Listening as one of the most challenging skills for English learning students


Бұл ғылыми  мақала білім алушылардың білімін жоғарылату әдісі ретінде қолданылатын тыңдауға үйрету мәселесіне арналады. Ғылыми  мақалада шетел тілдерін оқытуда тыңдауға үйретудің рөлі, білім алушылардың тыңдау қабілеттерін дамыту қағидалары, белсенді тыңдау мен оның стратегиялары мен техникасы сипатталған. 


Эта научная статья направлена ​​на обучение навыкам аудирования, которые используются в качестве инструмента обучения. Исследовательская работа описывает роль слушания в обучении иностранному языку, принципы навыков слушания студентов, активное слушание и их стратегии и методы. 


This scientific paper focuses on teaching the listening skills that are used as a learning tool. The research paper describes the role of listening in foreign language teaching, the principles of listening skills of students, active listening and their strategies and techniques. 

Key words: listening, skills, challenges, communication, foreign language education  

Language is a medium of communication, which helps the members of a community in the society, to communicate and interact with one another. This involves both verbal and non-verbal communication. Language focuses on listening and reading that can be named as passive or receptive skills, while speaking and writing can be named as, active or productive skills. Listening is one of the important skills in learning a language. The process of acquiring a language starts with listening and ends up in the production of writing. After birth, a child hears variety of sounds and can distinguish among them. Every language has a common and a natural sequence for the development of the language skills. Listening skill is ranked first of all the four folds. This highlights the importance of listening skill in the life of human beings. Students normally face and encounter listening problems especially in foreign languages.

This paper presents arguments for an emphasis on listening comprehension in language learning/teaching. An explanation of how listeners can use strategies to enhance the learning process is presented, with a review of the existing research base on how second language listening is taught. The major part of the paper presents and discusses pedagogical recommendations.

Listening and speaking are often taught together, but beginners, especially non-literate ones, should be given more listening than speaking practice. It’s important to speak as close to natural speed as possible, although with beginners some slowing is usually necessary. Without reducing speaking speed it is possible to make a language easier to comprehend by simplifying vocabulary, using shorter sentences, and increasing the number and length of pauses in speech.

Given the importance of listening in language learning and teaching it is essential for language teachers to help their students become effective listeners. In the communicative approach to language teaching, this means modeling listening strategies and providing listening practice in authentic situations: those that learners are likely to encounter when they use the language outside the classroom.Comparing with other skills W. Goh said that «there are fewer insights about the process of listening and the way it is learnt». Similarly, D. Richards stated that: «there is little direct research on second language listening comprehension». As for that, we are doing this research not only to help students with better listening but also to contribute a small part to enrich the listening research which has been done so far.The problems associated with learning to listen are relevant due to the fact that listening is an integral part of speech communication and ensures its effectiveness, and due to the fact that most of the information a person receives through the auditory channel. According to psychology data, a person usually spends $ 70 of his waking time on all types of verbal communication. This time, in turn, is distributed as follows: 30% – speaking, 45% – listening, 16% – reading, 9% – writing. Naturally, the problems associated with listening to the communicative interaction of the teacher and students require careful and detailed consideration. The establishment of optimal interpersonal relations between teachers and their pupils requires the teacher to possess professional communicative skills of listening.

Special observations of the hearing of the teachers, analysis of the results of the ascertaining experiment give us reason to believe that the majority of teachers do not possess sufficiently professional listening skills. Consequently, they cannot optimally organize the process of communication, which, in turn, necessarily leads to a decrease in the quality of education [1].

For a long time, the problems of learning to hear one’s native speech remained outside the attention of methodologists. In recent years, a number of works devoted to learning to hear in school and in high school have appeared. Significant achievements are the methods of teaching foreign languages ​​in the matter of teaching listening, but the specificity of listening to foreign language does not make it possible to fully use this technique when learning to listen to native speech [2]. In this context, the question clearly arises of the need to create a methodology for teaching students of higher education institutions to listening as a professional skill.

Thus, the modern requirements for high professionalism of the teacher, the importance of teachers’ possession of professional listening skills, the lack of development of the problem of interest to us in the methodology determines the relevance of the dissertation research.

The study is based on the following hypothesis: if using the proposed system of classes to organize targeted learning to listen and to envisage in it both the improvement of general educational, general communicative, and the formation of professionally significant audit skills, this will contribute to creating students’ motivational readiness for the further development of auditory skills and increase the communicative competence of future teachers.

Listening as comprehension is the traditional way of thinking about the nature of listening. Indeed, in most methodology manuals listening and listening comprehension are synonymous. This view of listening is based on the assumption that the main function of listening in second language learning is to facilitate understanding of spoken discourse. We will examine this view of listening in some detail before considering a complementary view of listening — listening as acquisition. This latter view of listening considers how listening can provide input that triggers the further development of second-language proficiency [3].

