Listening skills are very important in everyday life. One must understand what people are saying and what is happening around them. In order for this to be done effectively, one must be an active listener. This is achieved when the listener is listening for meaning; when the listener checks if the statement has been heard and understood correctly. The goal of this is to improve mutual understanding. Many people believe that listening skills are taught when in elementary school or during childhood.
Truthfully, one can never really learn all the skills and apply them all the time. Many times people will be “listening” to someone talk but in their head will be thinking about something else, or even be distracted by something that is going on around them. Therefore, to become a better listener, one must make eye contact with the speaker, observe the speakers behaviour and body language and also paraphrase the speaker’s words and write them down as notes. Having good listening skills may come in helpful in a variety of situations.
For example, during class, while taking notes, during a job interview, while interviewing a person, during counselling, while having a serious conversation with a friend or loved one, or while on the job, especially in a journalistic setting. In groups, listening skills may help attain better information and research or even assist in reaching a compromise or conclusion. Being a good listener has its benefits. By having good listening skills one can avoid having misunderstanding, resolve conflicts, get people to open up, and build trust.
In order to develop pupils’ listening skill, teachers should make pupils listen to songs, rhymes and stories. To show their understanding of what they have heard, pupils can be asked to answer questions that require them to recall ideas, give details and even talk about the ideas heard. 1 Here, I will state the objectives, rationale and steps of the listening skill activity. a)Objectives of the activity By the end of the lesson, pupils should be able to a)Listen to simple short stories and recall the names of people, animals and thing. b)Listen to simple short stories and recall the story-line by answering simple
Wh-questions. c)Listen to simple short stories and shared feelings about the story. b)Rationale of the activity This activity all students to become active participants in the listening process rather than passive listeners. It encourages interaction by “live” listening and expose students to a variety of voices beside the teacher’s voice. It also develops their ability to listen well and become more independent learners. Pupils are able to reproduce their accuracy and refine their understanding of grammar and also develop their own vocabulary. c)Steps of the activity )
Teacher asks pupils to listen to the short story in the CD player. b)Pupils listen to the story and teacher asks pupils on the character mentioned in the story. c)Pupils listen to the short story for the second time. d) Teacher distributes the worksheets for the pupils to answer. 2 e)Pupils listen to the story again for the third time and answer the questions given in the worksheet. f)Teacher discusses answers with pupils and talks about the story. d)Sample of worksheet for listening activity Instruction : Listen to the short story and answer the questions. 1.
How many large pots does the water bearer have? AHe has one large pot. BHe has two large pots. CHe has three large pots. 2. Where is the water bearer going? AHe is going to his friend’s house. BHe is going to the master’s house. CHe is going to the mistress’s house. 3. How many pots of water does he deliver? AHe delivers one and a half pails of water. BHe delivers two and a half pails of water. CHe delivers three and a half pails of water. 4. Who talked to the water bearer? AThe sun talked to the water bearer. BThe flowers talked to the water bearer.
CThe cracked pot talked to the water bearer. 5. Why did the cracked pot feel ashamed? AHis pot was empty. BHis pot was full of water. CHis pot was only half full of water. 6. What did the cracked pot do along the way? AHe looked at the green grass. BHe looked some small stones. CHe looked at the wild flowers. 7. Who planted the seed? AThe water bearer. BThe cracked pot. C The water bearer’s master 8. Who watered the wild flowers? AThe master watered the wild flowers. BThe water bearer watered the wild flowers. CThe cracked pot watered the wild flowers. 9. What did the cracked pot see along the path? AHe saw the sun and grass.
BHe saw the sun and wild flowers. CHe saw the wild flowers and the master. 4 10. What did the water bearer do with the wild flowers? AHe decorated the master’s room. BHe decorated the master’s table. CHe decorated the master’s kitchen. e)Examples of responses, the evaluation criteria and marks allocation for assessing students’ responses During the activity, the student listens to a passage instead of reading it. Since listening performance is strongly influenced by motivation and memory, the passages are carefully chosen so that it is short and interesting.
While listening the student have to answer 10 multiple-choice questions that address various levels of literal and inferential comprehension. The multiple-choice questions are focus on the passage listened by the students from the CD player. After the activity, the answers for the multiple-choice questions are given to the students. For each correct answer, the students will be given 2 marks so if the students get all questions correct, he or she will get 20 marks. 5 f)Assessment criteria and distribution of marks related to the specific objective of activity Rubrics of listening activity
BANDS| EXCELLENT| SATISFACTORY| WEAK| VERY WEAK| SCORES| 16 – 20| 11 – 15| 6 – 10| 0 – 5| This worksheet contains 10 multiple-choice questions. Each correct item is awarded 2 marks. The maximum raw score a student can achieve on the worksheet is 20 marks. There are four criteria of band for the listening activity. The band starts from very weak, weak, satisfactory and excellent. Each band represents a score of 5 marks. 6 SPEAKING SKILL According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English (2009), speaking is the action of conveying information or expressing ones thoughts and feelings in spoken languages.
Chaney (1998), however, considered speaking a process of building and sharing meaning through the use of verbal or non-verbal symbols in variety of contexts. Sharing the same viewpoint, Flores (1999) added that speaking is an interactive process, which consists of three main stages which are producing, receiving and processing information. In language teaching and learning, speaking is considered a skill to practise and master. In the light, Nunan (2003) put it that speaking is the productive oral skill.
