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Teaching Micro-skills of Listening in an EFL Classroom

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It can be found that classroom listening which is created artificial often differ considerably from that of the natural real-world listening. As realistic conversations and listening opportunities in the target language are often difficult to arrange in a classroom setting it is imperative that the ESL teachers choose listening activities and listening comprehension materials that would offer true exposure to the target language spoken by the native users of the language. While introducing commercial productions of CD-ROM or DVD in the classroom (which may sound easier for the ESL learners compared to the language spoken by native speakers) the ESL teacher should convince the learners that these differ from authentic speech uttered by the target language community.

Similarly, it is also important to convince the learners of both the formal and informal varieties of the target language to facilitate meaningful listening. Similarly, natural listening experiences take place in a definite context and offer greater opportunities and communicative redundancies for the listeners to  grasp the meaning of the oral text. On the other hand, classroom listening does not offer the learners any such redundancies and the learners have no scope to recover the missed details (Horwitz, 2008, p.

71). The various obstacles to effective listening have been documented by other researchers as well. In this respect, Underwood (1989) points out that there are seven conceivable obstacles to effective listening. These include the listeners’ inability to control the speed of delivery of the speech; their inability to get the words repeated; their inability to recognize the signals; their lack of contextual knowledge; their inability to concentrate on a foreign language for longer duration; and, their preoccupation to understand each every word they hear (Underwood, 1989, pp.

16-18).   Similarly, the unrealistic expectations of the learners and their inability to indulge ineffective top-down processing and bottom-up processing can also hamper effective listening comprehension.  

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