Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Using Authentic Aural Materials to Develop Listening Comprehension in the EFL Classroom

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Using Authentic Aural Materials to Develop Listening Comprehension in the EFL Classroom

Article excerpt

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the influences of authentic aural materials on listening ability of thirty female undergraduate psychology majors studying English as a foreign language. It basically focused on using authentic materials and real-life situations as part of the communicative approach. The results of the listening comprehension post test were compared to that of the pretest using a 2-tailed t-test (P< .05). Analysis of the interviews and the questionnaire revealed that the use of authentic materials in the EFL classroom enhanced EFL students' listening comprehension ability. Results showed a statistically significant improvement in listening ability of the EFL students. Recommendations were offered to ease students' frustration that resulted from the speed of authentic speech. Pedagogical implications of the results were discussed along with the impact on EFL students' listening comprehension development.

Keywords: Aural, Authentic material, Listening comprehension, Real- life situation, EFL

1. Introduction

Listening is probably the least explicit of the four language skills, making it the most difficult one to learn. It is evident that children listen and respond to language before they learn to talk. When it is time for children to learn to read, they still have to listen so that they gain knowledge and information to follow directions. In the classroom, students have to listen carefully and attentively to lectures and class discussions in order to understand and to retain the information for later recall. Teaching listening can be hard for teachers and students both. Students who are fine with speaking at their own pace and reading may have trouble listening to a recording that is a regular-speed conversation. Listening is often confusing for an English learner. There are a number of reasons for this:

* Layers of sound. Unlike reading in which the learner is given a single text to follow, in real-life situations native speakers speak over each other, at different volumes and speeds and often with frequent interruptions. The written equivalent is having two or three texts mixed up with some writing bigger and some smaller and sentences interrupted by comments and other sentences.

* Accents. While written English is pretty much the same the world over, there are a myriad of accents in spoken English which can make it even more difficult for the learner to follow a conversation. The written equivalent is having different handwriting plus having the same words spelt differently depending on who is writing them.

* Intonation is the way in which a sentence is sounded. Native speakers do not speak in monotone but raise or lower the pitch of an utterance as they speak. The most common example is when they make a simple question. There is no one-stop solution to this problem. However, in the classroom there are a number of strategies a teacher can use to help students listen well.

* Once the teacher has an idea about the problems a learner faces, s/he can better find solutions and effective methods of teaching. Thus it is important to explain to the class how the written sentence can differ from the spoken sentence because of the reasons above. When the students know that in certain situations articles, for example, are almost not spoken then they learn to "hear" this in an utterance.

* Many students are bound to the written word. When doing a listening exercise, the teacher can have all books closed so the students only listen rather than try to match the sounds to words on the page.

* The teacher can introduce accents into the class. The teacher can have the students listen to a "neutral" text and then the same in an accent and have them point out and analyze the differences in pronunciation.

Native speakers listen, in general, for two main reasons: 1. Specific information. 2. Gist. An example of listening for specific information would be to find out the departure time of a delayed plane over an airport system. …

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