We should consider several points when helping our students to practise listening skills.
Several points should be taken into account when helping our students to practise listening skills.
- They can be trained together with reading skills. A specific vocabulary can be pre-taught in the reading section. Provide exercises practising unknown words, idioms, set phrases. Business English is rich in fixed expressions.
- Business English podcasts made by native speakers is a good way of practising the above-mentioned skills. It is good to listen to different podcasts on the same topic.
- A lot of people find it hard to grasp the intonation, the meaning of stress and the words the syllables of which are not fully pronounced. Thus, we should explain the peculiarities of their use to our students, giving them in a Business English context.
- We should offer our students a wide range of materials which should be of different speaking styles. Speeches, lectures, presentations, interviews, financial news, meetings on a variety of business topics should be included. Audio texts should comprise both monologic and dialogic speech. It is recommended to listen to people of different nationalities with different accents. The age of speakers should vary. The use of audio with the noise of this or that type shouldn’t be underestimated. That helps to create a close to the real-life atmosphere.
- We need to teach our students to see the structure of the audio/video material. We can tell them to write down the linking words mentioned in the text. Thus we will help them to get used to patterns of presenting business-related data. Tasks on retelling sticking to the written plan can be given.
- We should give tasks which will make students write down some details and useful expressions.
- Listening for gist, for detail, for a sequence (to understand the order), for vocabulary (to put the new words under certain categories), for opinions (when students should understand the speaker’s attitude) should be combined. All the listening activities must be accompanied by pre-, while and post-listening tasks. First students listen to the audio to get the main idea and then they are asked to give details. Different tasks on filling the gaps, taking notes should help students to understand the text better.
- We can encourage students to watch TED-talks on the relevant topics both during the lessons and outside the class. The research shows that the students who watch TED-talks regularly develop stronger listening and speaking skills. (Stognieva, 2019)
All things considered, I believe that a variety of listening activities help our students to improve their listening skills.