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Listening in the Language Classroom

Product details
Listening in the Language Classroom

Listening in the Language Classroom

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John Field







Date Published

January 2009

Product description

This book challenges the orthodox approach to the teaching of second language listening, which is based upon the asking and answering of comprehension questions.

The book's central argument is that a preoccupation with the notion of 'comprehension' has led teachers to focus upon the product of listening, in the form of answers to questions, ignoring the listening process itself.

The author provides an informed account of the psychological processes which make up the skill of listening, and analyses the characteristics of the speech signal from which listeners have to construct a message. Drawing upon this information, the book proposes a radical alternative to the comprehension approach and provides for intensive small-scale practice in aspects of listening that are perceptually or cognitively demanding for the learner.

Listening in the Language Classroom was winner of the Ben Warren International Trust House Prize in 2008.

Key features

  • Critically examines the way that listening is approached in the classroom, and suggests ways in which the standard approach can be reshaped. This encourages teachers to question the prevailing methodology and to reflect on practice. Outlines an alternative approach that is more effective, more sensitive to learner needs and more related to real-life listening outcomes
  • Provides a detailed and well-informed account of the nature of L1 listening and the ways in which L2 listening diverges from it providing the language teacher with a clear set of goals for listening instruction, and redresses a number of mistaken beliefs.
  • Gives a detailed account of the nature of the speech signal and of the problems posed for those who encounter it as second language listeners. This enables the language teacher to identify more closely with the difficulties faced by the L2 listener.
  • Proposes a new methodology for the teaching of listening based upon small-scale practice of target problem areas. It offers a more productive alternative to the standard methodology, one which focuses upon the process of listening rather than the product and one which produces better listeners rather than simply supplying more and more practice.

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