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Chapter 1 . What is listening? Helgesen , M. & Brown, S. (2007). Listening [w/CD ] . McGraw-Hill: New York. Daily Listening. What have you listened to today? Alarm Radio/TV/MP3 player Bus/Subway announcements Overheard other’s conversation

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Chapter 1

Chapter 1

What is listening?

Helgesen, M. & Brown, S. (2007). Listening [w/CD]. McGraw-Hill: New York.

Daily listening
Daily Listening

  • What have you listened to today?

    • Alarm

    • Radio/TV/MP3 player

    • Bus/Subway announcements

    • Overheard other’s conversation

    • Participated in a conversation with peers, superiors, parents, brothers/sisters, workers…

    • Other?


  • Which definition do you prefer (p.3) and why?

  • Which characteristics are most important?

  • Write your own definition of what listening is, but don’t copy any of the existing ones.

    • Continue to refine this throughout the semester.

    • It might be a question on the final.

Listening vs hearing
Listening vs. Hearing

  • What is the difference between listening and hearing? Is there one?

  • Do the action activity on p. 4

  • The position of the authors is that listening is an active (rather than passive) skill.

    • It is still considered a receptive skill (like reading).

  • The reaction to and use of listening require active skills (writing or speaking)

Reciprocal listening
Reciprocal Listening

  • Talking at you or with you?

  • Non-reciprocal listening is done when you (as the listener) are not responding to the input.

    • Radio, TV, language cassettes, podcasts, lectures (in many cases)

  • Reciprocal listening is interactive.

    • You listen and respond, which alters the next stage. You shape the interaction and, thus, the listening required.


  • Two general ways to consider the listening process: bottom-up and top-down.

  • Bottom-up processing builds comprehension by processing the pieces of language: sounds, syllables, words, phrases, sentences, grammar, stress, and so forth.

  • Top-down processing builds comprehension by comparing incoming signals to schema

    • Content schema: Your general knowledge of the world.

    • Textual schema: knowledge of language use and requirements in particular situations.

  • A mix is always used by listeners, though the nature of the mix differs significantly based on proficiency.

Teaching listening
Teaching Listening

  • A typical lesson has three parts: pre-listening, listening, and post-listening

  • Pre-Listening

    • Motivation

    • Schema activation

    • Topics, vocabulary, structures, etc…

    • Readings, pictures, discussions, performances….

  • What kind of pre-listening ideas can you think of for the following listening text?

Listening task
Listening Task

  • Listening Task

    • Problems with the listen and report approach.

      • Little resemblance to “real” listening tasks.

      • The comprehension activities don’t inform the teacher or learner as to where success and failures are caused.

      • Is the problem with listening comprehension or the inability to formulate a response?

    • Tasks are listening for a purpose.

      • Global Listening: listening for gist, for the overall main idea(s)

      • Listening for specific information

      • Making inferences

  • What listening tasks can you think of for this listening?

Post listening

  • Post-Listening

    • Checking of answers

    • Comparing answers with peers

    • Further discussion of the topic of the listening

    • Use the language involved

    • Motivation

  • What post-listening tasks can you think of for this listening?

Assessing listening
Assessing Listening

  • Assessment

    • Action and feedback on that action

      • Types: self, peer, teacher, automated

  • Formal assessment(testing)

    • These are assessments that are planned and attempt to measure classroom learning

  • Four key concepts

    • Validity

    • Reliability

    • Practicality

    • Washback


  • The test measures what it intends to measure.

    • This concept has many components, including: face and content validity (as well as predictive, concurrent, convergent, and discriminant validity)

    • The important thing to remember for your class is that your test should measure classroom learning, not writing, presentation skills, conversational skills, and so forth.


  • The test outcomes should be consistent

    • Similar scores for similar performances.

      • Example of scores from the first performances should be similarly scored as those from the last performances.

  • What is important for your class is that you should design assessments that can be consistently scored.

    • Some ways to help this are:

      • Rubrics

      • Benchmarks

      • Training (practice doing it before you do it for the real class)


  • Another term for practical is realistic.

  • The assessment should be something that can be done in your situation.

    • Ex, It may not be realistic to assess each of your students’ communication skills by hiring a native speaking interviewer.

      • You likely have too many students and too little funding and time to do this.


  • What appears on the test is likely to appear in instruction.

  • This is particularly important in the Korean context.

    • If it’s not part of the college entrance exam, it is de-valued.

  • Think about these issues when answering the Reflection questions on page 19

Testing techniques
Testing Techniques

  • Discrete-item Tests

    • Multiple choice

  • Integrative Tests

    • Summarizing, fill-in-the-blank, dictation

  • Communicative Tests

    • Completion of a communicative task: writing, spoken, peformance

  • Interview Tests

  • Self-Assessment

    • Scoring based on criteria or holistic score of performance

  • Portfolio Assessment

    • Ongoing assessment (including any of the above) that focuses on the entirety of the learning experience and the display of growth based on artifacts.

Assessment wrap up
Assessment Wrap Up

  • What kinds of assessment would you use to test student comprehension of this listening?