Monday, October 30, 2017

Problems that come across with listening comprehension.

Quoting Raphael Ahmed, teacher at the British Council Bangladesh, we must consider that listening occupies about 45 per cent of the time adults spend in communication, which is significantly more than the rest of skills, such as speaking (30%), reading (16%) and writing (9%).

Students can make different mistakes in English pronunciation, grammar, orthography and vocabulary usage. When students listen to English language, they face a lot of listening difficulties. 

Listening comprehension skills vary a lot from person to person and it may take years of painful and frustrating learning depending on the age, motivation, and aptitude.

According to Harmer's book, The Practice of English Language Teaching, there are two types of listening, external and internal. The external listening is that which students come across in situations outside the classroom, (listening to the radio/songs, TV, watching movies and with native speakers). Nonetheless, the internal listening problems take place within the classroom with the teachers and classmates (instructions and conversations).

The reasons why some people find listening in a foreign language difficult vary just as much, so here I list the possible reasons why it might be so based on personal experience when it comes to external listening:

1. They spend time to get used to the accent and pace of the activity. 
Unfamiliar accents both native and non-native can cause serious problems in listening comprehension.

2. They try to understand word by word.
When listening texts contain known words it would be very easy for students to understand them. If students know the meaning of words this can arouse their interest and motivation.

3. They find it difficult to read and listen at the same time.
We must understand the text as we listen to it, keep the information in memory, combine it with what follows and adjust our comprehension of what we hear through previous knowledge and next information.

4. They got lost in translation trying to guess the meaning of the previous word.
Teachers should encourage their students to develop listening strategies. Predicting, asking for clarification, and using non-verbal cues are some examples of these strategies that improve learners’ listening comprehension ability.

5. They can't tell the difference with how the words are pronounced.
Listening is related to good pronunciation; therefore, teachers should have good and acceptable pronunciation which can help learners to become better listeners.

6. People speak too fast for them to follow.
Teachers should ask their learners to always listen to music, documentaries, and news on the radio and television, talk to native speakers face to face or on the Internet so that they can create and reinforce a good habit of listening in themselves.

7. They get tired as they don't usually practice listening skills.
It is very difficult for lower level students to listen more than three minutes long and complete the listening tasks. Short listening passages make easy listening comprehension for learners and reduce their tiredness.

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