It consists of producing systematic verbal utterance to convey meaning. Bygate (1987) investigated the distinction between knowledge and skill in speaking lesson, which he considered as crucial in the teaching of speaking. Indeed, to be a good learner of speaking, studying knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, intonation, etc, is not enough but the skill to use this knowledge to communicate successfully is indispensable. In the classroom, pupils should be given lots of opportunities to talk in class so that they gain confidence to speak in the language.
Opportunities should be given to pupils to role-play, participate in drama activities that make them use the language suitable for the role or situation. In this respect, pair or group work activities allow for all pupils to engage in speaking activities at the same time. Pupils should also be encouraged to talk in English to other pupils and teachers in school. Here, I will state the objectives, rationale and steps of the speaking skill activity. a)Objectives of the activity By the end of the lesson, pupils should be able to a)Retell stories heard before with expression. )Talk about the actions of people, animals or things in the story heard or read. c)Give reasons why one likes or dislike the story.
7 b)Rationale of the activity This activity helps student to increase their academic knowledge and encourages their intellectual curiosity. Speaking activity also strengthens the ability to analyse and evaluate topics of interest and fosters independent learning. It also promotes awareness of the need for opinions coupled with knowledge and it involves the process of careful thought prior to reaching a conclusion or making a decision to dopt a belief or course of action. Not forgetting where it also promotes critical thinking of the students. c)Steps of the activity a)Teacher asks pupils to read the short story, The Cracked Pot. b)Pupils read and understand the story. c)Teacher asks pupil to summarize the story in their own word. d) Teacher asks a few wh-questions to the pupils based on the story. e)Pupils give reason why the like or dislike the characters or story.
d)Sample of worksheet for speaking activity Instruction :Retold the story read. :Answer a few questions based on the story. Tell ones’ like or dislikes. Example of questions : 1. How many large pots does the water bearer have? 2. Where is the water bearer going? 3. How many pots of water does he deliver? 8 4. Who talked to the water bearer? 5. Why did the cracked pot feel ashamed? 6. What did the cracked pot do along the way? 7. Who planted the seed? e)Examples of responses, the evaluation criteria and marks allocation for assessing students’ responses During the activity, the pupils read the short story, The Cracked Pot given by teacher.
Then, the teacher asks pupils to retell the story using their own word. Teacher allocates marks when pupils retold the story. After that, teacher asks a few questions based on the story. Finally, teacher asks the pupils whether they like or dislike the story. For each activity, marks are awarded based on their fluency, grammar and pronunciation. The marks given are according to the marks given. f)Assessment criteria and distribution of marks related to the specific objective of activity Rubrics of listening activity ACHIEVEMET| SCORE| CONSTRUCT| BAND DESCRIPTORS|
EXCELLENT| 12 – 15| Grammar & Vocabulary| – Excellent use of sentence structures to convey intended meaning effectively- Correct and accurate use of grammatical structures- Interesting expression used Appropriately| | | Pronunciation& Intonation| – Excellent pronunciation and intonation to convey intended meaning correctly- Very clear articulation, enunciation and word stress| | | Fluency & Rhythm| – Very fluent speech- Very smooth flow of coherent ideas presented through the effective use of discourse markers| | | Ethics & Mannerism| – Respond with excellent mannerism using polite expressions and utterances- Show interest and enthusiasm| GOOD| 8 – 11 | Grammar & Vocabulary| – Correct use of sentence structures to convey intended meaning effectively – Correct use of grammatical structures- Good control of language in terms of the range of vocabulary and expressions used with minor slips that do not disrupt meaning| | |
Pronunciation& Intonation| – Correct pronunciation and intonation most of the time with occasional slips- Very clear articulation, enunciation and word stress| | | Fluency & Rhythm| – Fluent speech with occasional pauses- Smooth flow of coherent ideas presented through the effective use of discourse markers| | | Ethics & Mannerism| – Respond with good and appropriate mannerism using polite expressions and utterances- Show some interest and nthusiasm| SATISFACTORY| 4 – 7| Grammar & Vocabulary| – Satisfactory use of sentence structures with some errors but meaning is generally clear- Adequate use of language with some grammatical errors but meaning is mostly clear- Fair control of language in terms of vocabulary and expressions, meaning is generally understood although there are some mistakes| | | Pronunciation& Intonation| – Satisfactory pronunciation and intonation with some words wrongly pronounced but meaning is not distorted- Satisfactory articulation, enunciation and word stress| | | Fluency & Rhythm| – Very fluent speech- Very smooth flow of coherent ideas presented through the effective use of discourse markers| | |
Ethics & Mannerism| – Respond with satisfactory Mannerism using a few polite expressions and utterances- Show a little interest and enthusiasm| WEAK| 1 – 3| Grammar & Vocabulary| – Minimal use of sentence structures with consistent errors which distort meaning- Excessive grammatical errors which distort meaning| | | Pronunciation& Intonation| – Poor pronunciation and intonation but meaning may or may not be distorted- Attempt to articulate but flawed by poor pronunciation and word stress| | |
Fluency & Rhythm| – Lack fluency with minimal or no utterance- Minimal or no flow of ideas| | | Ethics & Mannerism| – Respond impolitely and in an inappropriate manner- Show no interest and enthusiasm| In this activity, students are awarded marks based in the speaking skills. The maximum raw score a student can achieve is 15 marks. There are four main criteria in speaking rubrics. They are weak, satisfactory, good and excellent. APPENDIX The Cracked Pot – A Short Story A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on each end of a pole, which he carried across his neck.
One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. For a full two years, this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his master’s house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to see as a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. ”
“Why? ” asked the bearer. What are you ashamed of? ” “I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts,” the pot said. The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path. ” Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some.
But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again it apologized to the bearer for its failure. The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house. 14
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