Introduction to Listening
Hello! My name is Mahmoud Al-Batal and I am an Associate professor of Arabic in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. One of the areas in which I've been interested as a language teacher is listening, and I am happy to be here with you today to engage you in a discussion on listening.
As learners of languages, you all realize how important listening is for communication, especially in this modern age of technology in which tremendous amounts of language input come to us through listening. Yet, despite this importance, the listening skill has not received the attention it deserves for a variety of reasons which we will discuss later in this module. While students in many language programs listen to audio recordings of the dialogues included in their textbooks, listening-only activities continue to be absent from many programs and little is done to provide systematic training in developing effective listening strategies.
My goal in this listening module is trifold: First, I hope to raise awareness among all of you of the importance of listening. Second, I hope to encourage you to think about where listening is in your curriculum and how it can be made a more "active" component of this curriculum. And third, I would like to explore with you ways in which this heightened awareness of listening can be translated into classroom activities and practices. The following module consists of four lessons. In the first lesson, "Thinking of Listening," we will discuss the importance of listening and the challenges that face teachers in dealing with listening. We will also present some principles that will help guide your thinking about teaching listening. In the second lesson, titled "Approaching a Listening Text," we will suggest some steps that you can implement in class when teaching listening. In the third lesson, "Putting it into Practice," we will visit an advanced Arabic class and look in on students engaged in a listening activity. And finally, in the fourth lesson, we will browse together Aswaat Arabiyya, an Arabic online listening materials project, to demonstrate how technology can help us integrate the listening skill within our curriculum.
I hope that, in working on this module and listening to the ideas presented, you will come up with questions related to the how, what, when and where of teaching listening and that that you will take these questions to your classroom and your program to seek answers that suit you and your students. The most important thing is to have confidence in the ability of your students to develop listening proficiency. Listening can be intimidating, but the students will take their cues from you, their teacher. You can help them build their listening skills and their confidence. Good luck and happy listening!
- 1 Thinking of Listening
- Where listening fits within our vision of language teaching. Explore some of the challenges involved in teaching listening.
- 2 Approaching a Listening Text
- The phases of listening and the types of activities that support learning at each phase.
- 3 Putting it into Practice
- How the different phases of listening discussed in Lesson 2 can be applied in a real classroom setting.
- 4 Listening Online
- Teaching listening using the online listening program Aswaat Arabiyya.