In-house material development: Listening

Download 444.38 Kb.
Size444.38 Kb.
  1   2   3   4

In-house material development p.

Listening (ELI80)

In-house material development: Listening

(Updated on December 10, 2004)

(Drafted by Yasuko Ito)

This material was developed to help ELI Listening/Speaking instructors teach listening skills in ELI80. It is designed along with the Goals & Objectives of ELI80 as given below, and consists of the following components.
1. Written vs. Spoken forms of language

2. Nature of listening in a native language and a second language

2.1. What is listening?

2.2. Barriers in listening

2.3. Process of listening

3. Developing listening comprehension skills

3.1. Understanding the nature of academic lecture

Discourse markers

Use of visual aids

Formats of classes you attend

3.2. Knowing about listening strategies

3.3. Pre-listening strategies

3.4. During-listening strategies

Attending to language

Attending to extra- and paralinguistic signals

Asking for clarifications/repetitions

Taking notes while listening

3.5. Post-listening strategies

3.6. Getting familiar with English pronunciation

Linking vowel to vowel


Reduced forms

4. Developing critical listening skills
Letters typed in double-line boxes are notes for teachers (e.g., answer keys, suggested activities).

Letters typed in red color are references. When we print out this material for students’ use, it is recommended to erase those references.

Students are also strongly encouraged to use ELI L/S self-access center.

List of materials cited in this in-house material

Aebersold & Field (1997)

Brown, G. (1995). Dimensions of difficulty in listening comprehension. In D. J. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second language listening (pp. 59-73). San Diego: Dominie Press.

Celce-Murcia, M., Brinton, D. M., & Goodwin, J. M. (1996). Teaching pronunciation: A reference for teachers of English to speakers of other languages. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Dauer, R. M. (1993). Accurate English: A complete course in pronunciation. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall Regents.

DeCarrico, J., & Nattinger, J.R. (1988). Lexical Phrases for the Comprehension of Academic Lectures. English for Specific Purposes, 7, 91-102.

Gilbert, J. (1995). Pronunciation practice as an aid to listening comprehension. In D. J. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second language listening (pp. 97-112). San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.

Daly, J. A., & Engleberg, I. N. (2001). Presentation in everyday life. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Gregory, ?. (2002). Public speaking for college and career (6th Ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.

Hybels, S. & Weaver II, R. L. (2004). Communicating effectively (7th Ed.). Boston: McGraw Hill.

Mendelsohn, D. (1995). Applying learning strategies in the second/foreign language listening comprehension lesson. In D. J. Mendelsohn & J. Rubin (Eds.), A guide for the teaching of second language listening (pp. 132-150). San Diego: Dominie Press.
ELI80 Goals & Objectives

1. Students will learn to efficiently comprehend academic listening materials.

  • Students will review pre-listening strategies (e.g., obtaining background information, having discussions to activate prior knowledge, determining contexts), during-listening strategies (e.g., note-taking, paraphrasing, circumlocution, making inferences, predicting, getting main ideas, getting details), and post-listening strategies (e.g., reviewing notes, having group/class discussions) for listening comprehension of academic lectures.

  • Students will be able to determine useful listening strategies that work for themselves.

  • Students will become familiar with the nature of academic lectures (e.g., discourse markers used in academic lectures, emphasis of important points, use of visual aids).

  • Students will learn how to take notes effectively during lectures.

  • Students will become familiar with English pronunciation for comprehension purposes.

  • Students will be exposed to advanced-level academic listening materials.

2. Students will learn to listen critically to academic listening materials.

  • Students will learn to evaluate the contents that they comprehended.

  • Students will learn to use what they just heard in order to construct their own opinions.

  • Students will learn to incorporate their opinions or findings from other sources (e.g., reading materials) to respond to the listening materials in a critical manner.

Microskills for academic listening comprehension

Lecture organization

  • Identify the major topic.

  • Identify main ideas.

  • Identify supporting details.

  • Distinguish between main ideas and asides, examples and analogies used for clarification.

  • Identify cause and effect relationships.

  • Identify comparisons and contrasts.

