Inspired from some researches about teaching and learning English as a second and foreign language, especially in listening skill, there are some obstacles faced by students and teachers. The obstacles are such as using unsuitable methods by the teachers and lack of motivation from the students. Problem existing in students’ poor mastery of English listening skill is most of they have very short attention span and lack of motivation. The teachers have to find the suitable methods to motivate the students in order to make them interest in learning English. So, the goal of teaching listening is hoped can be reached.
As we know we can speak sensibly only if we understand what is said. In fact, people cannot talk if they cannot hear other people’s talk. That simply means there is not enough language input and there is no output. No deaf person can speak clearly because he cannot hear clearly.
Furthermore, listening skill is one of the basics of learning languages and acquiring them is very important in language learning. Moreover, with the development of high technology, we more and more rely on our ears to get information. There is no doubt that the speed of getting information is faster through listening than reading. Thus, it is crucial to improve the level of listening comprehension of the students. As a foreign language, English has four skills (reading, listening, writing, and speaking) that have to be mastered by the students. From these skills, listening is a skill that felt difficult to be mastered, because it needs more attention and concentration to comprehend the sounds (listening material). It can be said that listening is not a passive skill; the process of listening is a complex process in which many things happen simultaneously inside the mind.
It is better to look for good method in teaching listening. We can use some activities that can stimulate the students to improve their listening skill. The activities such as listen to English songs, playing games, and using story. When listening, students can write the vocabularies that appear on the particular topic. In listening English songs, students can listen to the pronunciation of words and sing along with the songs. Using storytelling in early age aims to make a student able to listen carefully what the speaker say, a student can ask anything, then they can express their mind. Listening skills are essential for students to be effective learners. Although some children might be better listeners than others, all students can benefit from activities and games that enhance and improve these skills. Teachers can help students practice and reinforce their listening abilities daily in the classroom. Storytelling and songs can be implemented through the games. Improve listening skill by using songs, games and stories so that the lessons can be understood and implemented gradually.
Listening is the receptive use of language, and since the goal is to make sense of the speech, the focus is on meaning rather than language (Cameron 2001). Sarıçoban (1999) states that listening is the ability to identify and understand what others are saying.
1.3 Purpose The Writing
- To fulfill one of the assignment of English for Young Learner subject
- To knowing how to teach English, especially in listening skill for young learners through songs, games and stories.
2.1 Teaching Listening Through Song
Song nothing can be as effective as song in children’s language class. When children do not pay attention to boring instructions in a language class as they are unaware of the significance of learning a language they learn a language very naturally if they enjoy what they are doing in the class. Children have a natural taste for song and because of that English language teachers around the world use such enjoyable and supportive means for children to improve listening skill. Songs being a source of motivation, interest and enjoyment, it is much easier for children to imitate and remember language than words which are just ‘spoken’. Again, a song can be used very effectively to teach children the sounds and rhythm of the language and to reinforce structures and vocabulary. Moreover songs contain words and expressions of high frequency and offer repetition. The stress and intonation pattern of the spoken language can be taught through songs.
Song is also a great language package that bundles culture, vocabulary, listening, grammar and a host of other language skills in just a few rhymes. Songs can also provide a relaxed lesson on a hot boring day. Almost everyone loves songs. It is a part of our language and life from before birth onwards. As a baby, we often hear our mother and father sing a song to deliver us sleep in the bedroom. When young children, we play, sing, and dance to a rhymes. As adolescents, we are consumes by the beat of popular songs artist in the world. As adults, we often hear song on television, movies, theater, and even nightly news. When we work, when we play, song is there to reinforce or every mood and emotion.
From explanation above, we are suggested to include songs in language learning as well. Songs had heard by the people in the world since they are born until died. So, listening to the songs has been a habitual and liked by everybody. Beside of that, by songs we can provide a relaxed lesson on a hot boring day.
