Joiner _1997_

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Joiner (1997)

Listening: Past and Present
Many studies have confirmed that listening accounts for roughly half of the time we spend using
a language (77). Technology is changing how we communicate, so we are listening in different
contexts than before. Each type of tech does this in its own way even though it might look the
same because the students are all wearing headphones.

Media Matters
Comparison with face-to-face communication is often a criterion used to evaluate a medium of
communication. The mean differences are that face-to-face has:
    Immediacy
    interactivity, aka feedback, and response
    Purdy (1996) notes that face-to-face communication has the potential for using all 5
      senses to clarify meaning, whereas mediated communication just lets you use a subset of
      those senses.
    Face-to-face communication gives you access to extralinguistic cues like facial
    lets you separate speech from environmental noise via binaural or “stereo” hearing (79,
      citing Montgomery 1993)
    various ways of obtaining help if communication is not successful (80)
    listener can take control of the situation through simple strategies (80).

Sound Advice
Audio media have a along history, are relatively inexpensive, convenient, widely available, and
familiar to teachers and students Digital (CDs) is better than tape in that you can access specific
segments easily, and that it has a wider range for both dynamics (volume) and frequency.

Jones (1990) recommends 11 kHz as the best sample rate per second for CALL, saying that
going higher requires more data storage space.

Debates over the frequency range of the human voice (an issue for realistic recording).

On poor-quality recordings even NS will have trouble transcribing the words.

      only shares immediacy with face-to face communication
      interactivity absent (except for call-in shows)
      hearing is the only sense used
      no way to ask for help
      listener only has control over volume
      limited strategy use
Still, this doesn’t make it bad for teaching listening. Good audio will have rich input, e.g., precise
wording, nonverbal sound effect. Also, with technology students can pause, rewind, and listen to
it again, which makes it recursive like reading.
More specialized equipment needed to control the rate of the recording but this has advantages.
Time-expanded (slowed) speech can build confidence (Ko 1992). Time-compressed (accelerated)
speech can increase concentration (e.g. Duker 1974).
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Normal speech = 150-180 words per minute, but our brain can process 400-800 wpm. Because of
this difference, listeners are able to process the L1 at higher than normal speeds (e.g., Duker

Non-tech devices like advance organizers can help make the input more comprehensible as well.

Changing Channels
Compared to radio, FL professionals see TV as a more complete medium because the visual
image provides context/extralinguistic clues as well as environmental sounds. It engages 2 of the
5 senses and it can have immediacy, but there is no opportunity to negotiate meaning and little
listener control (volume). Usually the visual predominates. The relationship between the sound
and image tend to be complementary rather than redundant (84): exceptions are filmed how-to
demonstrations and kids’ educational programming. Keep in mind that visuals might not always
be helpful for FL learners (e.g., weather map with Celsius temps for US learners). Therefore “it
is important to choose [videos] that provide sufficient clues for information processing and that
do not present contradictory images…” (84).

Question: whether video is a more difficult type of input because the viewer receives 2 kinds of
stimuli at once. Studies with young children (e.g., Meringoff et al. 1983) show that visual input
was less effective at producing verbal recall, but we need research on adults and L2 learners.

TV sound is comprehensible to NS with normal hearing, but the sound quality isn’t always
excellent (86). Videodisc has better quality because of its digital sound (so DVD probably would

Recorded video materials offer the opportunity to pause and play back.

Although it seems counterintuitive because you’re adding stimuli, adding captions that duplicate
the soundtrack can help rather than hinder comprehension (Pusack and Otto 1995 report the
results to studies on this: studies include Smith and Shen 1992).

Interactive multimedia has learner control: random access to segments, and pause/replay. They
also help listening by adding text and other online helps. They can be used for two-way
interactive (conversational) listening or one-way reactive (for information or entertainment)
listening, but each makes different demands on the listener (88).

One-way: listeners often choose what to listen to, so the can often use background knowledge or
typical rhetorical info while listening, but the challenge is that they (typically) have no control.