  • Cite premises in persuasive arguments.

  • Understand explanation of a model (graph, chart, diagram or mathematical formula).


  • Recognize discourse markers that introduce or emphasize main ideas.

  • Recognize the purpose of connectives: Addition, conclusion, example, and chronological order.

  • Interpret the relationship among ideas that are subordinated or cojoined by a connective.

  • Identify anaphoric and cataphoric references.

  • Recognize cohesive devices showing cause and effect, comparison and contrast, and persuasion.

Lecture style

  • Relate paralanguage (eye contact, gestures, body movement) to a verbal equivalent.

  • Recognize word reductions.

  • Understand mispronounced words through discourse context.

  • Recognize paralinguistic and paralanguage cues that emphasize discourse or carry meaning independently.


  • Abbreviate words using 7 letters or less.

  • Incorporate material from the blackboard into lecture notes.

  • Use spacing, indentation, capitalization, underlining, etc. to show relationships between main ideas and surrounding details.

Using notes

  • Paraphrase lecture notes.

  • Summarize from lecture notes.

  • Use notes to study for essays, exams, term papers, and/or presentations.

  • Cross-reference lecture notes with notes from reading material.


(Originally created by Honnor Arganbright, Fall 2003)
What are the differences that can be found in the written forms of language in comparison to the spoken forms? Think about the ways these forms vary. Are they used differently? What is easier or more difficult about listening? What is easier or more difficult about reading? Why?

Examples of answers (Brown, 1995)

Spoken language

Written language

Word boundary is unclear (sequence of sounds).

Word boundary is clear.

Intonation often indicates the end of sentences.

Punctuation indicates the end of sentences.

Many pauses, hesitations, restarts.

None of these.

  • For L2 learners, the listening skill makes the heaviest processing demands.—store information AND comprehend information (cf. reading—learners can go back to previous text)


2.1. What is listening?

(Created by Sumi Chang, 3/8/2004)

(Original source—Daly & Engleberg (2001). (Skip the sections on Empathic Listening (p. 29) and Appreciative Listening (p. 31).)

  1. How would you define listening? What is the difference between hear and listen?

  1. When people are communicating, which of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) do we use the most? Support your answer.

  1. What does comprehensive listening focus on? What are its two steps?

  1. What would you say is the key word to analytical listening?

  1. How can you plan to listen? Which method of planning to listen do you think would be the most effective one for you?

  1. What is extra thoughts speed? When do good listeners use their extra thought speed productively?

  1. How would you describe the golden listening rule?

  1. What are some distractions in listening?

  1. In listening for the big ideas, what can good listeners identify?

  1. What is paraphrasing? Do you think it is an important academic skill?

Answer key

What is Listening?

  1. How would you define listening? What is the difference between hear and listen?

(p. 28) Listening is the ability to understand, analyze, respect, and appropriately respond to the meaning of another person’s spoken and nonverbal messages.

Hearing: requires only physical ability

Listening: requires thinking ability

  1. When people are communicating, which of the four language skills (listening, speaking, reading, writing) do we use the most? Support your answer.

(p. 28) Listening is number one communication activity. A study shows that listening takes 40-70 percentage of communication. Refer to Figure 2.3.

  1. What does comprehensive listening focus on? What are its two steps?

(p. 29) Comprehensive listening focuses on accurately understanding the meaning. Two steps involved are:

1) accurately hearing what is said while simultaneously paying attention to nonverbal cues

2) accurately interpreting the speaker’s meaning (identifying the key pointes as well as the evidence used to support an argument)

  1. What would you say is the key word to analytical listening?

(p. 30) The key word to analytical listening is opinion or critical thinking because it focuses on evaluating whether a message is reasonable. You are asked to make a judgment based on your evaluation of the speaker’s arguments.

  1. How can you plan to listen? Which method of planning to listen do you think would be the most effective one for you?

(p. 31, box) Do some prior study. Identify your listening goals. Match your listening style to the presentation’s purpose. Generate some questions in advance. Share the message.

