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Helping learners with listening and reading

Teachers talking about helping with listening and reading.
One of the ways that students learn to listen I think when they’re in the classroom is to listen to the teacher and I know when you’re on a CELTA course, one of the things that you’re often taught is to manage your teacher talk time and you have to be careful. And it’s true, you do have to be careful that you don’t just waffle. But I think graded teacher talk time and carefully managed teacher talk time is important for students because you’re there as a model for good language. I think the main thing is teaching students not to listen passively and to read passively and to write passively.
All these skills demand concentration, they demand an active approach so teaching them how to do it actively rather than passively. Instead of just getting them to read a text actually creating that expectation of, “I want you to do something with this.” So that’s a major part of it. If the text is useful in my real life I want to understand it and it’s an important reading subject I think. Perhaps you could give them more global tasks, global understanding tasks or reaction to the text. Opinion giving where they wouldn’t get the chance maybe to even focus on individual items of vocabulary. They would kind of understand, perhaps, unconsciously that they can respond to the task without understanding 100% of the vocabulary.
So more global tasks and questions about the text. Or something that I really have enjoyed, I hope my students have half as much, maybe, is inference of word meaning from context, from a sentence. Very often the text just tells you what the word means. Get them to answer questions about the text or about a bit of listening that they did, so that kind of motivates them to listen more carefully because they have an aim. Most students simply haven’t had that much exposure to natural, perhaps native but it doesn’t have to be native just natural connected speech. They’ve been exposed to a lot of text, obviously, or bits and pieces of language or recordings, pre-scripted recordings and so on.
So I mean just getting them exposed to a lot of authentic material.

In the previous step you suggested some ideas for how we can help learners with listening. Let’s see how your ideas match with ours. Watch the video of teachers talking about helping learners to develop their reading and listening skills. Which ideas do you think would be most effective? Use your own experience of learning a second language to help you to decide.


Choose one idea to comment on. Tell us why you think this suggestion would be effective.

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Exploring the World of English Language Teaching

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