Two-way: allows control (but topic can’t be controlled as much as one-way)

Pusack & Otto’s Listening Tool (1992): help tools for authentic video documents, e.g.,
transcriptions, pause/replay

Montevidisco (Larson and Bush 1992): listening in a simulation with help of an online “friend”
(also “replies” by choosing responses to what the people have said). Other pluses to it:
      motivation because the learner creates the story through choices
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       can go through and have it be different each time = additional practice without boredom
       receiver apprehension decreased by the online friend

Multimedia comes closer to face-to-face communication than audio or visual media does, but it
may not be the best choice for every situation because of cost of workstations or faculty/student
attitudes (you want to implement things they’ll actually use).

Sound Pedagogy
How (even simple) technology can help develop listening comprehension (91):
    additional voices = different accents, rates, of speaking, discourse levels
    conserve energy and voices because instructor can play something many times rather than
      read it
    different listening activities can take place simultaneously
    separate visual and verbal messages
    edit texts (e.g. info gap activity with each half of the story on different tapes)
    pause to let students write an answer, transcribe, process text, or predict what they think
      will happen next
    divide longer passages into more manageable chunks
    fast forward past unneeded material

We have little pedagogical guidance from theory, in part because there isn’t a single agreed-upon
construct of listening that guides the research. However, listening is such an important L2 skill
that one can’t wait for more guidance to teach it. Fortunately, the interest in listening appears to
be growing.

Comprehension approaches
Involving teacher and students: TPR (Asher 1986), Natural Approach (Terrell 1982)
For possible self-instruction: Winitz’ The Learnables, which can now be delivered over
computer, The Rosetta Stone CD-ROM (Level 2 can let you develop listening + another skill of
your choosing).
Multimedia (with more extended narrative: Vi-conte (film with 2 soundtracks, one replicates
message of animated illustrations)
Oller’s (1983: 12) episode hypothesis: a text will be easier to produce, understand, and recall to
the extent that it is motivated and structured episodically (94). Supports use of stories in

Real world listening
ACTFL and Council of Europe support use of real-world materials, and students place this as a
high goal as well.

Listening Texts and Tasks
Technology has made authentic materials more easily available and given us updated equipment.

What tech can’t do is select suitable materials and design tasks that will meet instructional goals.

Text-task relationship:
    Richards (1983): don’t modify the authentic text, simplify the task
    Some do distinguish between the terms exercise, activity, and task, but others don’t.
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      Task can involve recognizing, replicating, or reacting to a text, although ACTFL and
       Lund (1990) prefer “authentic, real-world responses” (96).
      However, the general consensus is that “listeners should be active, responding to the text
       in some kind of observable way” (96).
      There’s always some degree of artificiality in classroom listening practice (96).

Listening Activities and Curricula
The learner is another important factor. FL teachers have turned to reading theory, ACTFL
Proficiency Guidelines, and ESL teachers for insight on how text, task, and learner interact.

Shrum and Glisan (1994): 6-phase model based on insights from reading instruction with 3
stages—pre, during, post
    1. prelistening activity: activate background knowledge, give purpose, focus prediction
       strategies (many studies show that this increases comprehension)
    2. listen for main ideas
    3. listen for detail
    4. listen to synthesize main idea and details.
    5. recreate text
    6. react to it in some way

Gilsan (1995): when planning listening instruction consider inside-the-head (listener’s
background knowledge, purpose and prediction strategies) along with outside-the-head (type of
put, treatment of new structures and vocab) factors.

Lund (1990) and Omaggio Hadley (1993): based on ACTFL Guidelines
    O.H.: hierarchical organization—tasks good for each ACTFL level
    L: taxonomy based on listener function and response (former as the most important
    However, ACTFL had disappointing results when validating the listening guidelines
       (Dandonoli and Henning 1990), so rigid use of guidelines is cautioned.

