BRAZ-TESOL: a listening skills workshop

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“Enhancing students’ listening skills with authentic materials: going beyond gap-filling” (Bruna Caltabiano)Bruna began this workshop with a brainstorm session of why humans (and other animals!) listen. She led the discussion to this very human motivation, as expressed by Wilson: “We learn to listen and we listen to learn”.  

Her next point is to remind us what John Field has said: we can’t be sure that a student has fully understood a listening text just because s/he has managed to complete the listening task. She went on to talk about what authentic texts are, how they differ from non-authentic texts (‘messy’ language), and why we might decide to use them.  She also proposed criteria for selecting suitable texts for a given class, making the important point that difficulty/level is determined just as much by the task we set as by the actual text itself.

The remainder of her session was a demonstration of tasks and activities we can use to exploit songs, film clips and TED talks (other than the obvious gap-fills).  We had a group work session at the end, in which groups brainstormed ideas for exploiting a text (working from the transcript).

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