The First Reading

I read the first 18 pages of the assigned article: Teaching Listening and Speaking, From Theory to Practice for J. Richards. It is a real interesting article and it explains a lot about teaching listening, the part I read.I know that I have to give students background about what they should expect in the listening and provide them with certain tasks that they should do before, while, or after listening. I have always thought a lot about teaching listening and I think that most of the techniques that many teachers do especially in second language contexts is for answering questions and academic learning. We do not teach students how to ‘acquire’ language, we teach them how to ‘learn’ it. ‘Learning’ has to do with answering questions and getting them correct. However, ‘acquiring’ means using the language in many contexts. For me, as a second language teacher I find difficulty when I need to design activities for students to use  what they learn in the class in natural contexts. The article has given me some ideas that I would use in my classes.

I think the most important concept I got out of this article is processing  listening can be bottom- up and can be up-bottom.

The bottom-up is: understanding the words in that utterance to understand the meaning, dividing the words in chunks. This depends on the learners’ lexical and grammatical competence.

Example:

“I drove yesterday to buy some flowers to my sick friend, but I found the flower shop closed. So, I bought some a nice box of chocolate. ”

Understanding this sentence would just require the learner to have some background about grammar and vocabulary.

However, top-bottom depends on the background of that the listener has on the words mentioned in the context.

For example:  Some African countries have famine and droughts.

The listener has to understand the meaning first of famine and droughts to ask questions following that sentence, such as which countries and so on.

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