listening skills, strategies
Listening comprehension skills & strategies
Listening comprehension is the receptive skill in the oral mode. Listening comprehension means listening and understanding what we hear. In our first language, we have all the skills and background knowledge we need to understand what we hear, so we probably aren't even aware of how complex a process it is. But, in the second language, we need to know the complex process in order to improve our listening comprehension.
There are two kinds of listening situations: interactive, and non-interactive. Interactive listening situations include face-to-face conversations and telephone calls, in which we are alternately listening and speaking, and in which we have a chance to ask for clarification, repetition, or slower speech from our conversation partner. Some non-interactive listening situations are listening to the radio, TV, films, lectures, or sermons. In such situations we usually don't have the opportunity to ask for clarification, slower speech or repetition.
In order to have a good listening comprehension, the following skills need to be acquired:
1. Keep chunks of language in short-term memory.
2. Discriminate among the distinctive sounds in the new language.
3. Recognize stress and rhythm patterns, tone patterns, and intonational contours.
4. Recognize reduced forms of words.
5. Distinguish word boundaries.
6. Recognize typical word-order patterns.
7. Recognize vocabulary.
8. Detect key words, such as those identifying topics and ideas.
9. Guess meaning from context.
10. Recognize grammatical word classes.
11. Recognize basic syntactic patterns.
12. Recognize cohesive devices.
13. Detect sentence constituents, such as subject, verb, object, prepositions, and the like.
The following strategies are important to improve listening comprehension:
1. Before listening: Plan for the listening task
1) Set a purpose or decide in advance what to listen for.
2) Decide if more linguistic or background knowledge is needed.
3) Decide whether to listen to the overall meaning or focus on the words and phrases.
2. During and after listening: Monitor comprehension
1) Verify predictions and check for inaccurate guesses.
2) Decide what is and is not important to understand.
3) Listen/view again to check comprehension.
4) Ask for help if needed.
3. After listening: Evaluate comprehension and strategy use
1) Evaluate comprehension in a particular task or area.
2) Evaluate overall progress in listening and in particular types of listening tasks.
3) Decide if the strategies used were appropriate for the purpose and for the task.
4) Modify strategies if necessary.
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