I need help with listening for a false beginner

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I need help with listening for a false beginner

Unread postby Joanna » 15 Mar 2007, 15:54

How could I teach a false beginner? my TEFL course requires me to write an overview of a lesson for an Italien who has very bad listening and speaking skills. What would be the most effective way to improve these skills?

Thanks in advance

Joanna :roll:

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I need help with listening for a false beginner

Unread postby Lucy » 18 Mar 2007, 19:04

Dear Joanna,

I suggest you take a listening activity from one of the Headway books (check first with the school the copyright regulations and any agreements they have signed). Elementary would correspond to false beginner and there are two good listening activities in that book on seasons and comparing the country with city life. At pre-intermediate level, there are activities on life in Sweden and “it drives me mad”. I have suggested these topics because they can lead into interesting speaking activities; you could choose a different subject if you prefer. You will need to judge which level is best for your student. I suggest you speak to your tutor or to somebody who has already taught him. It’s important that you choose an activity that will challenge him without being too difficult.

A useful framework for listening activities is the following: a short discussion about the topic; this should be brief and just introduce the subject. The next step is to introduce any difficult language. You will need to go through the transcript and select language you think your student will find difficult. I suppose your student won’t have difficulty with the actual words from a low level listening; so, at this stage you should focus on the pronunciation of the words. The next step is to set a general listening task. For example: “does the speaker prefer the country or city life?” “Which season do the speakers prefer?” The student listens once for the answers to these questions. The next task is to set specific questions; for example, “why does the speaker like summer?” “What 3 reasons does he mention for preferring the country?”. After listening, you could do some language work. In the case of your student, I suggest you focus on pronunciation rather than grammar or vocabulary. I think this will be more appropriate because he probably has a good knowledge of language and by focussing on pronunciation he can benefit more fully from the presence of a native English speaker. Choose some words from the cassette that contain the same sound and work on those. Finally, have a discussion with your student about his opinions and experiences of the topic. You should note any errors he makes while speaking and review these at the end. Allow him to speak freely without interrupting during the discussion.

You will also need to consider what to do if your student doesn’t get any of the answers right. I don’t think it is useful to listen to a cassette repeatedly. A better approach is to change the activity. For example, you could use the transcript with parts of it blanked out. The student listens and fills in the blanks.

Good luck!


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