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LISTENING

Listening is used in language teaching to talk about a difficult process that allows us to understand spoken
language. Listening, is usually used with the other skills of speaking, reading and writing. Listening is not
only a skill area in language performance, but a critical means of acquiring a second language (L2).

Listening comprehension is a key initial step in communication. The better a student can understand what
is being said, the better will be their ability to communicate. In addition, they will be better able to notice
the characteristics of the target language which will help improve their language development in all four
key skill areas.
Listening involves 'bottom-up' processing and 'top-down' processing. Both bottom-up and top-down
processing are assumed to take place at various levels of cognitive organization. This process is described
as a 'parallel processing model' of language understanding. The entire network of interactions serves to
produce a 'best match' that fits all of the levels. In L2 listening pedagogy, two complementary approaches
reflect perspectives on more effective learning. One emphasizes the integrated teaching of listening with
other L2 skills. The other is related to the learner's use of metacognitive and cognitive strategies to
strengthen the learning process. (Mendelsohn,1994; Rost, 2005; Vandergrift, 1999, 2004)
Listening in language teaching has had significant influences, as the result of developments in
anthropology, education, linguistics, and other fields of knowledge. Listening began to assume an
important role in language teaching during the late-nineteenth-century. An approval of Chomsky's innatist
views (1965) headed to the notion of the meaning-seeking mind and the concept of a 'natural approach' to
language learning. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, applied linguists recognized that listening was the
primary channel by which the learner gains access to L2 and it serves as the trigger for acquisition.
Four areas affect how listening is integrated into L2 pedagogy:
- Listening in SLA (Second Language Acquisition). Linguistic environment serves as the stage for SLA.
This environment provides linguistic input resulting in listening opportunities engrained in social and
academic situations. The ability to understand new language, is made possible by speech adjustments
made to learners, in conjunction with the learner's use of shared knowledge of the context.
- Speech-processing. Many factors are activated in speech perception. Research in spoken-language
recognition shows that each language has its own 'preferred strategies', involving four fundamental
properties: the phonological system, phonotactic rules, tone melodies, the stress system. Of these four
components in word recognition, stress is often reported to be the most problematic in L2 listening.
- Listening in Interactive Setting. Much research on L2 listening in conversation concludes that, in order
to become successful participants in target-language conversation, listeners need to employ a great deal of
'interactional work'. Evidently, knowledge of speakers' cultural norms influences listening success.
- Strategy Use. Listening strategies are conscious plans to deal with incoming speech. Learner use
metacognitive strategies, cognitive strategies and socio-affective strategies.
The teaching of listening involves the selection of input sources. For instance, prelistening activities can
be employed in teaching learners to notice the cultural scheme and to raise their consciousness of the
effect of culture. The design of listening practice can include a number of features that make the
development of L2 listening abilities pertinent and realistic. The availability of digital contents and
internet downloads of sound and video files has vastly increased potential input material for language
learning. Although there have been important advances, there is still a lot of work to do to be able to
update the teaching of listening.
READING
Reading can be seen as practice, product or process. The first has been the interest of anthropologists. The
second focuses on the form and meaning of written texts and their constituent parts. The third perspective
is related to the role of the reader in the process of the written language and the strategies that works to
construct meaning from text.
Practice: Focus On the Uses of Reading. It is important to see reading and writing as part of language
behavior beyond the learning of specific skills or strategies. Reading and writing practices have high
importance because of social and historical factors particular to the cultural setting.
Product: Focus on Text. Sometimes in some contexts, text and parts of texts are priority to reading. A
different kind of text-focused approach to reading. A different kind of text-focused approach to reading is
exemplified by the genre approach; this approach considers texts as a whole, focusing not on word or
sentence emphasizing the value for readers of an awareness of the distinctive features.
Process: Focus on Reader. Take the reader rather than the text as a point of departure. The nature of this
knowledge can be characterized model, allowing a reader to relate netext-based knowledge to existing
world knowledge.