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Adopting the Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar Defense Language Institute October 15, 2011. The Nature of Listening. Listening is personal, internalized and time-constrained. The listener reconstructs the message from the speaker’s utterance.

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The Nature of Listening


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    1. Adopting the Process Approach to Teaching ListeningDr. Jian Kang LoarDefense Language InstituteOctober 15, 2011

    2. The Nature of Listening • Listening is personal, internalized and time-constrained. • The listener reconstructs the message from the speaker’s utterance. • L2 listeners approach the partially understood input differently Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    3. Critical review of the Comprehension Approach (CA approach) • The CA approach is based on the one to teaching reading • Written multiple-choice options are more difficult to interpret than the recording • CA tests listening but does little or nothing to teach it. • The CA focuses on the product of listening, but provides no insights into the process. • The CA overemphasized the function of context information. Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    4. Process Approach to teaching listening (PA)Rationale • The process approach is based on the insights provided by listening research. • The PA is concrete. Teaching is based on skilled listeners’ behavior. • The PA relies on a program of focused, small-scale exercises. • The teacher is better equipped for developing the skills in the classroom. Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    5. Process Approach to teaching listening (PA)Two Components of the Process Approach • Decoding: Decoding turns the acoustic input into ever-larger units of language. • Phonemes syllables  words  word chunks clauses • At early stages, focus first on practice at word level. • Another two large patterns: grammatical structure and intonation Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    6. Process Approach to teaching listening (PA)Features of the Decoding Process • The listener has to turn acoustic signals into units of the language. • Decoding takes the form of a matching process. • Listener’s linguistic knowledge is the key factor for decoding. • The final product of decoding is an abstract idea. • Listening seems to be an online activity. Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    7. Process Approach to teaching listening (PA)Examples of important L1 decoding processes • Phoneme level • Identifying consonants and vowels • Adjusting to speaker’s voices • Syllable level • Recognizing syllable structure • Matching weak syllables and function words • Word levels • Working out where words begin and end • Matching sequence of sounds to words • Identifying words which are not in their standard forms • Dealing with unknown words Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    8. Process Approach to teaching listening (PA)Examples of important L1 decoding processes (cont) • Syntax level • Recognizing where clauses and phrases end • Anticipating syntactic patterns • Checking hypotheses • Intonation group level • Making use of sentence stress • Recognizing chunks of language • Using intonation to support syntax • Reviewing decoding at intonation group level Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    9. Meaning-building process • Enrich/expand the literal meaning or raw message by drawing on the context. • Context: world/topic knowledge, the listener’s personal experience • co-text: what has been said so far in the conversation. • Decide the relevance of the speaker’s speech to the present situation, Decide information or unimportant information Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    10. Meaning-building processThe importance of decoding • Which process contributes more to L2 listening success? • Tsui and Fullilove’s (1998) research shows: • skilled listeners use context to enrich the message, • unskilled to supplement poor decoding • Unskilled listeners depend on co-text to identify words, co-text knowledge is unavailable • For unskilled listeners, recognizing words takes up working memory, leaving no memory spare for wider meaning Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    11. Meaning-building processImplications for the Teacher • Be careful to switch a student’s attention from bottom-up to top-down alternative. • Vary the use of context information according to listeners’ level. • In pre-listening phase, use brain-storm activity for different purposes. • The relationship between input and context is not a constant one, but one that revolves. Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    12. Implementation of the Process Approach in the Classroom How do we provide practice once a process problem has been identified? • Divide the macro listening skill into parts that are practiced individually. • In the early stages, devote time/effort to building up learners’ decoding process. • Used context knowledge according to the level of the learners. • The input should vary in the few respects: 1) Speech rate: slow and careful rapid relaxed; 2) Adjustment to speakers: one familiar accent  many unknown accents; 3) Speaker fluency: fluent and planned  not very fluent and spontaneous Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI

    13. Implementation of the Process Approach in the Classroom (cont) • The teacher observes closely, take notes of the breakdowns of understanding, design small-scaled exercises focusing on the problems identified. Micro-listening task lasting 5-10 minutes. • Prognostic approach: the teacher, based upon his previous experience, offers a pre-planned program of small-scaled exercises, focusing on a single aspect of L2 that is likely to cause learners problems. Process Approach to Teaching Listening Dr. Jian Kang Loar - DLI