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Write short notes on the following:

(i) Structural approach vs. communicative approach

In order to speak English well, that is, to communicate successfully in English a learner has to produce
grammatical utterances appropriate to the context in which they find themselves. The structural or indirect
approach to the teaching of conversation is one in which conversational competence derives from engaging
learners in conversational interaction. According to this approach (based on second language acquisition
research) learners acquire language through conversation. In other words, one learns to interact verbally and
syntactic structures are developed through this interaction. The conversation class should primarily provide
opportunities for learners to engage in natural conversation through the use of communicative tasks and activities.
In practical terms, this leads to the use of pair-work and group-work activities that require learner-to-learner
interaction. Tasks most likely to bring this about involve information sharing and negotiation. The focus is on
using language to complete a task rather than on practicing language for its own sake. The communicative or
direct approach to teaching conversation is one that focuses explicitly on the processes and strategies involved in
casual conversation. The programme hence concentrates on such aspects of conversation as strategies for turn-
taking, topic control, conversational routines, fluency, pronunciation and differences between formal and casual
conversational styles. It would be suitable to select from each approach those aspects that would be suitable for
our students.

(ii) Difference between speech and writing

Most of the differences between spoken and written language arise from two main sources. The first source is
situational. When we use written language to communicate, we presume that the person to whom the message is
addressed is/are absent. In other words, written communication is essentially intended to convey messages to an
audience that is absent, so that there is no face to face or direct interaction. Therefore, it becomes necessary to be
as explicit as possible by completing sentences carefully and precisely. Even in an informal letter the writer uses
sentences and not just the odd word as in conversation. Spoken language, on the other hand, presumes the
presence of both the speaker and the hearer. This makes it possible for them to support the word or phrase they
utter by gesture, and be assured by word or look that their hearer has understood the message. Spoken language,
therefore does not necessarily have to contain complete and well-formed sentences. Also as a result of the
difference owing to conversation, writing tends to be relatively more permanent than conversation. The second
source of difference arises from the very nature of the device used. By the two mediums for the transmission of

language. The device we use in the written medium comprises marks on the page which combine to form words
and meaningful sentences. These orthographic signs are not adequate to represent the various devices we use to
transmit language by speech. In other words, marks on a page do not give us any indication of how they are to be
pronounced. Numerals in different languages, for example, may be written in the same script and have the same
value but are generally pronounced differently in different languages. Similarly, many languages may use the
same letters of the alphabet that is, the same script – e.g. English, German, and French – but these letters may not
represent the same sounds in each of these languages nor do they indicate the way in which the sounds in each
language combine to form words and words combine to form longer utterances. In some languages, such as
English, there is in fact no one to one correspondence between spelling and sound. In addition to the sound of
each language, the rhythm of each language is different. Rhythm and intonation are properties of spoken
language alone and cannot be represented by sentences on the page.

(iii) The importance of lesson plans

A lesson plan is a teacher's detailed description of the course of instruction for one class. A daily lesson plan is
developed by a teacher to guide class instruction. There may be requirements mandated by the school system
regarding the plan. A lesson plan is the teacher's guide for running a particular lesson, and it includes the goal
(what the students are supposed to learn), how the goal will be reached (the method, procedure) and a way of
measuring how well the goal was reached (test, worksheet, homework etc). It is a vital component of the
teaching-learning process. The importance of lesson plans can be summarized as follows:
Lesson plans:
- provides a coherent framework for smooth efficient teaching.
- helps the teacher to be more organized.
- gives a sense of direction in relation to the syllabus.
- helps the teacher to be more confident when delivering the lesson.
- provides a useful basis for future planning.
- helps the teacher to plan lessons which cater for different students.
- Is a proof that the teacher has taken a considerable amount of effort in his/her teaching.
Proper classroom planning will keep teachers organized and on track while teaching, thus allowing them to teach
more, help students reach objectives more easily and manage less. The better prepared the teacher is, the more
likely she/he will be able to handle whatever unexpectedly happens in the lesson.

