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Using Technology in Improving Student Listening Ability

December 30, 2009

1) How is technology useful to teach listening?

a. Technology is useful to teach listening because each type of technology provides opportunities for students to explore their ranges of listening strategies. And it allows for more emphasis on certain aspects, such as cross-cultural, interactional, critical, and contextual dimensions of listening, to be developed. Technology also makes learning process of listening more entertaining.

( Source: Second Language Listening : Theory and Practice. John Flowerdew Page:182)

b. Using media, for example radio, could be an effective way to develop students’ listening skills and build up student confidence in listening since they did not have sufficient access to native speakers.

(Source: Taken from Forum Magazine in Listening volume 35 number  2, April 1997 Pages 47-48 Article: Using VOA News item by                       Ho Xiooqiong)

2) What kinds of media that we can use to improve listening skill?

There are various kinds of media that we can use to teach listening. They are:

a. Radio

Listening to the radio is one of the most accessible ways a learner has of developing listening skills. Listening to the radio is not an activity that is often used in class time. Perhaps, this is because radio, listening can be done only in real time and the scheduling of language classes to catch particular radio program is difficult.

b. Audio-tapes

Audio cassette players are the simplest and cheapest way to provide listening practise opportunities for students in classroom. Because nearly all general courses books these days have accompanying audio cassettes, a cassette players has become an essential tool in the language classroom.

c. Video

The use of video to help develop listening skill has received much attention since it began to appear regularly in language classes in the mid 1970s. The obvious contextualization of language provided by video, made it a popular medium in non-English-speaking contries.

d. Computer-Assisted Language Learning

Since the 1960s, computers have been used in language education. During this forty-year period, the use computers could be divided into three main stages : behaviorist computer-assisted language learning ( CALL); communicative CALL; and integrative CALL (Warschaver and Healey 1998). Each of these stages corressponds to the available tehnological and the prevailing pedagogical theories.

(Source : Second Language Listening : Theory and Practise. John  Flowerdew. Pages 165-178)

3) What part of listening ability we can develop by using technology?

1. a. Hearing the sounds

By using technology, for example radio, we would have an access to know how native speakers pronounced their words. Therefore, it would help us to be able to distinguish between two similar words, like, think and thing,etc.

b. Understanding intonation and stress

The English system of stress, intonation and rhythm, though perhaps less obvious difficult than problems of the actual sounds, can interfere with the foreign learners proper understanding of spoken English.

c. Predicting

If the listener can make a guess as to the sort of thing that is going to be said next, we will be much more likely to perceive it and understand it well. We may even be enabled to do without altogether

d. Understanding colloquial vocabulary

Much of the vocabulary used in colloquial speech may already be known to the foreign learner; but this does not mean that we are familiar with it. Therefore, technology help us to be more familiar with vocabulary in colloquial speech, for example by using video.

e. Understanding different accents

We can differentiate various accents spoken by native speakers, for example by watching movie. Movie provides different people for different accents.

2. By using media ( in this case VCR or Video Cassette Recorder ) students learn to listen and grasp meaning from English spoken at a normal or near-normal speed ; they also are introduced to a variety of different accents, speech patterns and voice types.]

(source: Taken from Forum Magazine volume XXIV number 2, April 1986, Pages 24-34; Article: The VCR in the EFL Classroom, written by Donald’ E Hall)

3. By listening to the radio especially news broadcast, the students could enrich their vocabulary. For example they could get:

a. Common vocabulary

In news broadcasts, there are certain words that are frequently used. In VOA special English for instance about 1500 words are often repeated in several broad categories such as polities, economy, science in technology, military matters.

b. Proper names

c. Acronyms.

(source: Taken from Forum Magazine volume XXIV number 2, April  1997 Pages 47-48, Article: Using VOA News Items, Written by Hu  Xioaqiong)

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