  1. What is extra thought speed? When do good listeners use their extra thought speed productively?

(p. 32) Most people talk at about 125-150 words per minute, and think at about three to four times the rate at which we speak. Thus the difference or the spare thinking time is the extra thought speed.

Good listeners use their extra thought speed productively when they:

  • identify and summarize key points

  • pay more attention to nonverbal behavior

  • analyze arguments

  • assess the relevance of speaker’s comments

  1. How would you describe the golden listening rule?

( p. 33) It’s listening to others as you would have them listen to you.

  1. What are some distractions in listening?

(p. 33) Distractions in listening include speaker’s volume, rate, tone, mannerisms and appearance, listener bias, prior experience, etc.

  1. In listening for the big ideas, what can good listeners identify?

(p. 34) In listening for the big ideas, good listeners can identify a speaker’s purpose, central idea, and key points.

  1. What is paraphrasing? Do you think it is an important academic skill?

(p. 35) Paraphrasing is restating or finding new words to describe something. It’s an important skill because it can be used to clarify meaning, to ensure understanding, and to summarize.

2.2. Barriers in listening

(Created by Yasuko Ito, Fall 2004)

(Original source—Hybels & Weaver, 2004, p. 107; Primis, p. 10)

  1. The following is a list of “factors and barriers to effective listening”. These are factors affecting listening in a native language (i.e., mother tongue, first language). Which of them apply to your listening skill in your native language? Select all that apply to you.




Avoid listening if the subject is complex or difficult

Avoid listening because it takes too much time.


Refuse to maintain a relaxing and agreeable environment.

Refuse to relate to and benefit from the speaker’s idea.


Disagree or argue outwardly or inwardly with the speaker.

Become emotional or excited when the speaker’s views differ from yours.


Avoid eye contact while listening.

Pay attention only to the speaker’s word rather than the speaker’s feelings.


Lack interest in the speaker’s subject.

Become impatient with the speaker.

Daydream or become preoccupied with something else when listening.


Concentrate on the speaker’s mannerisms or delivery rather than on the message.

Become distracted by noise from office equipment, telephone, other conversation, etc.

  1. In this class, we are going to work on listening in second language—English. What barriers do you think there are in second language listening? Are there any similar barriers to those in listening in your native language? Are there any additional barriers to those in listening in your native language?

2.3. Process of listening

(Created by Yasuko Ito, Fall 2004)

(Original source—Hybels & Weaver, 2004, pp. 109-112; Primis, pp. 12-15))

  1. Predicting:

You predict what’s coming.

  1. Receiving messages:

When you listen (as opposed to hear), you filter out the irrelevant messages.

  1. Attending to stimuli:

You focus your attention on a particular stimuli.

  1. Assigning meaning:

You decide what is relevant and how it relates to what you already know.

  1. Remembering:

You keep the message in memory.

  1. Assessing:

Evaluate what you just listened to and respond.

The above is six stages of a listening process. Compare these with what you actually do in your academic courses (in other words, non-ELI courses at UHM). What events (or behaviors) in those classes apply to each of the six stages?

Examples of answers

  1. Predicting:

    • Receive the course syllabus/calendar and predict what the topic is for a particular class

    • Do the assigned reading before class and predict what the main issue is in the next lecture.

  1. Receiving messages:

    • Listen to lectures in class

    • Listen to classmates’ questions

    • Listen to classmates’ opinions during group discussions

  1. Attending to stimuli:

    • Attend to discourse markers

    • Attend to key words of the topic

  1. Assigning meaning:

    • Connect what you listened to in the lecture to what you read in the assigned reading

    • Connect this lecture to lectures in previous classes

  1. Remembering:

    • Take notes while listening

    • Draw a map of various points that you learned/know (write it down, draw it in your mind, etc.)

  1. Assessing:

    • Discuss the topic in groups

    • Write a paper about the topic after class

    • Ask questions to professors

    • Ask for professors’ own opinions about the topic

    • Think of what you think about it.


3.1. Understanding the nature of academic lecture

In this section, we are going to look at the nature of academic lectures to understand what is going on in lectures.

