Speaking and Listening: by 7wo72Ec2


									             Speaking and Listening:
       Instructional Philsophy and Teaching
The information in this section applies to all grade levels, 6-9. Grade level differences will be
reflected in the teacher's choice of learning objectives, resources, and activities. Although the
language processes are presented in three separate sections in this curriculum guide (Speaking
and Listening, Writing, and Reading), it is intended that they be integrated throughout the
year and the language arts program.
An integrated approach to learning and curriculum development enables students and teachers
to participate in new dialogues and pathways to learning. Shifts in thinking and learning
patterns emerge, providing an integrated, relevant curriculum where meaning is constructed
and purposeful to the lives of students (Seely, A.E., 1995, p. 36).

Oral communication is a vital component of the English language arts curriculum and
provides the base for growth in reading, writing, and listening abilities. Oracy consists of both
verbal and nonverbal communication. It is important that teachers recognize that nonverbal
communication is culture specific, and be aware of the differences that may exist across
cultures when students express themselves nonverbally.

As learning and applying the skills of oral English are so closely related, the classroom should
be a place where the use of spoken language is sensitively supported and where active
listening is developed and valued. Talk enables students to make connections between what
they know and what they are learning, and listening helps them to acquire knowledge and
explore ideas.

Talk can be immediate and spontaneous, or planned and deliberate. Confidence and
enthusiasm are critical factors in oral language development, and because much oral language
is immediate, it involves taking risks. Student learning is most effective when there is a
relationship of mutual trust, when students' oral language is accepted and a variety of
communication styles are accommodated in the classroom, and when students have frequent
opportunities to talk in formal and informal situations.

Functions of Talk

Talk serves two important functions in the classroom: the social and the intellectual. Students'
oral language skills develop in conjunction with their expanding social awareness and their
ability to reflect upon and reconstruct experience. As a social function, talk helps students
adjust to ideas and ideas are reformulated to facilitate student understanding. Within this
function, students share information and ideas with listeners by speaking informally and
sharing through conversation. Talk is also used to form relationships through language.
Intellectual Function

Talk, as an intellectual function, shapes students' perceptions of the world and represents
these perceptions as knowledge. Talking encourages students to reproduce and transform
knowledge as they sift through observations, evaluate information, and compare views. Talk
that transforms knowledge increases students' critical thinking abilities and retention.

Both social and intellectual talk have a place in the classroom. Instruction must ensure a full
range of talk and allow for crossover between social and intellectual talk. Some classroom
talk experiences are spontaneous and occur without teacher prompts or instruction, while
other speaking activities require planning and structure.

Growth in oral communication revolves around increasing fluency and effectiveness. Students
need to be able to speak clearly, using appropriate volume. They need to be able to give
directions, follow directions, negotiate, ask questions, suggest answers, and organize and
present information. They need to adapt their speaking for different audiences, purposes,
formats, and topics.

As students become more proficient speakers, they develop their abilities to:

Interact Socially

      use language and ideas appropriate to the situation
      respond to listeners' verbal and nonverbal cues, restate ideas, and ask questions to
       clarify understandings
      use language to create images and to produce an emotional response
      acknowledge and be sensitive to others' viewpoints.

Develop Self-awareness

      examine and explore personal points of view
      identify flaws in their own and others' reasoning
      determine what it is they need to know
      find effective ways of supporting their own opinions.


      use key language patterns, proper sequencing, nonverbal cues, and appropriate
      provide essential information
      determine the type of presentation necessary in order for the listeners to benefit and
      reflect to determine if their language is appropriate to their listeners.

Fluency and effectiveness in speaking develops gradually. The chart on the following page
describes the developmental stages of speaking, from dependence to independence.

