediate levels— learners must be given opportunities to develop both their fluency and their accuracy. Reflection Think about when you have tried to learn a new language. How did you develop your fluency? How did you develop your accuracy? Think of an effective strategy for helping learners developing fluency and one for developing accuracy.
Provide opportunities for students to talk by using group work or pair work, and limiting teacher talk. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that teachers do approximately 50 to 80 percent o f the talking in classrooms. Pair work and group work activities can be used to increase the amount o f time that learners get to speak in the target language during lessons. Plan speaking tasks that involve negotiation for meaning.
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Research suggests that learners make progress by communicating in the target language because interaction necessarily involves trying to understand and make yourself understood. This process is called negotiating for meaning. Design classroom activities that involve guidance and practice in both transactional and interactional speaking. W hen we talk with someone outside the classroom, we usually do so for interactional or transactional purposes.
A ccording to Nunan, interactional speech is much m ore fluid and unpredictable than transactional speech. Classroom techniques and tasks Information gap is a useful activity in which one person has information that the other lacks. They must use the target language to share that information. For instance, one student has the directions to a party and must give them to a classmate. Jigsaw activities are a bidirectional or multidirectional information gap. Each person in a pair or group has some information the other persons need. For example, one student could have a timetable for train travel in Canada.
Another could have a map o f Canada. M any information gap and jigsaw activities can be done with simple props, such as coins. First, make sure each student in a class has a penny, a quarter, a nickel, and dime or the coins o f your country. Put the penny on the quarter. Put the dime below the quarter but not touching it. Put the nickel next to the dime on the right. Your aunt or. Try an information gap activity with tango seating. Using simple objects, give a friend instructions about how to arrange the items as you are doing the same thing with yours.
You and your partner must have identical sets of objects. When you have finished, compare the results. Role-plays are also excellent activities for speaking in the relatively safe environment o f the classroom. In a role-play, students are given particular roles in the target language. The other plays the role o f a police officer trying to help the tourist file a report. Role-plays give learners practice speaking the target language before they must do so in a real environment.
Simulations are m ore elaborate than role-plays.
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A check-out counter w ould be set up for the students to practice transactional speaking with the cashier. Plan a role-play activity for a language lesson. The task should involve two people for instance, a tourist and a waiter in a cafe. Write brief instructions on index cards. Try the role-play with a friend. In a second language environment, you can send students on an information treasure hunt in a nearby business district. Provide a worksheet which the students com plete by asking merchants questions. For instance, at a grocery store, they would have to ask how soon a shipment o f fresh fruit w ould be delivered.
In a train station or at a ferry terminal, for example, students can interview tourists. Afterwards the students com pile the results o f the class survey and report what they learned. The point is to get the students to speak with people using the target language. Speaking in the classroom Research has demonstrated that teacher-dominated classroom talk is one type o f unequal power discourse.
That is, the teacher usually has the pow er to determine the topics, distribute the turns, give feedback, and ask most o f the questions, am ong other things. Extract 1 Long, , p. In this segment the teacher was fini shing with the vocabulary item chemical pollution and m oving on to trousers, when S4 Carlos yawned loudly. Chemical pollution. Okay 2. S4: Yawning, O-o-o. T: Trousers! All right, Carlos S4 , do you wear trousers? S4: Always A ll my life.
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