(iv) The role of a teacher in a language class

The term ‘role’, as originally comes from sociology and refers to the shared expectation of how an individual
should behave. In other words, roles describe what people are supposed to do. The traditional method of teaching
English makes the teacher the all-powerful authority in the classroom, almost obliterating the existence of the
learner sometimes. In communicative activities, the teacher’s role is definitely more as a facilitator, guide,
monitor and as an organizer. It should not be an authoritarian know-it-all role. As a general overseer of his
students learning process, the teacher must aim to coordinate the activities so that they form a coherent
progression, leading towards communicative ability.
- As a classroom manager, s/he is responsible for grouping activities into lessons and for ensuring that
these activities are satisfactorily organized at a practical level.
- In many activities, s/he may not intervene after initiating the proceedings but will let learning take
place through independent activity or pair/group work.
- When such an activity is in progress s/he may act as a consultant or adviser, helping whenever
necessary. S/he may also move around the classroom in order to monitor the strengths and weaknesses
of the learners, as a basis for planning future learning activities.
- S/he will sometimes wish to participate in an activity as co-communicator with the learners. In this
role, s/he can stimulate and present new language without taking the main initiative for learning away
from the learners themselves.
The main objective of the teaching-learning of a living language – like English – is to help the learners to
become able to use it to communicate with others, by sending and receiving meaningful messages.

2. What is Practitioner Research? How could you integrate this in your day-to-day teaching? Give

Practitioner Research refers to academic research and/or workplace research such as evaluation performed by
individuals who also work in a professional field as opposed to being full-time academic researchers. Action
research or practitioner research is conducted by teachers in their own classrooms and schools. It is on-the-job
activity, unlike the more traditional forms of research where outside researchers come into schools, investigate
questions that focus on one or more aspects of the curriculum and then leave. Practitioner research is a kind of
research in which teachers critically look at their own classrooms primarily for the purpose of improving their
teaching and for the purpose of improving their teaching and the quality of education as a whole . It is
participatory since teachers and students, the main stakeholders of the curriculum, are involved in it. Teachers

are no more ‘subjects’ who are subjected to classroom observations or interviews by outside researchers but are
an integral part of the continuous research process.

Practitioner research is also situational or context-based in that it is ‘grounded’ in classroom realities. This
means that it can take account not only of the classroom as a ‘real’ social setting, but also of the institutional
factors that have an impact on the work of the teacher. Therefore this research allows for interpretations that stem
from actual data from classroom and not from theoretical argumants alone.

It is also self-evaluative i.e. based on the on-going evaluation of improvements achieved. Teachers can
themselves decide which findings from their experimentation are useful and relevant to the given situation, which
ones need to be discarded and which ones need to be repeated and more importantly, why.

But even practitioner research or classroom research by teachers may sound a little daunting since it appears to
involve extra work and it may seem difficult.

The following examples show how I can integrate practitioner in my day to day teaching.

 Use “Diary Study” to carry out a systematic step-by step analysis of a topic relevant to the day-to day
life of Primary School pupils. The study involved detailed self-analysis based on certain important
questions within a period of about a fortnight. I have chosen a topic more relevant to their day-day life: The
negative effects of cigarettes and drugs since I believe that it is a very sensitive issue that has to be dealt with
since a very young age – i.e. before the child attains secondary school where he/she falls an easy prey to such
problems. It is also obvious that taking such substances will affect the physical, mental, social and spiritual
health of the child, so the child should be well informed, in advance, about the consequences of taking these
substances. The lesson consisted of a debate on the above topic. I planned the lesson well in advance. Pupils
would bring magazine clippings on debatable topics. These clippings would then be read out. Coming back
to the lesson, I would introduce the topic and assign various roles. The pupils would be divided in groups of
six. They would discuss in groups, followed by a class debate.

Good points:

 This activity has also enabled pupils to develop certain social skills since they have been working in groups
and sharing ideas. They indirectly learn about the importance of cooperation and group-work, where more
learning is possible.

 Improvement of written and spoken vocabulary.

 They learn to adapt themselves in society. Social health is expressed in positive and healthy behavior; it is
when the child can get along correctly with everyone socially. This has been possible by interactions with
classmates during the activity.

 This activity has helped the child develop a series of values – spiritual skills – that will help him in later life.
For example, he/she learns that drug-taking is illegal and therefore one should refrain from it.

 The child learns that in life one must know how to resist temptations like peer pressure (smoking, drinking,
taking drugs…) which ultimately make them become strong persons.

Bad points:

 I felt that some students showed the tendency of leaving the initiative to others. These students had to be
constantly encouraged.
 Occasionally, the class seemed to degenerate into chaos. I could not scold them as it would kill their
enthusiasm. At the same time, I felt the need for better organization with rules and regulations to avoid any
source of indiscipline.


It was an innovative way of generating new ideas and sensitizing pupils about certain dangers. Pupils
learnt about the importance of team spirit. But I felt the need for regrouping some of the pupils for more
participation (equal).