        Developmental Stages of Speaking: From Dependence to Independence
Stage 1                      uses a limited vocabulary
Novice Speaker                     encounters difficulties with pronunciation (not to be
(unskilled, needs                   confused with accent or features of dialect)
encouragement)                     lacks self-esteem and seems shy
                                   exhibits little interest in group interactions
                                   attempts to learn by listening to the conversations of
                                   engages in brief conversations

Stage 2                            initiates conversation within a circle of trusted friends
Transitional Speaker               volunteers responses when certain that the contribution is
(self-involved, becoming            acceptable
more confident)                    participates in reading or speaking activities as part of a
                                   asks questions when requiring information
                                   uses vocabulary adequate for informal communication
                                   avoids controversy and argument

Stage 3                            introduces topics and ideas for conversation and
Willing Speaker                     discussion
(peer-involved, achieving          enters into discussion about topics or ideas of personal
self-assurance)                     interest
                                   participates comfortably in conversation and in other oral
                                   extends vocabulary as required
                                   demonstrates a growing sense of audience when speaking

Stage 4                            initiates conversation and discussion
Independent Speaker                encourages others to contribute their ideas
(autonomous speaker,               possesses an extensive vocabulary and uses it
assuming leadership roles)          appropriately
                                   requests more information, when needed, for clarification
                                    and interpretation
                                   differs tactfully with ideas or attitudes deemed personally

The Speaking Process

As students actively engage in the speaking process, their perceptions can change from
moment to moment and from week to week. As individuals acquire new information, the
language they use to make meaning changes. As they reflect upon information shared or
received, they revise their understanding, further developing their schemas about language
and the world.

The speaking process includes activities that occur prior to, during, and after the actual
speaking event. For example, before speaking, the speaker might determine the actual content
of the message, how it should be presented, and what kind of audience will be hearing the
message. While speaking, the speaker must attend to such things as presenting a clear
message, tone of voice, suitable vocabulary, possible responses, the environment, and
nonverbal gestures. Following speaking, the speaker might accept comments, answer
questions, explain concepts not understood, and/or assess the process.

Pre-speaking: Planning and Organizing

Just as pre-writing precedes drafting, pre-speaking begins before students actually speak.
Students' experiences, observations, and interactions inside and outside of the classroom have
an impact upon what they say and how they say it. Pre-speaking activities involve thought and
reflection, and provide opportunities for students to plan and organize for speaking. Some
purposes for pre-speaking are listed below.

To choose a speaking topic:

Students generate and explore ideas for speaking topics through a variety of pre-speaking
activities such as the following:

      constructing thought webs and graphic organizers
      reading and researching
      listening to music
      viewing a video
      listening to a speaker
      jotting down ideas
      reflecting upon personal experience.

To determine purpose:

Speakers talk to express ideas, emotions, and opinions, and to share information. Students
must ask themselves "What is my purpose for speaking?"

To determine audience:

Speakers must ask themselves "Who is my intended audience?" Some possible audiences are:

      familiar, known audiences (self, friends, peers, family, teachers)
      extended, known audiences (community, student body)
      extended, unknown audiences (local media).

To determine format:

Speakers must consider how their ideas and information can be presented most effectively.
Some possible formats include the following:

      conversation
      discussion
      formal speech
      dramatic presentation
      monologue
      Readers Theatre.
See the Writing section for a variety of pre-writing suggestions which also can be useful as
pre-speaking scaffolds.

Speaking: Going Public

Speaking actively engages students in interactions with peers and other audiences. Students
who have been provided with supportive, collaborative environments and opportunities to
prepare for their informal and formal speaking experiences are more likely to have the
confidence needed to "go public" with their ideas and information.

In order to communicate and interact with others, students need to engage in a variety of
formal and informal speaking situations, depending upon their purpose for speaking. Some
purposes for speaking include the following:

      to express personal feelings, ideas, or viewpoints
      to tell a story
      to entertain or amuse
      to describe
      to inform or explain
      to request
      to inquire or question
      to clarify thinking
      to explore and experiment with a variety of ideas and formats
      to converse and discuss.

Some scaffolds to support speaking include the following:

      Discussing or developing with students criteria for a variety of formal and informal
       speaking formats (e.g., conversation, group discussion, role play), and posting these on
       a bulletin board or having students record them in their notebooks for reference.
      Modelling a variety of formal and informal speaking formats for students.
      If possible, making available to students audio and video equipment so that they can
       practise prior to formal speaking situations.

Post-speaking: A Time for Reflection and Setting Goals

Following speaking experiences, both formal and informal, it is important to have students
reflect upon their performance. Their reflection, whether it is oral or written, should include
the teacher, who can help them set personal goals for improving their speaking abilities. This
type of reflective assessment and goal setting encourages critical thought. Some purposes for
post-speaking activities are listed below.

