Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Narrow Listening Tips

by AJ

Today I received a packet of research about "narrow listening", kindly sent to me by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. I'll write about these articles in several upcoming posts.

Today's post will highlight an article by Stephen Krashen called "The Case for Narrow Listening". The end of the article contains a number of suggestions for students wanting to maximize their listening efforts:

* Ask native speakers to speak for 2-3 minutes on a topic that is of interest to both them and you. Narrow listening should only be on topics that are of real interest. Boredom sets in rapidly when listening is undertaken only because it is in another language.

* You should already know something about the topic. Fill in your knowledge by first reading about the topic in your native language. This will make the foreign language input more comprehensible because you will have greater background knowledge.

* Tape record sessions and listen repeatedly, until interest starts to wane.

* Topics are changed gradually and you move to related topics. This will help ensure greater comprehensibility of input. One might move, for example, from current events to history.

* Commercial tapes are a possibility, but doing it oneself (with the help of native speakers of the target language) is preferable, as it helps ensure interest and comprehensibility.

As Krashen notes, narrow listening is a fairly low-tech, inexpensive, pleasant, and effective means of improving in a foreign language.

San Francisco, CA