Discourse markers

When we speak, we often use discourse markers to show the connection between propositions. This happens in academic lectures as well, but the discourse markers used in academic lectures are unique to the context. Here is a list of discourse markers that are often used in academic lectures.

(Created by Mark Messer, 11/19/2002)

(Original source— DeCarrico & Nattinge, 1988,)

Global Discourse Markers

1. Topic Markers

2. Topic Shifters

3. Summarizers

Conversational Style

Conversational Style

Conversational Style

Lemme start with...

So, let’s turn to...

All this says is...

The first thing is...

Let me go to...

So the theory goes...

What I’d like to do is...

On to...

The theory goes, then…

We’ll be looking at...

Let’s look at...

So there you’ve got...

Let me talk about X,

then we’ll go to Y

One final point/thing is...

What we’ve got is...

I’d like to talk about...

To tie/wrap this up..

Back to...

You can see...

Lot more to talk about, but on to...

What I’m saying is that...

All right

OK (level intonation)

Now (falling intonation + pause)

OK (falling intonation + pause)

Rhetorical Style

Rhetorical Style

Rhetorical Style

I’ll be talking to you about...

Let me talk a little bit about...

We’ve suggested that...

Let’s first deal with...

This leads to...

So this seems to be...

Let me suggest some ways...

The (other) thing that X is Y

One other thing (about all of this)

Reading Style

Reading Style

Reading Style

Now I’d like to give you...

Now I’d like to give you...

My point is that...

You recall (from last time)...

Any other comments

before I turn to...?

That points the way to...

Today we’re going to hear...

End of quote

And that’s the...

As to what is...

Local Discourse Markers

4. Exemplifiers

5. Relaters

6. Evaluators

Conversational Style

Conversational Style

Conversational Style

See if X clears this up

So again,

As X would have us believe

If you’ve seen... then you’ve


You might say that...

X is fine with me.

One way is...

This ties in with...

No problem with that

X, something like that

Same way here

But it..., let me tell you.

Take (say) X (here) (for example)

It has to do with...

Look what’s going on here

Take something like...

But look at...

Look how important

(Now) look (how)/

what’s going on here/what X says

That would go not only for X,

but (also) for Y

X might not work

Here’s one

Any time X, there’s Y

And that is...

X, so you would expect to find Y

If you look at X, here’s Y

Rhetorical Style

Rhetorical Style

Rhetorical Style

One of the ways this can be seen is..

The (other) thing X is Y

I guarantee you that

Take X, for instance/example

Keep in mind that...

X is worth noting

We can see this if we look at X

Like we’ve just talked about

And this is really the key to...

Along the same lines

I suggest to you...

And what I meant by that was...

We should be careful not to...

Recognize that X, although Y, are also Z

We should think of this

not so much as X, but Y

You would think that X,

but in fact Y

Reading Style

Reading Style

Reading Style

For example/instance

That is...

The X I would offer is Y

One of them was...

In fact...

But as a matter of fact...

As we’ll see...

We will see from X that Y

X is what I mean by Y

The next X also comes from Y

We should see this in...

In connection with X, Y

7. Qualifiers

8. Aside Markers

Conversational Style

Conversational Style

The catch here is...

I guess I got off the track here

Whether you want to say

X is another Y

(Well) forget about X

But X does not mean that Y,

(by any means/stretch of the


Where was I?

It’s only in X that Y

That’s true, but...

Rhetorical Style

Rhetorical Style

That’s not really what we mean by..

(none found)

It doesn’t mean that…

Well, of course...

Reading Style

Reading Style

It depends on how you define

I’d like to pass over...

So far as I know,

I won’t trouble you with...

At least in X,

But I’m getting a little ahead

of myself

These discourse markers were taken from real lectures. After each lecture, the researchers decided if it was a “conversational style” lecture, a “rhetorical style” lecture, or a “reading style” lecture. What do these three styles mean?

The discourse markers are also separated into global and local groups. What does a global discourse marker do? What does a local discourse marker do?
The discourse markers are further separated by function. What is a topic marker? a topic shifter? a summarizer? What is an exemplifier? a relater? an evaluator? a qualifier? an aside marker?
Though each discourse marker works in a different way, I have provided an example for each function below, more as a guide to the function than as a guide to the marker.