To reflect upon performance:

Students who have opportunities to reflect upon their speaking experiences, in light of pre-
determined criteria, grow in their abilities to speak effectively.

To set goals for improvement:
When students reflect upon their performance, they begin to recognize what they have done
well and where they require improvement.

Some post-speaking scaffolds include:

      Discussing or developing criteria for assessing a variety of speaking experiences.
      Providing opportunities for students to talk, write, or represent in various ways their
       personal speaking strengths and needs (e.g., learning logs, teacher/peer conferences).

When students have reflected upon their own speaking performance, peers may be invited to
comment. Peers may comment through a structure similar to a writing conference and may
give oral feedback, written feedback, or a combination of the two. Conferences may be guided
by specific questions determined by the teacher or may take the form of conversation between

Supporting and Managing the Speaking Process

Students' speaking skills develop best in dynamic interactive learning environments, where
enough time is provided for them to share and listen to a variety of ideas. A safe, comfortable,
and relaxed atmosphere is critical for the development of productive talk in the classroom for
all students and is particularly important for those students who may come from backgrounds
that differ from the classroom norm.

Classrooms should be places where students can ask and answer meaningful questions and in
which the teacher and students are co-learners, collaborating with one another to
communicate ideas and information. Different group sizes (pairs, small groups, and large
groups) provide opportunities for students to practise the different thinking and oral skills
unique to each configuration.

The role of the teacher is to:

      give students the opportunities to gather information, question, and interpret
      build on what students already know, as new knowledge is achieved by reconstructing
       and reshaping prior understanding
      ask questions that result in a diversity of thought and response, and to which there is
       not always one right answer
      encourage purposeful talk and tentative "thinking aloud"
      attend to the thought and intent of students' responses rather than the surface features
       of dialect and grammar
      develop or involve students in developing assessment instruments
      encourage peer assessment that focuses on strengths and areas for improvement
      value questions as much as answers
      share enthusiasm for the oral tradition by regularly reading and telling stories to
       students and by providing opportunities for students to tell stories
      make informal talk and the sharing of facts and opinions a regular part of the program
      encourage students to challenge their own and others' assumptions, prejudices, and
       information presented as facts
      promote students' abilities to develop and participate in reasoned argument during
       discussions and debates
      develop students' sensitivities to others' feelings, language, and responses
      set personal goals for communicating appropriately and effectively, and for
       understanding the needs of listeners and participants
      respect cultural traditions; allow and model wait/think time after questions
      encourage and reward effort and improvement as well as competence
      assess both processes and products.

The following should be observed in the classroom on a day-to-day basis:

      the teacher modelling standard English language usage
      the teacher using brief mini-lessons to instruct students about language usage and
       formats for a variety of speaking situations (e.g., informal and formal individual, small
       group, and large group situations) and purposes (e.g., to inform, to persuade, to share
       feelings, to respond, to entertain)
      the students speaking for a variety of purposes and situations (e.g., small group
       discussion, conversation, formal speeches, drama, debates, storytelling)
      the students developing social skills by interacting in a variety of small group
       situations (e.g., reader response groups, collaborative and co-operative groups)
      the students learning to facilitate and participate in group discussions
      the students and the teacher assessing speaking abilities and practices using checklists
       and anecdotal notes.

Assessment of speaking should be continuous and take into account both process and product.
A variety of assessment techniques that consider students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes
should be used.

Teachers may collect anecdotal notes, use checklists, or use audio or videotapes to collect
data about students' speaking abilities. This data can then be used during conferences or
interviews with students about their performance and progress. Specific assessment
suggestions are provided with each of the speaking and listening activities included later in
this section of the curriculum guide.

Listening is an essential part of the communication process. Students spend the majority of
each school day listening and much of what students know is acquired through listening. It is
essential that students have opportunities to practise the behaviours of effective listeners.

Listening is more than hearing; comprehending spoken language involves process-oriented
thinking skills. Because listening involves the use of language and thought, the ability to
listen effectively develops as students' language abilities develop and mature.

Developing effective listening abilities cannot be left to chance. Active listening experiences
should be structured into daily English language arts activities. Students learn to value
listening when it is given a prominent role in the English language arts classroom and when it
is meaningfully integrated with their speaking, writing, and reading experiences.