The important thing about choosing a song to do with a class is to make sure that the lyrics are clear. It can be very frustrating for the students not to understand a word. Furthermore, M. Lynch (2008), provides three principal song selection criteria, they are:
- Use songs that are popular with the students whenever possible. Unfortunately, students frequently select songs for classroom use which are objectionable in some way making the song unusable.
- Songs must have clear and understandable lyrics. Nothing is worse than a song almost nobody can understand. If you have trouble understanding the lyrics by listening, then another song needs to be selected.
- Songs should have an appropriate theme. There’s enough bad news, negativity and violence in the world already. Songs with any type of negative theme should be avoided. There are plenty of positive, upbeat, even humorous songs available.
The activites for Teaching Listening Through Songs :
- A. Lesson plan for listen and do songs
Before you start teaching any song, as certain that the classroom CD player is ready for use and that every student can hear equally well. If you are going to use handouts, distribute them to the students but tell them not to read the lyrics until after the first listening. If you are using a textbook, tell the students the page number. If you do not have a textbook or access to a photocopier, you may write the lyrics on the board or on a poster before you start.
- B. Stage 1 : Pre-teaching activities
According to Davies and Pearse (2000), this stage is useful to prepare the learners for what they are going to hear, just as we usually prepare for real-life situations. Important points to consider for this stage are as follows:
- To get the students interested in the topic of the song and to warm them up, you can show a picture or other reality related to the song and ask the students what they think the song is about. Tolerate some native language use, as these are young learners and beginners.
- Next, read the title of the song aloud, and explain it through actions and visuals.
- Ask the students if they already know any words in English related to the title of the song. On the board, write any English words that the students mention.
- Finally, explain the unknown vocabulary from the song through actions and visuals. There are usually very colorful pictures in young learners’ books, and it is time-saving to make use of them.
- C. Stage 2: While-teaching activities
This stage is useful to help the learners understand the text through activities. As pointed out earlier, one advantage of listen and do songs is that students are active as they are listening. However, do not expect your students to learn the song and the accompanying actions in the first listening. They will need to listen to the song a few times. Here are the activities while
- First listening. The aim of the first listening, as pointed out by Harmer (1991), is to give students an idea of what the listening material sounds like. Let the students listen to the song without any interruptions so that they will have an opportunity to hear the music and the lyrics. This may also be termed free listening. This activity quite beneficial and motivating for the students, and they express positive feelings about free listening. After the free listening, tell the students to look at the lyrics of the song (from the handout, textbook, board, or poster), since this is probably the best time to let students see and read the lyrics. (If the students read the lyrics before the first listening, they may try to read along and not concentrate.) Next, read the lyrics of the song aloud and ask the students to listen and follow from the handout. Finally, read the lyrics aloud line by line and ask the students to repeat every line aloud. After completed the repetition phase, use the actions for the song. Read every line aloud, demonstrate the associated actions, and ask the students to do the same actions. The following well-known song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” teacher can illustrates the activity. At this stage, it is the responsibility of the teacher to ascertain that each student understands the vocabulary and actions in the song and that they can do the actions when they are asked. It is for the teacher to decide whether to do extra repetitions. Students may say they understood everything because they want to proceed to the next stage right away. To check student understanding, randomly name the vocabulary that you have taught and ask the students to do the accompanying actions.
- Second listening. Play the song again and guide the students both by singing and doing the actions that you have already taught. This time, ask the students to just listen and do the actions under your guidance. Hearing the teacher sing the song and seeing the teacher do the actions help students overcome feelings of shyness and lack of confidence. Besides, students find it funny and interesting when they see their teacher doing the actions to a song. This situation motivates the students and prepares them for the third listening, where they will be asked to sing the song.
- Third listening. This is the stage when students are asked to sing the song along with the CD or the teacher line by line. As a teacher, check for correct intonation of language—not music—and pronunciation, and do some remedial work on any problematic intonation or pronunciation.
- Fourth listening. Ask the students to sing the complete song along with the CD and join in the singing yourself. Also, ask the students to do the accompanying actions.