 I also designed an activity where I would start a story and pupils would try to complete it. I wrote the
first sentence on the whiteboard and pupils, turn by turn, came to write a sentence to continue the story.
Pictures – in large format – was used to illustrate the story and was fixed on the whiteboard. My aim was to
improve pupils’ knowledge about the following: sentence structure, verbs, creativity, punctuation,
prepositions, conjunctions, adjectives and adverbs. Checklists were used to assess pupils – checklists are the
most effective and efficient as an assessment tool when they assess specific curriculum outcomes pertaining

to a topic. They also help teachers to focus their observations and to clarify about what behaviors are
indicative for successful learning. For example the following learning areas were assessed:

Participation Yes/No

Sentence construction Yes/No

Verbs Yes/No


Good points:

 The class was made lively and humorous.

 All pupils were given equal opportunity and individual attention and encouragement was given to all.

 The got an opportunity to voice their opinion and thereby gain confidence.

 Pupils develop interests in studies and they understand the different concepts mentioned above without
the need for rote-learning.

Bad points:

 Sometimes noise level in the class is disturbing.

 Some pupils were not confident to answer long sentences either orally or in the written form – especially
the low learners.


I had managed to motivate the pupils quite well. Pupils were eager to participate and the result was extremely
good – the best ideas of all pupils put together! It served as a model for writing compositions and it triggered
thinking in pupils. But I realized that slow learners could not cope, so it was necessary for me to carry out
remedial work with them so that they could at least write short, simple sentences and gain more confidence.

 Furthermore, I experimented with wedding cards to enrich the written and spoken vocabulary of
pupils and their knowledge of grammar. Pupils were made to work in pairs. The task consisted of
identifying the following things in the text:

(i) Active and Passive verbs/ verb tenses

(ii) Prepositions

(iii) Conversational/cross-cultural elements for vocabulary.

(iv) Invitation writing (dialogue writing)

(v) Proper nouns (focus on capital letters) v/s nouns.

(vi) Gender

(vii) Where capital letters are situated

(viii) Opposites/ synonyms

(ix) Adjectives

(x) Adverbs

(xi) Adding words to invitation cards

Rating scales were used to assess the effectiveness of Teaching and learning in this situation – it was a kind of
formative assessment. Rating scales are measuring instruments that allow representation of the extent to
which specific concepts, skills, processes or attitudes exist in students and their work (poor – average – good).
This enabled me to record sufficient performance on a wide range of skills and attitudes. They are
particularly useful in situations where the student performance can be described along a continuum such as
participation in a debate or skill in preparing a microscope slide.

Guidelines for use of Rating scale:

Use during classtime

Break it up into its continuous parts – make parts as specific as possible so as to increase the scales

Good points:

 It is an innovative process – pupils are made to analyze the various parts the text in an informal way.

 Pupils improve writing and punctuation skills.

Bad points:

 Some pupils were discussing other things instead of focusing on the given task.


I had developed a new way of teaching grammar in an informal and interesting way.

On the whole I can say that after gaining sufficient experience in teaching, the teacher becomes a reflective
practitioner. The latter can develop new ways of doing things by carrying out Practitioner Research –
especially to teach those concepts where pupils usually have difficulties. Such research is also held to improve
the quality of the practitioner-researcher's practice.

3. What are the different approaches to teaching grammar? What approach would you prefer for your
students and why?

Grammar is defined as a theory of language. Grammar can have four main definitions:

(i) It refers to the total mechanism of the language, which enables its users to communicate with each

(ii) It constitutes a sub-set of rules relating to morphology and syntax – i.e., the correct use of language,
which may be prescribed for its users, for example words beginning with a vowel sound are preceded
by ‘an’ whereas words beginning with a consonant sound are preceded by ‘a’;

(iii) Grammar is a device that specifies the infinite set of well-formed sentences and assigns to each of
them one or more structural descriptions;

(iv) According to linguists, Grammar is regarded as the innate capacity which all human beings possess; it
allows them to acquire language.

Language learning is a complex phenomenon. What works for one context may not work for another. As
teachers of English, it would be necessary for us to be necessary for us to be familiar with various approaches
so that we may use the one appropriate to our needs. There are three major approaches to teaching Grammar:
Formal explanation of grammatical rules; Practice of common grammatical patterns; Providing opportunities
for students to use English in realistic situation.