Exposure to oral English is very important for ESL students, who need to hear the language
spoken in meaningful contexts in order to acquire it. Their receptive (listening) language
abilities precede their expressive (speaking) language abilities, so they need to spend a great
deal of time listening before and as they develop their speaking abilities.
Students become active listeners when they deliberately attend to the speaker's message with
the intention of immediately applying or assessing the ideas or information. For example,
students may take notes if they wish to refer to the information; they may offer words of
agreement or ask questions if they are part of a conversation; they may formulate questions to
ask the speaker; or they may evaluate the message, determining the speaker's motive and what
is fact and what is opinion.

Characteristics of Effective Listeners

Effective listening requires the listener's participation. The effective listener wants to
understand what is said and actively tries to assign meaning to the speaker's verbal and
nonverbal language. The effective listener responds appropriately to what is said and fosters a
productive exchange. The meaning generated depends upon the listener's desire and ability to
engage in thinking and listening, as well as on prior knowledge of the speaker's language use
and topic. Effective listeners are able to:

      value listening as a means of learning and enjoyment
      determine their own purpose(s) for listening
      recognize their responsibility to the speaker and listen without distracting the speaker
      concentrate and not become distracted
      send appropriate feedback to the speaker (e.g., restate directions and explanations, ask
      prepare to react or respond to what the speaker says
      make connections between their prior knowledge and the information presented by the
      evaluate the speaker's message and motive
      try to predict the speaker's purpose and determine the speaker's plan of organization
      identify transitional/signal words and phrases, and follow the sequence of ideas
      observe and interpret the speaker's nonverbal cues (e.g., smiles, frowns, body
       movements) and use them to enhance their understanding of the speaker's message
      recognize the speaker's main point(s) or idea(s) and identify the supporting details and
      distinguish fact from opinion
      determine bias, stereotyping, and propaganda.

The listening process is recursive in nature. Students may hear sound from a stimulus, attend
to it, evaluate it, and continue to listen. Students may attend to a speaker's message and
respond to it without choosing to remember or evaluate it. The listening purpose and context,
and the student's listening maturity will determine the level of listening. The chart on the
following page outlines three levels of listening: literal, interpretive, and critical and describes
the factors that influence listening abilities at each level.

                             Developmental Levels of Listening
                     Levels of Listening                    Factors That Influence
                                                            Listening Abilities
Literal Level          refers to hearing or the actual         physical factors (e.g.,
                          physical awareness of sounds and         hearing loss,
(hearing,                 language caused by stimuli (e.g.,        hyperactivity, limited
receiving,                words, verbal and nonverbal cues)           attention span, inability
attending)               includes hearing, but involves the          to sit still, easily
                          listener's ability to focus attention       distracted)
                          on the speaker or on the verbal            physical environment
                          and nonverbal language without              (e.g., comfort of listener,
                          becoming distracted; requires               location of listener in
                          motivation, desire, and effort on           relation to the speaker)
                          the part of the listener                   emotional and
                                                                      psychological factors
                                                                      (e.g., environment and
                                                                      conditions of trust that
                                                                      exist, listener's self-
                                                                     fluency in English

Interpretive             refers to the process that listeners       insufficient language
Level                     engage in as they assign meaning            development: limited
                          to the stimuli; depends upon prior          personal language that
(remembering,             knowledge of the topic and the              makes it difficult for
responding,               language of the speaker, and the            listener to make sense of
assigning                 context of the listening situation,         other's language
meaning)                  as well as on the listener's schema        impaired speech that
                          as it relates to the speaker's              limits reproduction of
                          schema                                      sounds and hence
                         refers to the selective storage of          accurate listening ability
                          information in the listener's mind
                          for retrieval at another time

Critical Level           refers to the judgements made by           perception of the
                          the listener as a result of                 importance and value of
(evaluating,              interpreting the speaker's ideas            the message
judging, reacting,        using critical thinking skills             pre-formed opinions and
responding)              includes evaluating, but refers to          attitudes toward the
                          the expression of judgements and            speaker or the message
                          interpretations, as well as to             inability to make
                          seeking clarity of understanding            connections between
                                                                      new ideas and prior
                                                                     inability to process oral
                                                                      language in a meaningful

One way of helping students to become aware of their own listening habits and abilities is to
have them complete Listening Strategies Questionnaires or Listening Inventories such as
those on the following pages. As well as informing the students about their own listening
skills and understandings, the questionnaire or inventory can inform teachers about
instructional needs. The questionnaire or inventory can be completed by individual students or
can be used as a structured interview for pairs of students. Discussion in small groups or as a
whole class is a useful follow-up activity; as students talk about what they know about their
listening behaviours, they begin to develop understanding about what it means to be an
effective listener. As well, discussion offers students the opportunity to share their successful
listening strategies with others, and to gain knowledge of other students' strategies.