Topic Marker: “I’ll be talking to you about the grooming habits of house cats.”

Topic Shifter: “The other thing that I want to cover in my presentation is the importance of being honest.”

Summarizer: “You should be able to see that the foreign policy of the Izvenitchens is based on fear.”

Exemplifier: “One of the ways this can be seen is by looking at the export data for last year.”

Relater: “Along the same lines, peace in Mumbatto has also been difficult to establish.”

Evaluator: “But as a matter of fact, Ahn’s argument is worthless.”

Qualifier: “It doesn’t mean that you should invest all your money in Pepsi-Cola stock, just that Pepsi is very popular right now.”

Aside Marker: “I won’t bore you with its history, but you should be aware that chess is a very old, storied game.”
Though markers are common, each one’s use is flexible. The speaker’s own habits can change how he or she uses a marker. For example, a speaker might say “I won’t trouble you with this now,” or “I won’t bother you with this now,” or “I don’t want to trouble/bother you with this now,” or “I’m not gonna trouble/bother you with this now.” All of these do the same thing. Your goal isn’t to memorize all possible permutations of every discourse marker. Your goal should be to memorize the basic form of the common discourse markers. If you do this, it will become easier to understand lectures (people use these markers in conversation, too). Even so, the goal of this handout is to familiarize you with discourse markers, not to make you an expert. You should look for opportunities to use these markers in your own writing, if appropriate. Choose a scholarly article that you have read for one of your classes, then underline or highlight every discourse marker you find while rereading it. Remember, discourse markers can connect simple ideas or complex ideas. Think about “The other thing that X is Y” A simple example of its use is “The other thing that I love to eat is apple pie.” A much more complex example is “The other thing that indicates to me that we are entering an era of increasing tension around the world is the general shift in attitudes toward traveling away from home on vacation.
By the way, there are a lot of single words that often serve the same purpose as discourse markers, but are not included here. Why? Because they are simple enough to understand without having to memorize them. Still, there are some that seem simple, but are actually quite complex. For example, the way the meaning of “O.K.” changes based on intonation.

Discourse marker exercise

Underline and identify the discourse markers in the following text excerpts. You can find at least one example of each discourse marker below.

“Lemme start with the grooming habits of cats.”

“Now let’s look at the eating habits of cats.”

“What I’m saying is that cats who clean themselves and eat well will be healthy.”
“Shipping business is down. One of the ways this can be seen is by looking at export data. The dollar value of exports to Europe has fallen 15% over the last two years. Any time there’s a drop in the value of exports, there may be a corresponding decrease in money spent on shipping. This relationship is worth noting. Still, it’s only in a stable monetary environment that this holds true. If prices are rising or falling dramatically, the relationship may NOT be true. Take something like beef. If beef prices drop 15%, but the same amount of beef is shipped, shipping revenues don’t change. Ah, beef. I love a good steak, but only filet mignon and only medium rare. Well, forget about how I like my steak cooked. What I’m saying is that you can’t believe data unless you examine them carefully and critically. That is, don’t take statistics at face value.”


  1. You can find transcripts of various lectures in the following website.

You can have students visit the site and look for particular discourse markers

  1. Students record a lecture of their own non-ELI classes, transcribe a segment, and analyze discourse markers that are actually used in the lectures. They can, then, compare the notes that they actually took while they were in class, and reorganize the notes according the discourse markers.

Use of visual aids

In academic lectures, visual aids are also often used, e.g., blackboard, Overhead Projector (OHP), PowerPoint, websites, models, videos, pictures, and so on. These also help you follow and comprehend the lectures.

What are the advantages of visual aids?

Answer key

(Original source—Gregory (2002), pp. 197-198; Primis, pp. 92-93)

  1. Visual aids can make ideas clear and understandable.

  2. Visual aids can make a speech more interesting.

  3. Visual aids can help an audience remember facts and details.

  4. Visual aids can make long, complicated explanations unnecessary.

  5. visual aids can help prove a point.

  6. visual aids can add to your credibility.

Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page