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Thursday, July 19, 2007
Teaching listening to the first years students
Brown defines teaching as showing or helping someone to learn, instruction, guiding in the study of something, providing knowledge and causing to know or understand. In the other words teaching is guiding and facilitating learning, enabling the learners to learn, improve their skills and attitudes.
Byrne (1981: 42) states that listening is a process of orally grasping and decoding the signs a listener directly hear. In a listening process a listener understands and translates the messages addressed to her into meaning in her mind. Listening is an internal process that can not be directly observed.
Students should master certain elements of language in order to listen success fully. The elements are sounds, vocabulary, grammatical structure, and pronunciation. By mastering those elements the learning will have a good listening skill. Students can improve the listening skill including understanding keywords of finding background knowledge to help complete their understanding by listening again and again.
Development of listening skill.
In the teaching of listening there are three elements in the process of developing listening skills. They are:

Access to ward
In order to comprehend a sentence the students have to work out what the words mean. The mind has to relate the words that are heard to the information that is store about them in the mind of their meaning.

Parsing is how the mind works out the grammatical structure and meaning of sentences and hears. The process of parsing can be bottom up or top up. Bottom up is building the sentences up in our mind bit by bit, putting the sounds into words. The words are in phrases and phrases into whole sentences. Top Down means that starting from the whole sentences and breaking it down into smaller and smaller bits.

Bottom up listening activities.
The learners are focused on the individual element of the building blocks of the language. Decode oral utterance by discriminating between individual sound, identifying different stress, rhythm, and intonation pattern. The students are gradually moved from sound to word to sentence to text.

Top Down listening activities
In top down activities, the listening get general view of the listening passage by b absorbing its overall view. The meaning is not only stated in the message but also in the listener’s mind. The listener uses her own concept in understanding the message. She decides that the message she hears in certain words.

Memory processes of cognition
Memory processes in listening are connected to bottom up and top down. All comprehension depends on the storing and processing of information by the mind.

Top Down Approach
Students use their background knowledge about the topic, the text and the context in predicting and confirming their understanding in top down approach. The lesson starts by encouraging students to actively construct the meaning of the speaker using incoming sounds as clues. The listeners use their prior knowledge of the context and situation which the listening activity takes place in order to make sense of what they hear in the reconstruction process. Schema theory is related with top down approach. Schema theory is based on the notion that prior experiences lead to the creation of frameworks that make sense of new experiences.
The sound language listening is an active process involving background schema. The top down approach emphasizes the importance of the activation of learners’ knowledge and experience in understanding task.

There are three stages of teaching listening by using top down process:

Pre-listening activity.
It is to prepare students activities their background knowledge, experience, and explain difficult vocabulary items. Pre-listening activities help students make decision about what to listen for and to focus attention on meaning while listening. Teachers prepare the students for what they will hear and what they are expected to do. First, the students need to bring to consciousness their knowledge of the topic, and their knowledge of now information is organized in different texts. Second, the purpose of listening must be established in order that the students can find out the specific to anticipate what they might hear by using all the available in formation.
Example: the teacher can use a topic of warm up activities such as “have you ever visited Borobudur Temple?” what did you do in Borobudur Temple?”

While-listening activity.
It is to focus student’s attention on key ideas in the text. The students develop the skill of eliciting message. During the listening activity, the students monitor their comprehension and make decision about their strategy. The teacher can help the students develop their skills of eliciting messages. For instances are:
Listen to a dialogue and decide where the conversation took place or happened.
Listen to a dialogue and decide what the people are talking about.
Listen to a dialogue and decide how many questions you hear.

Post-listening activity
it is to ensure the student’s comprehension of the messages. It consists of extensions and development of listening task. Students need to evaluate the results of decisions made during a listening task. Class discussion on the approach by students can stimulate reflection and evaluation. The students about the effectiveness of the strategies they use.
The discussion of teaching listening using top Down Approach is expected to provide some contribution to improve the teaching of English at Senior High School.
posted by Armin Ade @ 4:21 PM  
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