- D. Stage 3: Post-teaching activities
This stage is generally accepted as the stage when the teacher moves on from listening practice to focus on other language skills such as reading, speaking, and writing.
By using songs in the classroom, students can practice their listening skills and increase their cultural knowledge. Almost any song can be used in the ESL classroom. The pronunciation and rhythm lessons are the same as for the children’s songs and the lessons may help students become more interested in different types of songs. Practicing lyric reading, studying the vocabulary, and listening to various songs can help students become more familiar with popular songs and make them more confident in their ability to listen and understand the world around them (Brown, 2006).
2.2 Teaching Listening Through Games
Games Just like songs, games also provide wonderful atmosphere in the children’s language class. It is widely documented that English language games improve learning, and with children, they are one of the most effective classroom tools. The first reason why games are so useful is that since games make learning fun, children are willing participants and are not just present in class because they have to be. Students pay more attention because when they enjoy themselves, they do better, feel better about themselves, and do even better – it is a learning cycle working in their favor. Next reason is playing a game has a purpose and an outcome. In order to play, students have to say things. Therefore, they have a reason to communicate and this makes them want to know and learn more. In addition to this, games stimulate and motivate children to a new level. They know that if they do not pay attention, they will not be able to play the game well and they will let their team down so they make more effort to join and learn as much as possible.
The proverb ‘repetition is the mother of skill’ becomes very meaningful during the games in children’s language class as students get to use the language all the time with a lot of repetition. Although repetition is boring in some cases, during games it is fun for children. Also because of the fun involved in the game a massive amount of vocabulary and grammar can be revised in a short time because it is very difficult for learners to remember vocabulary if they never use it. Furthermore, the physical movement involved in some of the games also helps keep children stimulated and alert. Children naturally have a lot of energy and are not good at attending formal lessons for long periods, and so if they participate in a game involving physical movements from time to time, they will never get impatient and bored. Most importantly, the philosophy of encouragement in corporated into these games increases confidence in all students. Usually this does not just mean they get better at only English, but in all subjects in school. This in turn makes the teachers more motivated and optimistic, and they can really make a difference in their lesson.
In this context before that listen and do songs are suitable for implemented through the games activities. Some suggested examples follow :
- Depending on the number of students, divide the class into two or three groups. Assign a part of the song to each group, then ask the groups to sing along with the CD and at the same time do the actions. Total Physical Response songs in general are suitable for class, group, or individual competitions, so you may wish to turn this song into a competition by assigning points to every correct pronunciation and action. This game is greatly enjoyed by the majority of students.
- As an alternative to the above activity, the following game may be played: choose two students and call them to the front. Then give commands randomly related to the song and reward the quickest correct action with applause by the class. The following description illustrates this activity: The teacher says “knees,” and the students are expected to touch or point to their knees. The quickest student to touch or point to his or her knees wins a point and is applauded by the class. The song, and again the student who is quickest to do the appropriate action gets a point. This game becomes even more fun if the teacher lets the students in the class give the commands. Besides, if students “take over” in this way, the activity is not always centered on the teacher, and consequently there is more room for student practice.
- The same game may be played as a whole class as well. The teacher randomly gives commands, and any student to do an incorrect action is taken out of the game. The last remaining student is announced as the winner.
- To foster students’ writing skills, the teacher sticks a picture, or several pictures, on the board and asks different students to come up and write what the picture shows. For example, put a picture or drawing of a human body on the board for the song “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” and draw arrows linked to the head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose. Next, I teach the structure “I have _____” and write an example sentence on the board (e.g., “I have brown eyes”). Then I name an item (e.g., ears) and call a student to the board. The student first has to write the word ears in the blank line. Then, the student has to write a sentence using the “I have _____” structure. (“I have two ears.”) It is a good idea at this point to help your students write the sentences and ask the other students both to help and to copy the sentences from the board.