Formal presentation of grammatical rules – Traditional teachers of English followed this approach to
grammar teaching. There are several books which present the rules of English Grammar – e.g Wren and
Martin, Nesfield etc... The rules are prescriptive; while they have their own value, we should be careful not
to exaggerate their importance. For, some of these rules are no longer valid; if we continue to follow them,
our English would sound quite funny. The mastery of the rules of Grammar will surely make our learners
veterans in their grammar; they will be able to answer the questions on grammar well and secure full marks in
the grammar section of the paper. Bur when they speak or write they generally forget the rules they learn and
commit numerous mistakes. Hence they are not able to communicate effectively in English, outside the

Practice of common grammatical patterns – In this approach students are not taught the rules of Grammar;
they are merely asked to practice the structures of language. They are given substitution tablets which drill
them in the correct use of structures. It is thus impossible for them to come out with an ungrammatical

For example we can ask pupils to make as many sentences as they can from the following table:

We like watching cartoons.



Such drilling helps students to become familiar with the basic sentence patterns in English. However, it does not
tell them when to use these patterns. There is also the danger that they may mechanically repeat the sentences
without understanding the grammatical rules involved.

Providing opportunities to use English in realistic situations – In this approach, the teacher is not concerned
with teaching Grammar – either in the form of rules and drills. His/her major objective is to create opportunities
for the learners to communicate in English. It is believed that by engaging in the process of communication, the
students will implicitly master the rules of Grammar. Hence, the more opportunities learners get for
communication, the better their proficiency. But in case the learners come out with ungrammatical sentences, the
teacher will provide the correct form incidentally. S/he will not immediately start a remedial grammar lesson in
that area. The basic belief in this approach is that learners learn by doing – that is, they learn to communicate by
communicating, and not by mastering a set of rules or repeating a set of patterns. Though these learners will
develop fluency, it is possible they that will not know how to explain the grammatical rules of English.

Personally, I would prefer to use a combination of the first and the third approaches – formal presentation and
providing them opportunities to use English in realistic situations. The two approaches present two extremes –
one focusing totally on grammar and the other completely on communication, to the exclusion of grammar. In
order to develop the grammatical skills and the communicative skills in my pupils, I would focus on both aspects.
My grammar lesson would consist of five parts:

(i) Brainstorming – i.e., prepare pupils’ minds to receive knowledge. This means to lead the
pupils from the known to the unknown. Prompting a reaction in pupils, e.g. whist teaching
verbs (in the present simple tense), I can ask pupils questions such as:

 What do you like to eat?

 What does your sister like to wear?

 What is the verb in the sentence you just mentioned?

 How do you recognize a verb?

 What is present tense?

 How do you recognize the present simple tense?

 Suggest a list of words that indicate the present tense…

(ii) Presentation by teacher- I would then select a grammar structure relevant to the pupils’
needs and introduce it. For example,

I like eating chocolates.

Mary likes eating chocolates

I could then elicit on the rules of writing verbs in the present simple tense, focusing on the third person singular –
for instance,

 he, she, it: in the third person singular the verb always ends in -s:
he wants, she needs, he gives, she thinks.
 Negative and question forms use DOES (=the third person of the auxiliary ‘DO') + the infinitive of the
He wants. Does he want? He does not want.
 Verbs ending in -y : the third person changes the -y to -ies:
fly - flies; cry - cries
Exception: if there is a vowel before the -y:
play - plays, pray - prays
 Add -es to verbs ending in:-ss, -x, -sh, -ch:
he passes, she catches, he fixes, it pushes
 See also Verbs -'Regular verbs in the simple present', and 'Be, do & have'

(iii) Focused Practice – In this stage, students get practice in the use of the Present Simple,
through various exercises. e.g., doing drilling exercises on verbs in the present simple. After
they finish the exercise, the teacher gives them the correct answers and also discuss their
(iv) Communicative Practice – Now, the learner engages in communicative activities to practice
the structure that has been learnt. These activities are similar to communication in real life.
There is a genuine information gap as in real life contexts. As in real life the learners have
the choice i.e, the freedom to say what they want. They also get feedback from their peers
regarding the effectiveness of the communication.
(v) Teacher feedback and correction – this forms an integral part of all the three stages above.
I would not merely point out the error and correct it; instead I would provide a cognitive
challenge to the learners and provide them opportunities to discover their own mistakes.

