Teaching Speaking Listening

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Teaching Speaking & Listening through Communicative ActivitiesErin Lowry Senior English Language Fellow Workshop for Manizales Bilinge February 17, 2009

The Challenge To integrate skills To provide opportunities for authentic communication contexts To give a reason for communication (information gaps) To assess these skills in an objective manner


What Makes Listening Difficult? Clustering Repetition Reduced forms Performance variables Colloquial language How fast someone speaks Stress, rhythm, and intonation Interaction

Principles for Teaching Listening1. Expose students to different ways of processing information Bottom-up vs. Top-down Interactive

2. Expose students to different types of listening 3. Teach a variety of tasks 4. Consider text, difficulty, and authenticityHelgeson, 2003

Types of Classroom Listening Reactive Intensive Responsive Selective Extensive Interactive

Brown, 2001

Principles for Designing Listening Techniques Use techniques that are intrinsically motivating Use authentic language and contexts Carefully consider the form of listeners responses Encourage the development of listening strategies Include bottom-up and top-down listening techniquesBrown, 2001

Successful Listening Activities Purpose for Listening A form of response (doing, choosing, answering, transferring, condensing, duplicating, extending, conversing) Repetition depends on objectives and students level A motivating listening text is authentic and relates to students interests and needs Have the skills integrated Stages: Pre-task , While-task, Post-task

Activities for Beginners Top-down Activities identifying emotions, understanding meaning of sentences, recognizing the topic

Activities for Beginners Bottom-up Activities discriminating between intonation contours, phonemes, or selective listening for different morphological endings, word or sentence recognition, listening for word order

Activities for Beginners Interactive Activities listening to a word and brainstorming related words, listening to a list and categorizing the words, following directions

Listening Strategies Teach student how to listen Looking for keywords Looking for nonverbal cues to meaning Predicting a speaker s purpose by the context of the spoken discourse Associating information with one s existing background knowledge (activating schema) Guessing meanings Seeking clarification Listening for the general gist For tests of listening comprehension, various testtaking strategies

Easy-to-plan Pre-Listening Activities Brainstorming Think-Pair-Share Word Webbing/Mind Mapping Team Interview

Easy-to-Plan Listening Tasks Agree or disagree (with explanation) Create Venn diagrams List characteristics, qualities, or features Strip story (sequencing game) Match speech to visuals Compare and contrast to another speech or text Give advice

More Listening Tasks Compare and contrast to your own experience Create your own version of the missing section Plan a solution to the problem Share reactions Create a visual Reenact your own version

Activities in a Listening Lesson Introductory Intro to topic of the listening text and activities that focus on the language that will be used

Main Comprehension activities developing different listening subskills

Post Learners talk about how a topic in the listening text relates to their own lives or give opinions

Easy to Plan Post-listening Assessments Guess the meaning of unknown vocabulary Analyze the speaker s intentions List the number of people involved and their function in the script Analyze the success of communication in the script Brainstorm alternative ways of expression


Distinctive Feature PHONOLOGY



Morpheme WordSTRESS



Utterance Text

What Makes Speaking Difficult? Clustering Redundancy Reduced forms Performance variables Colloquial language Rate of delivery Stress, rhythm & intonation Interaction

Tips for Teaching Speaking Use a range of techniques Capitalize on intrinsic motivation Use authentic language in meaningful contexts Give feedback and be careful with corrections Teach it in conjunction with listening Allow students to initiate communication Encourage speaking strategies

Fluency vs. Accuracy Speaking at normal speed, without hesitation, repetition, or self-correction, and with the smooth use of connected speech Speaking using correct forms of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation

Principles of Teaching Speaking Beginners Provide something for the learners to talk about Create opportunities for students to interact by using groupwork or pairwork Manipulate physical arrangements to promote speaking practiceBailey, 2005

Principles of Teaching Speaking Intermediate Plan speaking tasks that involve negotiation for meaning Design both transactional and interpersonal speaking activities Personalize the speaking activities whenever possibleBailey, 2005

Tasks & Materials1. Conversations, guided conversations & interviews 2. Information gap & jigsaw activities 3. Scripted dialogues, drama, & role-play 4. Logic puzzles 5. Picture-based activities 6. Physical actions in speaking lessons 7. Extemporaneous speaking

Communicative Tasks Motivation is to achieve some outcome using the language Activity takes place in real time Achieving the outcome requires participants to interact No restriction on language used

Example Communicative Tasks Information gaps Jigsaw activities Info gap race (p. 83) Surveys Guessing games

Questions? Email: erin.lowry@gmail.com

Website: http://colombotech.pbwiki.com


Bailey, K.M. (2005). Practical English Language Teaching: Speaking. New York: McGraw-Hill. Bishop, G. (2006). AP State English Lecturers Retraining Program Teacher s Handboook. Senior ELF Seminar Series given in Hyderabad, India. Brown, H.D. (2001). Teaching by principles: An interactive approach to language pedagogy. White Plains, NY: Longman. Helgesen, M. (2003). Listening. In D. Nunan (Ed.). Practical English Language Teaching. New York: McGraw-Hill. Liao, X.A. (2001). Information Gap in Communicative Classrooms. EL Forum, 39 (4). Retrieved from http://exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol39/no4/p38.htm. Lynch, T. (2003). Communication in the language classroom. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Richards, J.C. & Renandya, W.A. (eds.) (2002). Methodology in language teaching: an anthology of current practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Slagoski, J.D. (2006). Teaching Listening Skills. Senior ELF Seminar given in Samara, Russia. Retrieved from http://slagoski.googlepages.com/downloadpresentations.