Nunan and Miller (1995): examples in their book grouped into categories (99)
    Cognitive strategies
    Focus on interrelatedness of language skill
    Authentic texts
    Tech in the classroom
    Listening for academic purposes
    Affective aspects of the listening process

To categorize skills, we must move beyond activity goals to curricular goals.

Independent listening
Disadvantages f activities in class with teacher: (99)
    1. everyone has to listen to the same thing at the same time
    2. learner have little input or control over the instruction
Independent activities help make up for this and give extra practice, which is needed because
doing it only in class won’t add up to much practice. Although we tend to think that doing
outside of class is harder, this isn’t necessarily true, precisely because of input/control matters.
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Working in pairs or groups or an in-class prelistening can provide more support too. The latter,
as well as postlistening activities can help students see the importance of the out-of-class work as

2 challenges:
     How complex authentic materials should be made accessible to novice and intermediate
        learners. This can be done in many ways
            o Workbooks
            o Written support materials that can guide practice (this is vague!)
            o Teacher-created materials
     Integrating out-of-class listening with in-class activities

Multimedia might be the best format for independent listening tasks because of its benefits.
Teachers will still need to select carefully and incorporate it into in-class activities, though, and
might have to provide some training on the programs. Teachers can also create their own

Strategic Listening
Strategy training will help students to continue learning even when the teacher is not available to
help them. There has been research done on strategy use, but little done on training; effective
language learners tend to combine or “orchestrate” many strategies (103, citing e.g., Swaffar and
Bacon 1993). Results of training studies have been mixed: it can be successful but training takes
up time.

Awareness of one’s own background knowledge is important. Strategy training/consciousness
raising is important to help students transfer their L1 listening skills to the L2.

Special Listeners
University language classes are getting more diverse and we should be aware of the implications
that this has.

The Older Learner
Hearing loss is a part of aging
    Decrease in hearing acuity (sound perception/discrimination, e.g., background music
       “drowning out dialogue”), accompanied by a gradual slowing down of the central
       auditory processing structures (107)
           o High-frequency response drops off with increased age (107)
           o Less ability to perceive harmonics and overtones—a reason why elderly patients
               claim to hear but not understand what they are hearing in the L1
           o Older listeners performed less well than younger listeners when the rate of the
               speaker increased, the speech signal was filtered, or the listening environment was
               reverberant (107)
    Also changes in memory and attention associated with aging can affect concentration and
       recall, which are important to successful listening.
    Greater hearing loss among elderly men than elderly women.

Therefore we need to take care in how we choose materials for older learners and use very high-
quality equipment and materials. Video may be a good choice because it also provides the visual
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input. Strategy (and equipment) training can help as well to help tap background knowledge and
L1 vocabularies that might be larger than those of their younger peers. Other things that could
help older learners:
     Captioning
     Rate alteration
     Self-paced learning

Learning disorders
Dyslexia and oral language disorders are often interrelated with perceptual difficulties. There is
some evidence (albeit controversial) that the latter causes the former. Now there is debate over
whether there is a FL learning disability.

Tomatis (1991): we are “deaf” to sounds of languages other than our own but this can be
addressed by retraining the ears to hear “missing” sounds. (aren’t you fighting a critical period
when you do this, though?) . His Electronic Ear delivers customized listening programs to
learners and has received positive written evaluations from users.

Multimedia program used to help kids with learning disabilities in their L1. Similar things could
help people in L2 as well as FL programs that emphasize sound/symbol correspondence, but
their effectiveness needs to be established through research.

Listening: Present and Future
    Increasing presence of digital sound.
    Better selection of materials.
    More LCTLs have thing available.
    More stuff for Macs
    Multimedia development now recognized for tenure and promotion
    Authoring templates

More research needed:
   How sound translates to meaning in the mind
   Functioning of the brain and ear
   Listening instruction
   Share research findings via tech, not just papers and presentations

The teacher still has an important role selecting materials and designing activities.