Academic Listening = Active Listening

For students, being able to comprehend information by listening (+viewing) is an important skill to hone for both college and career preparedness.

For teachers, understanding listening as a skill and being able to effectively apply active listening techniques and strategies can really scaffold students into listening fluency. 

TESOL Trainers provides powerful professional development to educators on strategies to promote academic listening fluency.

Students laughing in a classroom
Students are given a listening task to hone their listening skills.
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What does listening as a language domain entail?

There are 4 domains of language:  speaking, listening, reading, and writing.

Listening, in a linguistic sense means effectively understanding verbal input.  In an academic sense, being able to listen effectively has profound importance on student success.  Whether students are listening to their peers, their teachers, or something coming from a screen or monitor, one thing is true:  Students are constantly listening to something

‚ÄčJust consider how important listening is in these situations:

Teacher reviewing the key points of the story: Room on the Broom.

Listening in an Academic Setting

  1. Teacher gives instructions on how to do an activity.
  2. Teacher provides a lecture on the day's content.
  3. Class watches a Youtube video, movie clip or other viewing material.
  4. A peer shares something (response/comment/question) with the whole class.
  5. Teacher explains why a student's response/example/work was correct or incorrect.
  6. A peer comments during a turn and talk.
  7. Teacher gives brief oral suggestions (made while walking around the class) to an individual's work.
  8. And so on....

Listening in the Workplace

  1. Manager explains how the employee should do some work-related task.
  2. Head of HR gives talk on new workplace policies.
  3. Each employee must watch 90 minutes of training videos per month.
  4. A colleague gives some tips on how to operate some technical aspect of the job.
  5. Manager gives a performance review.
  6. A customer calls on the phone and makes a comment or complaint.
  7. A superior gives a brief talk to staff.
  8. And so on.....

Why is teaching listening important?

Top 4 reasons why actively teaching listening as a skill is important:

  1. Of the 4 domains of language, listening is the language skill least taught.  Just consider how much more time is spent teaching reading and writing.
  2. Listening is a critical component of the Common Core State Standards (accompanies speaking throughout).  Its visible presence demonstrates its importance.
  3. Being able to comprehend information aurally is critical to career and college success (note previous list of instances in which listening becomes important).
  4. Students face real challenges when it comes to listening which most of them cannot overcome without transparent teacher support and the conscious development of listening skills and strategies.

Teachers need to change how they approach listening as a critical component of language fluency.

Most teachers do not understand now important listening is, the challenges that students face, and strategies that teachers can use to scaffold students into being able to listen actively and effectively in an academic setting.  As a result, teachers often never teach how to listen (for specific information, for example).  

Many educators treat listening like a memory test.  

Students listen to something and are asked specific questions about the audio they heard.  The only students who succeed with this strategy are the ones who didn't need the practice.  They were already fluent.  However, the rest of the students (which tend to be the majority), do not succeed on their own.

Strategies to Support Listening Fluency

Fortunately, there are many research-based strategies and techniques to promote listening fluency among all students.  Here are a few ways that TESOL Trainers can empower your teachers with academic listening KASA:

  1. ‚ÄčKnowledge:¬†¬†We help teachers see what the skill of listening entails. ¬†Listening is more than just not talking. ¬†Effective listening takes more than just having a set of ears.
  2. Attitude:  TESOL Trainers also helps teachers grasp the challenges that students have when listening in the classroom and reasons for those challenges.
  3. Skills:  We also give educators scores of low-no prep strategies and techniques they can use to turn their students into effective listeners.
  4. Awareness:  TESOL Trainers uses the Experiential Learning Cycle as a means of helping teachers develop their own awareness levels surrounding listening as an language skill.
Students need support to become active listeners.
Students feel more successful and more apt to participate if they have strong listening skills.

TESOL Trainers will set your teachers and students up for success!

TESOL Trainers offers a powerful set of professional development that will dramatically transform the way that listening is approached by teachers and students at school. ¬†Contact John Kongsvik, the director of TESOL Trainers, to discuss how we can set you up for success.‚ĄĘ¬†

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