2.3 Teaching Listening Through Stories
Stories are very important for children in learning their mother tongue, and they are important in learning any foreign language as well. That is why it is good to start using stories in teaching English as soon as possible. Primary school “children enjoy listening to stories over and over again. This frequent repetition allows certain language items to be acquired while others are being overtly reinforced. Many stories contain natural repetition of key vocabulary and structures. This helps children to remember every detail, so they can gradually learn to anticipate what is about to happen next in the story. Repetition also encourages participation in the narrative”.
Stories are very motivating, challenging and great fun for children. They can help develop positive attitudes towards the foreign language, culture and language learning. By using stories allows the teacher to introduce or revise new vocabulary and sentence structures by exposing the children to language in varied, memorable and familiar contexts, which will enrich their thinking and gradually enter their own speech. “Listening to stories helps children become aware of the rhythm, intonation and pronunciation of language”. Stories also provide opportunities for developing continuity in children’s learning. They can link English with other subject areas across the curriculum.
When children listen to stories in class they share social experience, it “provokes a shared response of laughter, sadness, excitement and anticipation which is not only enjoyable but can help to build up the child’s confidence and encourage social and emotional development”. Stories are a useful tool in linking fantasy and the imagination with the child’s real world. They provide a way of enabling children to make sense of their everyday life and forge links between home and school. Children exercise their imagination through stories. They “can become personally involved in a story as they identify with the characters and try to interpret the narrative and illustrations. This imaginative experience helps students develop their own creative potential.
The activites for Teaching Listening Through Stories :
Pre-storytelling activities are important because they introduce the topic, they motivate the students to read or listen to a story, they provoke initial interest in the topic, students start to think about it, they prepare their minds and show what they know about it. These activities help teacher anticipate problems in terms of language and concepts and give space to pre-teach complicated language. Warming up activities relax students. For example an informal chat can build up and maintain good relation between a teacher and students. Questions that introduce the topic are good to use, but not too many. Or students can guess the title of the topic of the lesson. We can show students a picture or watch a video extract to provoke they interest.
After the pre-storytelling activities, when the teacher has already involved students in the lesson, s/he can start telling or reading the story. “The students must hear everything loudly and clearly. The teacher’s voice should be pleasant, intimate, smooth, low-pitched, varied if possible for different characters since all this will add to the emotional impact of the story. Telling or reading the story the teacher might like to see if the learners understand the language of the story. S/he can just stop for a moment and ask pupils what is going to happen next. This way the teacher checks their understanding and makes them thinking about the narration.
When telling or reading the story has already finished, it’s time for teacher not to relax but to offer the children some very important activities. It was said that one of the most considerable quality of stories in learning process is that they are real fun for young learners. The teacher can ask the children yes/no or wh-questions. The young learners also may be asked to decide if some statements are true or false. Very useful for a comprehension check are the matching activities; for example “matching characters with phrases they have said, things they have done or qualities they possess”
ll these pre, while and post- storytelling activities, mention above (and there are much more others possible to use), help the children to understand the story fully, to gain more confidence in used English vocabulary and grammar structures, to become completely aware with the main points of what was told or read from the teacher and this way to be able to retell it; after precise re-construction in their minds. Students even are encouraged to create their own stories. This way the used in the lesson story really is a bridge, connecting language study and language use and is a source of confidence in understanding and speaking English – something that without doubt will be very useful for the students in their lives outside the classroom.
listening skill is one of the basics of learning languages and acquiring them is very important in language learning. It is better to look for good method in teaching listening. We can use some activities that can stimulate the students to improve their listening skill. The activities such as listen to English songs, playing games, and using story. When listening, students can write the vocabularies that appear on the particular topic. In listening English songs, students can listen to the pronunciation of words and sing along with the songs. Using storytelling in early age aims to make a student able to listen carefully what the speaker say, a student can ask anything, then they can express their mind. Listening skills are essential for students to be effective learners. Although some children might be better listeners than others, all students can benefit from activities and games that enhance and improve these skills. Teachers can help students practice and reinforce their listening abilities daily in the classroom. Improve listening skill by using songs, games and stories so that the lessons can be understood and implemented gradually.