The Listening Process

Listening is a complex process in which listeners interact with a speaker to construct meaning,
within the context of their experiences and knowledge. Understanding oral language is
essential to the learning process, so students require strategies for becoming accurate,
effective listeners. When students are made aware of the factors that affect accurate listening,
the levels of listening, and the components of the listening process, they are more likely to
recognize their own listening abilities and engage in activities that prepare them to be
effective listeners. Students can extend their listening abilities most efficiently when listening
instruction is integrated into their speaking, writing, and reading activities, and when it is
structured as pre-listening, listening, and post-listening experiences.

Pre-listening: Setting the Stage

Effective listening requires that students be prepared for what they are about to hear so that
their listening goes beyond the literal level. Pre-listening activities encourage students to
listen at the interpretive and critical levels. Some purposes for pre-listening are listed below.

To spark interest and motivate students to attend to the spoken message:

      When students are able to relate the listening experience to their own lives, they are
       more willing to listen actively to what the speaker has to say.
      Using pre-listening activities, teachers can create an environment conducive to
       listening and encourage effective listening behaviours that are necessary lifelong
      Adolescents often focus on themselves, and personal needs influence their level of
       motivation. Through involvement in pre-listening activities, students can develop an
       interest in the speaker's topic and become willing, active listeners.

To activate or build students' prior topical and linguistic knowledge:

      It is important for students to be able to relate what they already know to the speaker's
      When students' prior knowledge about the speaker's topic is activated or built by the
       teacher, students begin to predict what they might hear and make connections with
       what they already know, increasing the relevance of the information.
      The time to familiarize students with key concepts and vocabulary is before a listening

To set purposes for listening:

      When students set purposes for listening, they become active listeners who listen for
       something, not to it. This enhances their comprehension and retention. Teacher
       guidance may be required at first to help students set purposes for listening.
      Students who have identified a purpose for listening are more willing participants,
       secure in knowing what is expected of them.
      Providing purposes for listening assists the teacher in making a meaningful assessment
       of student participation and comprehension following the listening experience. Some
       purposes for listening are to:
           o gather knowledge and information
           o follow directions
           o participate in discussion
           o interpret and analyze information
           o form an opinion or make a judgement
           o appreciate or enjoy
           o empathize
           o clarify ideas
           o share ideas, feelings, and information
           o state the main idea/theme and identify supporting details
           o determine what is fact and what is opinion
           o select descriptive vocabulary
           o determine bias, stereotyping, or propaganda.

Activities that prepare students for reading are often equally helpful in preparing them for
listening. See the Reading section of this curriculum guide for examples of pre-reading
scaffolds that can be used as pre-listening scaffolds.

Sample Listening Strategies Questionnaire

Sample Self-assessment Listening Inventory

Listening: Interpreting Speech and Constructing Meaning

Listeners who participate actively in the listening experience are more likely to construct
clear, accurate meaning as they interpret the speaker's verbal message and nonverbal cues.
During the listening experience students verify and revise their predictions. They make
interpretations and judgements based upon what they know, assessing what more they need to
know. Some purposes for listening follow.

To foster students' comprehension of the speaker's language and ideas:

      Active participation in the listening experience helps students comprehend the
       speaker's language and ideas, connecting them to what they already know about
       language and the topic.
      By monitoring their own understanding of the speaker's message (e.g., asking
       themselves "Does this make sense?"), students know when to request clarification of
       what they do not understand.

