Skills: listening 4. Autonomous learning and listening sources.

Skills: listening 4. Autonomous learning and listening sources.

The TEFL Centre works in collaboration with an English academy, the New English Centre, which is a Cambridge exam preparation centre. We have found that one of the hardest tests for students in recent years is the listening exam. It seems to be, together with speaking, the skill which is most affected by student autonomous learning.

Students can be helped greatly in their listening skills in the class, but at the end of the day, it is often simply a matter of how many hours they have been exposed to original version English speaking company, films, TV, music or radio. The more exposure they get, the better.

For this reason it is important for us to promote out-of-the-class listening activities.

Here are a few tips:

1)      Tell students to always watch films in original version first, then in dubbed or subtitled version. The second viewing will clear up any misconstrued ideas, and ideally a third viewing in the original version again would be beneficial. This is particularly easy to do with young learners, who will watch Disney movies again and again.

2)      While watching TV, e.g. the BBC news channel, tell students to have a notebook by the television so that they can note down key unknown vocabulary and look them up. News items have the benefit of being repeated often over the course of a few days, meaning the student can hear the same basic information but said in slightly different ways and by different presenters.

3)      Suggest your students download lyrics to songs and try to understand them. Invite them to come into class with lyrics sheets and share them with other students or ask for clarification of meaning with you, the TEFL teacher. This is also a jumping board for using songs in the class, but if the students themselves have provided the original material, all the better (heightened student interest, you know it’s something they like, they are sure to hear it repeatedly over time thus recycling the learning, you can highlight the structures you have been focussing on).

4)      Especially for higher level learners, encourage your students to have an English speaking radio station direct link on their desk top or their mobile phone. Look for and suggest programmes that you think they might enjoy, and ask them to give you updates on the latest episodes. BBC 4 could be a good option for this.

5)      Locate venues (online usually) where language learners meet up for language exchange events. This is common in larger cities. These are good places for speakers of different languages to practice and make friends.

6)      Audio CDs or CDROM material from course books can be assigned to students for homework or project work. At the TEFL Centre we also recommend using books on CDs as useful supplementary material that can be used over the course of a term or academic year. There is a wealth of titles to choose from, and students could be asked to present a summary of the content to their class, make their own listening tests for their fellow students, or act as the basis from which to hold debates.

All of these ideas are aimed at encouraging students to expose themselves more to listening outside the classroom, and attach some kind of task to the listening in order to motivate their autonomous learning.


Tags: tefl course malaga, tefl training, skills, listening, autonomous learners
Posted on September 7th, 2017


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