Listening plays an important part in the development of speaking skills and mental representation in the target language; hence the need to give a great importance in developing skills that can help students achieve their goal of speaking confidently in a foreign language.
In second language learning, when someone is exposed to an audible material, the information goes through three processing stages called:perception, parsing, and utilisation.
In the perceptual stage , what is heard is perceived and stored in the short-term memory and is quickly analysed. This stage is generally hard for non-native speakers; words recognition is impaired due to various factors like accents and speech rate.
In the parsing stage, the new information is reduced into its component parts and matched with old information stored in the long-term memory in order to guess the meaning.
In the stage of utilisation, the new information that has been parsed interact with the person's knowledge to allow understanding so this information can be retained in their long-term memory.
There are three type of strategies during the three processing stages that can be used to enhance the learner's success. These strategies are called: Metacognitive, cognitive, and Social/affective.
The Metacognitive strategies are about strategies used when learners are planning, monitoring and evaluating their comprehension of the recorded text.
The Cognitive strategies are directly related to the auditory information and consist of processing like elaboration, inferencing and translation.
The Social/Affective strategies include asking for clarification and taking control of one's emotions while listening.
An effective listener uses cognitive and metacognitive strategies to make a meaningful interpretation and is able to use prior knowledge to extract information from what they are listening to.
An ineffective listener is usually distracted by unfamiliar words, and will more often use translation as a strategy.
The aim of Strategy Learning Sessions is to teach learners to make decisions by choosing the right strategies to help them deal with language tasks.
The students should be able to be trained to use more metacognitive listening; they should be able to plan what to listen for, stay focus, predict what comes next, monitor and evaluate their understanding.
Once trained,learners speaking performance in the target language improves.
How to use Listening Strategies in your own Language Learning?
Here are some tips:
1-Choose the topic of the recording you want to listen to.
2-Before you listen, think about this topic:
- What do you already know about it?
- What could be the text about?
- Which words do you think they might use that you already know?
- Which words do you think they might use that you want to look up in a dictionary?
- 3-While you’re listening:
- Pay attention to the listening text.
- Try to ignore the words you don’t understand.
- Use your general knowledge and the text itself to find out the meaning.
- Focus on key words and facts
- Take notes. This will help you remember your weak points.
- Pay attention to the way the speaker stresses some words. This might give you some clue about their meaning.
- Try to think ahead: how might the story unfold?, what might the speaker say?, which word might they use?
- 4-After listening:
- Check if you understood the main points.
- Were your guess before listening right?
- Have you had any problems while listening?
- 5-Listen again to the whole text paying more attention to difficult passages, this time. Repeat the process now with a written text, if you have one available.
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