To focus students' attention on such things as the speaker's organizational patterns:

      When students have been prepared to consider the organization of the speaker's talk
       (e.g., an introductory and concluding statement, transitional words and phrases), they
       are likely to comprehend more and acquire an understanding of some of these patterns
       for use in their own speaking experiences.
To encourage students' critical reactions and personal responses to the speaker's ideas and
use of language:

      Students who listen attentively, jotting notes, questions, and responses are better
       prepared to interact with the speaker during or after listening.

Scaffolds, such as partner journals and prediction points (see the Reading section of the
curriculum guide), which engage students in text during the reading process are also useful
during listening activities.

Post-listening: Responding, Reflecting, and Reconstructing Understanding

Follow-up activities to listening experiences are critical because they extend students'
learning, encourage students to understand that there are purposes for listening, and
emphasize that the information gained will be useful to them. Post-listening activities are
most effective when implemented immediately after the listening experience, becoming a
direct extension of it. Well-planned post-listening activities offer students opportunities to
connect what they have heard to their own ideas and experiences, and encourage interpretive
and critical listening and reflective thinking. As well, post-listening activities provide
opportunities for teachers to assess students' comprehension, check their perceptions, and
clarify their understandings. Some purposes for post-listening are listed below.

To examine relationships between prior knowledge and experience, and new ideas and
information gained from the speaker or discussion:

      Students' comprehension can be enhanced and extended through activities that
       encourage them to make connections between what the speaker says and their own
       knowledge and experience.

To invite and encourage student reflection and response:

      Students develop a greater understanding of what they have heard if they are asked to
       summarize their ideas and respond to what they have heard through discussion,
       writing, drawing, drama, music, or dance.

To clarify and extend comprehension beyond the literal level to the interpretive and critical

      Students who engage in response to talk by discussing or writing are actively engaged
       in constructing their own meaning.
      Through analysis, synthesis, organization, and expression of the speaker's ideas,
       listeners interpret, evaluate, and determine meaning.

To check comprehension, correct inaccurate concepts, and clarify tenuous learning:

      Students who engage in active listening activities are prepared to question the speaker
       and verify their understandings.
      Through discussion and response activities, students are able to develop a clearer
       understanding of the topic and of the listening experience.
To give students the opportunity to apply new information immediately:

       When students are called on to apply what they have gathered from the message, they
        tend to be more attentive listeners.

It is important to encourage students to reflect, and to clarify and extend their thinking about
what they have heard by making concrete responses which may be written, spoken, visual, or
dramatic. Many of the same means used to help students extend and clarify their reading
experiences can be used to extend and clarify their listening experiences.

Supporting and Managing the Listening Process

Creating separate instructional listening situations may be useful occasionally; however, it is
more effective when listening instruction permeates the school day. Isolated listening
instruction is artificial and does not foster transfer to students' real life. To practise listening in
meaningful contexts, students require opportunities to engage in open dialogue with peers in
such informal situations as writing conferences and literature circles. They also need practice
in more formal situations such as listening to student prepared speeches and guest speakers.

Some ways that teachers can promote effective listening and help students develop as mature,
active listeners include the following:

 model effective and active listening
 regard what the student has to say as important
 integrate listening into daily speaking, writing, reading, representing, and viewing
 plan opportunities for students to practise active listening for a variety of purposes in a
variety of contexts (e.g., face-to-face, social situations, formal situations)
 adjust the length of listening time to the maturity of the students
 emphasize and explain effective, active listening behaviours using lists of specific criteria
relevant to the situation
 plan for listening by using pre-listening, listening, and post-listening activities
 assess listening as a process within daily language experiences.

The following should be observed in the classroom on a day-to-day basis:

 the teacher modelling effective listening behaviours for students
 the teacher using brief mini-lessons to instruct students about effective listening practices
and behaviours for a variety of situations and purposes
 the students listening in a variety of situations for a variety of purposes (e.g., one-on-one
conversations, group discussions, formal speeches, oral reading, student presentations)
 the students developing their social skills through listening (e.g., attending to speaker,
questioning for clarification, using and interpreting nonverbals, summarizing, and
paraphrasing to demonstrate understanding)
 the students using listening effectively as a means of learning and connecting to prior
 the students and the teacher assessing listening practices and behaviours using checklists or
anecdotal notes.
Assessment of learning should be continuous. A variety of assessment techniques which
consider students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes should be used. Assessment suggestions are
provided with each of the speaking and listening activities that follow.

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