Всеукраїнська науково-практична інтернет-конференція 17 квітня 2015
присвячена 150-річчу ОНУ ім. І.І.Мечникова та 55-річчу факультету романо-германської філологіі
«Дослідження та впровадження в начальний процес сучасних
моделей викладання іноземної мови за фахом»
Shevchenko Iryna, Professor
V.Karazin Kharkiv National University
AUTHENTIC LISTENING ACTIVITIES
Features of authentic language use are making their way into ELT materials, although it continues to be characteristic of listening materials that they are recognisable as not being the “real thing” i.e. instances of spoken language which were not initiated for the purpose of teaching. We shall call this “real” language not intended for non-native learners authentic.
The following linguistic features that ruin authenticity of texts have been distinguished:
ü Intonation (the one which indulgent mothers use to babies causing amusement in learners, irritation, and as a result – general demotivation.
ü Received pronunciation (most speakers of British ELT tapes (RP) and cassettes have an RP accent which is quite unlikely to be heard in Britain, since only a tiny minority of British speakers have this accent).
ü Enunciation (speakers tend to enunciate words with excessive precision; assimilation and elision are minimal).
ü Structural repetition (a particular function or structure recurs with obtrusive frequency).
ü Complete sentences (the speakers in such materials also typically express themselves in neat, simple, rather short, well-formed discrete sentences, usually with formal syntax and lexis).
So there is a massive mismatch between the characteristics of the discourse we normally listen to and those of the language which the student normally hears in the ELT classroom. There is, moreover, an unrealistic match between the characteristics of the language which the student listens to and that which he is taught to produce. This match between the language for production and reception is perhaps a major reason for the classic situation in which students do well in the classroom but are unable to transfer their skills to the world outside.
Why have the characteristics of production and reception been confused in this way? In our opinion, the purpose of listening practice was primarily to model structures for language production (Rivers, 1964: 103). Listening was the first step in a teaching strategy for production, and so had nothing to do with the handling of new information and unpredicted language with its diverse characteristics, which is the essence of authentic listening.
The following are only few instances of our real life everyday experiences in listening that may help to illustrate the mental processes happening while listening and their outputs:
1. Listening to the radio (e.g. weather, news etc):
— listening with little awareness of the content of what is being said. Output: zero.
— evaluative listening and scanning for topics of interest to self or companion
Output: summarizing and later retelling to companion.
— focused listening for specific information, e.g. about the day’s weather.
Output: e.g. selection of appropriate clothes to wear.
2. Listening in face-to-face conversational interaction.
— evaluation, mental commentary and developing a line of thought. Output: oral response;
— listening for conversational signals to start one’s own turn. Output: taking a turn at the appropriate moment.
— affective listening, i.e. not to what the speaker is saying but to how he or she is saying it (e.g. is he or she annoyed, pleased, taken aback, etc.). Output: response to affective signals.
— listening for feedback. Output: appropriate modification or repetition of utterance content.
Students will find listening to authentic texts more difficult than listening to the usual idealized and standardized material. The degree to which they can perform the activities suggested will depend on what linguistic and paralinguistic clues are available and how able the learners are to make use of them. This sort of consideration will determine which texts are chosen.
1. Crystal, D., D. Davy. 1969. Investigating English Style. London: Longman.
2. Hughes, A., P. Trudgill. 1979. English Accents and Dialects. London: Arnold.
3. Naimann N., M. Frohlich, H. Stern and A. Todesco. 1978. The Good Language Learner. Research in Education Series No. 7, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Rivers, W. M. 1964.
4. The Psychologist and the Foreign Language Teacher. Chicago: Chicago University Press.