Listening involves a sender (a person, radio, and television), a message, and a receiver (the listener). Listeners often must process messages as they come, even if they are still processing what they have just heard, without backtracking or looking ahead. In addition, listeners must cope with the sender’s choice of vocabulary, structure, and rate of delivery. The complexity of the listening process is magnified in second language contexts, where the receiver also has incomplete control of the language.

Given the importance of listening in language learning and teaching it is essential for language teachers to help their students become effective listeners. In the communicative approach to language teaching, this means modeling listening strategies and providing listening practice in authentic situations: those that learners are likely to encounter when they use the language outside the classroom.

Instructors want to produce students who, even if they do not have complete control of the grammar or an extensive lexicon, can fend for themselves in communication situations. In the case of listening, this means producing students who can use listening strategies to maximize their comprehension of aural input, identify relevant and non-relevant information, and tolerate less than word-by-word comprehension. In Listening classes, students are usually given practice in listening but they are not actually taught listening. Practice is not enough [4].

Students need to know and understand:

– how words link together (liaison);

– how vowels weaken (the central vowel);

– how sounds mix together (assimilation);

– how sounds disappear (elision);

– how syllables disappear (ellipsis);

– how helping sounds are used between vowel sounds (intrusion);

– how intonation helps with conversational turn taking (intonation);

– how stress signals new information (prominence);

– how to use grammar to help guess meaning (strategies);

– how to use discourse knowledge to help guess meaning (strategies);

– how to use knowledge of intonation and stress to guess meaning (strategies).

In order to define listening, we must outline the main component skills in listening. In terms of the necessary components, we can list the following:

– discrimination between sounds

–  recognizing words

–  identifying grammatical groupings of words

–  identifying ‘pragmatic units’ – expressions and sets of utterance which function as whole units to create meaning

– connecting linguistic cues to paralinguistic cues (intonation and stress) and to nonlinguistic cues (gestures and relevant objects in the situation) in order to construct meaning

  • using background knowledge (what we already know about the content and the form) and context (what has already been said) to predict and then to confirm meaning
  • recalling important words and ideas

Successful listening involves an integration of these component skills. In this sense, listening is a coordination of the component skills, not the individual skills themselves. This integration of these perception skills, analysis skills, and synthesis skills is what we call a person’s listening ability [4].

Even though a person may have good listening ability, he or she may not always be able to understand what is being said. In order to understand messages, some conscious action is necessary to use this ability effectively, so it is not possible to view it directly, but we can see the effects of this action. The underlying action for successful listening is decision making. The listener must make these kinds of decisions:

  • What kind of situation is this?
  • What is my plan for listening?
  • What are the important words and units of meaning?
  • Does the message make sense?

Successful listening requires making effective ‘real time’ decisions about these questions. In this sense, listening is primarily a thinking process – thinking about meaning. Effective listeners develop a useful way of thinking about meaning as they listen. The way in which listener makes these decisions is what we will call a listening strategy [5].

  Communication is an important skill for every modern student to master. Advances in digital media, changing career landscapes, and greater competition in colleges and workplaces makes improving student communication skills a must. Cramming tips the night before a big interview won’t do the job if students are trying to make an impression in the collaborative workplaces of the future. When it comes to acquiring indispensable communication skills, there’s no time like the present. The Path to Improving Student Communication Skills

These 8 tips can help teacher immensely with improving student communication skills. They can be adapted for most every kind of student from kindergarten to high school. Build better speakers and writers of tomorrow by challenging your students to think critically, listen actively, and work together.

1. Watch films that model conversation skills.

2. Use technology.

3. Reinforce active listening.

4. Offer group presentations and assignments.

5. Ask open-ended questions.

6. Use tasks and activities that foster critical thinking.

7. Offer reflective learning opportunities.

8. Find teachable moments [5].

The aim of my research was to investigate and analyze some efficient ways of teaching listening in schools. I was convinced that teaching listening will be more effective and successful if the teacher would take into consideration the peculiarities of teaching active listening in schools and properly use strategies and techniques of active listening also if he should use as much various kinds of activities recommended by foreign teachers and methodologists as possible.


1  Brown, Gillian, Listening to Spoken English, Second Edition. – Longman, 2000. – 178p.

2  Brown, Gillian, and Yule, George, Teaching the Spoken Language. – Cambridge University Press, 2002. – 162p.

3  Byrne, Donn, Teaching Oral English, New Edition. – Longman, 2007. – 140p.

4  Harmer, Jeremy, How to Teach English. – Longman,2001. – 285p.

5  Harmer, Jeremy, The Practice of English Language Teaching, New Edition. – Longman, 2001. – 296p.

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