In listening becomes a critical skill and listening comprehension

                                       In the name of GOD





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                                            Instructor:  Dr. Hassaskhah



                         Student: Seyedeh Masoumeh Mirmoshtaghi





 Winter 1396













For years teachers has thought listening skill is a passive and it had
not any place in their lesson plans as a separate skill to teach because its
difficultness to be learned.  Recently,
this view has shifted and teachers plan for teaching listening in their
classrooms. Therefore, listening becomes a critical skill and listening
comprehension plays a crucial role in language leaning. In this paper we are
going to talk about the changes that listening skill teaching undergone in the
recent years.



 Until recently, teachers in language classes
pay more attention to the others skills (speaking, reading, and writing) rather
than listening. About a century ago, the dominant method of teaching was
Grammar Translation Method and it had nothing to do with listening skill. The
aim was to read and translate text. After that we had Direct Method. In this
method we had a shift from reading to oral skill. But again there was no place
for listening skill. In second half of the 20th century, students were
expected to develop their listening skill themselves without any help from the
instructors and also by osmosis. Osmosis was a term introduced by Mendelsohn
which is also called Audio Lingual Method. In this method students should
listen to listening task in target language all day and regularly. Therefore,
they will be able to improve their listening comprehension through experience. This
method has its root in Behaviorism. It is based on stimulus and response and
its idea is taken from Pavlov’s conditioning and also it emphasizes on
reinforcement. The focus of ADM is on learning vocabulary and grammar through
imitation. An advocator of listening comprehension named ‘Rivers’ began an
argument and said that speaking can’t be a tool of communication unless there
would be another party to listen and comprehend. Slowly the attention to
listening skill increased and now listening is an active skill involving many

During 1370s, a variety of different methods were introduced by
different researchers and they gave priority to listening skill. For example, Krashen’s
Input Hypothesis in which learners supposed to make understandable input. He
believed that second language learning is similar to first language acquisition
and listening is the first way to be skilled in language. Another example is
Total Physical Response introduced by Asher. In this method he emphasized that
the comprehension of listening should come before production of speech. And
also the listening task should come to action by learners.  Communicative
Language Teaching is another method which was introduced during those years. In
this method the focus was on learning language as a means of communication so
listening skill was its un-detachable component. In this method all four skills
are used in combination.

In another method which is
content-based instruction we have a combination of listening and speaking like
in an interview. And in form-based method we have tasks consist of processing
both oral and written input and output in language teaching classrooms.

These days listening skill has a
crucial role in our language classroom all around the world.  The recent developments provide a variety of
materials for teaching listening in the classrooms. Therefore, it can motivate
learners to pay attention to listening as an active skill.


Current trends

Though teaching listening skill has been important in language classroom
recently, a shift has been observed in the learning and teaching of this skill.
Because human beings’ mind is active during the process of learning, Listening
is now regarded as an interactive skill rather than passive. In this active
process the learner consistently receives data parse it and utilize it and also
takes advantages from many strategies like cognitive, metacognitive and

There is a general belief that metacognitive strategy enhances thinking
and comprehension. Therefore, those learners who are able to plan, monitor and
evaluate their listening process are more successful than those who cannot. In
the new trend, learners’ metacognitive awareness can help them to be successful.



For many years listening task was
considered passive and in language classes it was not regarded as an important
skill. So, teachers did not pay more attention to teach it separately. The first
methods which were used for language teaching like Direct Method and Audio
Lingual Method little by little tried to involved oral skill in classrooms. And
as time passeed other methods were introduced and brought listening into
language teaching classes as an active part. These days the most important role
of language teaching is communication; as a result, listening skill as a basic
component of communicating with others should be emphasized highly.




Asher, J. (1977). Learning  Another Language through Actions.  The Complete Teacher’s Guidebook. Los Gatos: CA: Sky Oaks.


Krashen, S. D. (1985). The     input hypothesis: Issues          and    implications.        Addison-Wesley        Longman    Ltd. 
Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd.


Mendelsohn, D. J.  (1984).There ARE strategies for listening.
TEAL Occasional Papers, 8, 63-76


Mendelsohn, D. J.  (1994). Language to listen: A strategy-based
approach for the second-language learner. San Diego, CA: Dominie Press.


Mendelsohn, D. J., & Rubin, J.
(Eds.). (1995). A Guide for the teaching of second language listening. San
Diego, CA: Dominie Press.


Osada, Nobuko.  (2004).  Essay, Listening Comprehension Research: A
Brief Review of the Past Thirty Years, Waseda University