Listening and Communication

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EFS 693B
Week 10 Notes

I. Opening: World's fastest talking man in 1987 And 1990

II. Linking listening, speaking, and language learning. Recording of oral summaries and comments helps you concentrate, helps you discover what you can and can't say easily, and helps you identify vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation problems.

III. Presentations: 3-4 minutes each

IV.  Final assessments:

    - Jill Helms

    - Picture Identification Test

V. Course Review: Check the class notes for more details

A. General model of listening activities

    1. Listening to improve comprehension

    2. Improving language processing: focus on linking the form (sounds, words, phrases and grammar) along with the meaning

    3. Increasing language knowledge

B. Preparing listening activities

    1. Setting objectives: identify what specifically under (A) you are aiming to improve in a given activity

    2. Selecting appropriate materials: interesting, somewhat familiar, text supported, appropriate level (not too easy or too hard)
        - Video is usually better than audio only because of the additional visual information
        - Listening to several different recordings on the same topic provides natural reinforcement of both concepts and vocabulary

    3. Determining procedures: be sure that they fit the objectives; don't use exactly the same procedure all the time

C. Listening to dedicated ESL software

    1. Examples:;;

    2. Adjust the challenge: e.g., summarize content orally/in writing before quiz; hide multiple choice answers; turn volume up/down; pause frequently & reflect; skip pre-listening occasionally to make it harder

    3. Use different procedures for different objectives and to change the listening experience: e.g., add dictation; do quiz first; read script first

D. Listening to native speaker media

    1. Examples:;; 

   2. Look for material with captions and/or transcripts--this is important not just for comprehension but for vocabulary and processing practice. Remember you can use the advanced search feature for captioned videos: Try searching for captioned Google tech talks.

    3. For TV and movies, try

    4. Use different procedures for different objectives and to change the listening experience: e.g., add dictation sometimes; read script first; view video with sound off...experiment!

E. Vocabulary development

    1. Be aware of your vocabulary level by checking word lists like the New general service list and New academic word list. Try taking the "B" tests at

    2. Note new vocabulary, decide whether it's worth learning: can help

    3. Keep a personal word list and review it regularly--use Anki, Quizlet or other programs to help with review

    4. Learn both words and phrases: the Google "define" command can help with phrases.

F. Some general techniques (we've covered others besides these)

    1. Use "pause" regularly; rewind as needed

    2. Expand the playbar/go full screen on video to enhance control

    3. Load video from an embedded player to a full player when possible. The vlc player is highly recommended for this:

    4. Adjust the graphic equalizer (if available) to optimize it for speech

    5. Adjust speed if possible to the best level for you--80%, for example, will allow more time for processing without much distortion and let you notice linkings and reductions more easily

    6. When doing dictations, use "chunks" rather than full sentences and try to expand the length over time; typically, only listen once or twice before checking your answer.

    7. When available, toggle captions on and off as needed, depending on comprehension and objective; don't leave them on all the time.

    8. Spend a few moments reflecting after a listening session: keep a journal or log of what you did, when you did it, how you did it, and what you learned

    9. In general, interact with the material, don't just follow it passively

G. Final advice

    1. Set goals and objectives for listening and vocabulary development

    2. Schedule regular times for your listening practice and vocabulary review, and stick to your schedule

    3. Collect useful listening resources in a separate folder under your browser favorites

    4. Reflect regularly on your goals and objectives and your progress towards them: keep a journal

    5. Connect listening to other skills: read material that supports the listening content and talk or write about what you've listened to




1)  Keep practicing with the material you love best as you continue your journey to develop your English listening and vocabulary.

2) Bonus meeting: if you continue with your listening practice and would like to meet with me in the winter to discuss your progress, email me and we'll set it up.

3)  Good luck with your finals, and have a wonderful winter break

Last modified December 4, 2019 by Phil Hubbard