One broad definition of listening is:
Constructing meaning through conscious attention to a source.
The source doesn’t actually have to come through the ears, or only through the ears, but generally there is an audio component to listening.
Key terms are:
Constructing = the listener is the one who creates the meaning (not the input source)
Conscious = the listener sets an intention and exerts a conscious effort to arrive at meaning
Attention = the listener is making decisions about how to process the input
Source = what is available for the the listener to attend to
So when teaching listening you obviously need to select the sources you will use.
stand up comedy acts
small talk (situational chat)
talks (e.g. TED talks)
…And all of these can be “authentic” (naturally occurring between fluent speakers) or “pedagogic” (altered to make them accessible to learners)
… And all of these can be presented in different media – live, audio only, video, audio-video, audio + text or graphics, video + text
Staging the input
input will always be “manipulated” or “staged” in some way:
• selected by instructor to feature certain themes
• prepared by instructor to highlight various instructional targets (like vocabulary items or functions or grammar items)
• accompanied with text or visual imagery
• chunked into “digestible” bits
• paused at various points
• played or performed at variable speeds
• repeated in whole or in part
• What is the “optimal input” for your students? Why do you think so?
• Select 5 of these sources that you think are suitable for your students.
• For each source, identify at least one accessible resource that you can use right away.
Share your responses. Offer support and suggestions to your partner.