TEACHING LISTENING OR TESTING LISTENING?


Listening is one of the most prominent skills in language learning. Nevertheless, it has not been paid a careful attention in practice. The SMA textbook which is claimed to be using communicative approach does not provide vivid plans to teach listening comprehension. Another proof is that the lessons in secondary schools do not provide the teaching of listening comprehension skill although the outline of teaching programs (GBPP) clearly states that listening comprehension skill is one of curricular goal to be achieved in the teaching of English.

Aside from the presented ironic facts, many linguists such as Paulston and Bruder emphasise that listening comprehension is no considered a passive skills. According to Rivers (1966), listening to a foreign language involves two levels of activity. The first is called recognition level in which it involves the words and phrases identification in their structural relationships, the time sequence identification, and so forth. The second is selection level in which it involves the drawing out of elements in the communication which possibly contain the essential part of the message. Therefore, it is clear that these reasons support the notion that listening skill is not a passive skill.

Listening activity needs plenty allotted time. Thus, it has to be begun early in the program. Rivers (1966), states that training at the recognition level must begin from the first lesson. And in accordance to the theory of the stages in comprehension, Rivers (1968) recommends four stages for teaching listening as follows:

(1)   identification,

(2)   identification and selection without retention (memorization),

(3)   identification and guided selection with short-term retention, and

(4)   identification, selection, and long-term retention.

 

While Chastain (1971) states that the aim of listening comprehension is to understand native speech in unorganised situation. Thus, he suggests that the listening comprehension is done in the following stages:

(1)   sound discrimination,

(2)   auditory memory, and

(3)   comprehension

 

Paul Paulston and Bruder (1976) propose the following steps for listening exercises:

(1)   selection of the teaching point,

(2)   focusing of the students’ attention,

(3)   listening and completion of set tasks, and

(4)   feedback on performance

 

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