5 Ways to Improve Listening Skills in the EFL Classroom

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Listening is one of the more difficult skills to master when learning a foreign language. At the same time, it can be one of the more difficult skills to teach in the EFL classroom. Because it is such a complex skill which requires knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation, it can be tricky to know how to improve listening skills l in the classroom. The problem then becomes that teachers are unsure how to handle listening in the classroom and end up addressing listening tasks quite haphazardly and ineffectively.

To help you out, here are six strategies to help improve your learners’ listening skills.

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR STUDENTS LISTENING SKILLS IN YOUR TEFL CLASS

Consider the genre

In real life, when we listen we have an understanding of the genre of whatever we are listening to. This helps us process the information we are hearing. In the classroom we can discuss the background to the listening text so that the listening is not being done in isolation. In other words, the students can think about the participants, the formality of the text, the format of the text and ultimately predict the content.

Consider the speaker

Similarly, students need to think about the characteristics of the speaker before they can be expected to tackle the content of the listening. This is done by listening to the speaker and becoming comfortable with the speaker’s voice and accent. In reality, this is what happens when we first start listening to someone speak and we adjust to their speech patterns. In the classroom, this is done by allowing the students to listen to a short extract from the listening before tackling the main task to familiarise themselves with the speaker.

Get the students involved

Invariably we want our students to ask some kind of questions about the listening, to ensure they have understood what they have heard. Instead of giving them questions, give them some time to construct their own questions based on the information they have from the initial short extract. In other words, they will write questions about what they think will come up in the listening. These questions can then be given to other students to answer during the listening.

Get feedback

Once the listening text has been played a few times and the students have answered what questions they can, allow some time for feedback. During this time the students can compare the information they found out by listening for the answers to their questions. Bearing in mind that there will be numerous different questions, there will be different answers and different information found out. Once the content of the text has been dealt with adequately, ask questions which will elicit a personal response from the students.

Don’t forget about language

The final piece of the puzzle is to tackle any language issues which may have come out of the listening. It is usually necessary to provide the listening script to the learners so that the language can be seen as well as heard.

Listening is a complex skill and helping our learners become more adequate listeners is no easy feat. By following these five steps your listening lessons will be that much more effective and your students will become that much better at listening.

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