Lead-in: Discuss the General Topic
A PPT showing the pictures of the ‘bad habits’ from the lesson, students work in pairs and discuss what the ‘bad habits’ are and who in their family do such things. After the pair work, check with the whole class and see if they have figured out all the vocabulary that they will need in the later parts of the lesson.
By doing this activity, on the one hand, students have the first chance to get familiar with issues that will be mentioned later on in the listening text; on the other, by relating the topic to their real life, students can feel more comfortable and confident in the following tasks. This activity is important also because many Elementary stage students may have learned the related language in their previous education, but need to repeat using it multiple times before they can really know how to use the language properly.
Listen for the gist
Jeremy Harmer stated in The Practice of English Language Teaching that good listeners are able to take in a stream of discourse and understand the gist of it without worrying too much about the details. Listeners use their processing power to get more of a top-down view of what has been conveyed by e text. In reality, many ESL learners have the natural urge of paying too close attention to every single word and very often cannot see the bigger picture. Gist tasks are usually looking for one or two of general topics & themes, situations, feelings, relationship between characters, etc. To encourage students to practice the gist-listening skill, I would provide them with some questions (Appendix 1). The questions are not asking for specific information, but some general ideas from the text.
Listen for specific information:
Harmer said in The Practice of English Language Teaching that many times we listen to something in everyday life because we want extract specific bits of information (a fact or two). We may listen to the new, merely focusing on the particular items that interest us or are useful to us. Tasks for such
practice should be simple and learners will not need too much time to respond, so that they could pay more attention to the listening.
Looking at the text, I would have the student to fill in a chart (Appendix 2). In order to complete the task, students will need to listen to bad habits mentioned in the conversation, and match them with the right person’s name.
Many learners find it hard to understand listening texts because they are not clear what they should be listening to. This task, with clear visual support (the chart), gives the learners a clear idea what kind of information they should be concentrating on; it can also help the learners to understand what attitude and techniques we should use depending on what kind of information we want to get from a text.
Listening for deeper comprehension involves much more attention to the text. Listeners need to see beyond the literal meaning of words and understand what the speaker is implying or suggesting. We use our schemata and background knowledge to have a fuller and deeper understanding of the text.
As for this text, I would choose a few (5) sentences from the conversation, and have the students do a multiple choice task, in which they need to choose the statements that has the same meaning from three given answers. Students need this task since they need to time and attention pay closer attention to the text, and have a more thorough comprehension of the text.
As Harmer explained, although there are cases where individual skills may be treated separately, the focus can and should later shift to one or more of the other skills. In our real life, when you are listening to someone complaining about someone’s bad habits, the listener may also join the conversation and complain about his/her family or friends. It can also provide the students an opportunity to improve their communicative fluency.
Following the previous receptive training tasks, I would let the students relate this situation to their real life and complain to their partners about the bad habits of people around them (family members or friends). By doing this productive task, students can relate the lesson to their real life situations and therefore they can have a deeper impression about the lesson.