I believe that the above model will help pupils develop their grammatical as well as communication

4. How do pair and group work help to improve language teaching-learning? Which skill areas benefit the

An effective teacher must be able to manage his/her class correctly. To ‘manage’ means to be able to deliver
all the goods that the teacher has planned effectively and systematically, with no danger of deviating or being
forced to deviate from the desired goal. But a certain degree of flexibility is also necessary. Children, in
modern times, are no longer considered as ‘empty vessels’; they learn a lot of new things on their own. They
are nowadays being exposed to vast amounts of knowledge through the internet and television. Since the
language of computers is mostly English, it is obvious that they are being exposed to new vocabulary almost
every day. In modern times, it is therefore important to engage pupils in learning activities to give them
the opportunity to interact and share their viewpoints. Two ways of engaging students in learning activities
are by pair work and group work.

PAIR WORK is learners working together in pairs. It enables active participation and interaction among
learners. Typically, two students sitting next to each other do some work together. The formation of pairs can
be of two types: fixed pairs – where the student works with his/her neighbor in order to complete the work
assigned and flexible pairs – where the student does not interact with the same partner but changes partners,
i.e. they are allowed to move around freely. Pair work can help to improve language teaching – learning in
the following ways:

(i) Increase the opportunities for learners to use English in the class. For instance, if the
learners are answering comprehension questions in pairs after reading a text, it allows them to
compare answers, and clarify problems together using English. They can also be allowed to
work for several minutes on a complex and well-structured task. Since two students are
involved it is not easy for either of them to switch off – so they always remain alert and
actively involved in learning tasks.

(ii) More speaking time - If 15 students speak in turn in a 30 minute class that equals 2 minutes
of speaking each- and for shy students it might work out as just one minute of speaking or
less. If students work in pairs for the whole class, they could theoretically speak for as much
as 15 minutes each, and certainly no one could speak as little as 1 minute.

(iii) Speaking skills - There are certain speaking skills that happen much more naturally and more
often in pairs than in large groups, such as interrupting each other, using tag questions etc. to
invite the other person to speak, and asking people for confirmation and clarification of what
they said.

(iv) Students have the chance to work with and learn from their peers; struggling students can
learn from more capable peers.

(v) Fun - Working in pairs allows the teacher to use more games, and therefore increases the
students' motivation and concentration.

(vi) Fluency - According to research, students who speak out in front of the class improve their
accuracy but lose fluency, and the opposite is true of speaking in pairs. If you need to
improve your fluency, this is usually best done with pair work speaking activities

GROUP WORK – When the activity at some stage in a lesson calls for discussion or active collaboration
among a group of students, a number of such groups are formed and each given a relevant task to work on.
This is called group work. Groups of 4 to 6 are typically used but there is no foxed rule regarding size - the
nature of the activity usually determines the size of the groups. The most important thing in forming groups
is to ensure that the students in a group are able to work together comfortably. Quite often the outcome of
group work is the production of a ‘report’ that is presented (or shared with) the rest of the class. One student
has to do the job of recording d reporting what the group wants to state as its opinion or suggestion. Group
work can help to improve language teaching – learning in the following ways:

(i) More language Practice – Group work gives the students a lot of opportunity to speak English, thus
increasing the students’ talking time.

(ii) Students feel secure – Those who are less confident or shy do not feel any pressure or anxiety when they
are working in smaller groups. They can express their ideas freely and the peer-assistance helps them
gain confidence once again.

(iii) Students provide assistance – Group work helps and encourages students to share ideas, rectify mistakes
and explore meanings.

(iv) Students are more involved - Group work definitely makes the students feel more involved. Instead of
being merely passive listeners all the time, as in the traditional lecture method, they fully participate in
group discussions and have to concentrate on the task assigned.

(v) The variety of tasks allow the pupils to be more exposed to the English language- The students get an
opportunity to interact, discuss, role play and also stimulate real life situations. All these makes the
student deeply involved and interested in the variety of activities in the class.

(vi) In the case of slow learners or pupils with disabilities - discussion has the
advantage of encouraging young children and illiterate people to express their ideas
and to learn new ones, despite the fact that they cannot read and write.


Pair and Group work help pupils to develop a series of skills, namely they promote cooperative skills, such as
listening and communication skills, interpersonal skills, problem solving and sharing of tasks, recording and
reporting, leadership and public speaking.

 Listening and communication skills - Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in
the communication process. You can hear someone speak without listening to the words. Hearing defines
only the physical measurement of the sound waves that are transmitted to the ear and into the brain where
they are processed into audible information. Hearing occurs with or without your consent but listening is one
of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on, and on the quality of
your relationships with others. Students listen for the following reasons:

 to obtain information.

 to understand.

 for enjoyment.

 to learn.

 Communication is the process by which we exchange information between individuals or groups of people. It
is a process where we try as clearly and accurately as we can, to convey our thoughts, intentions and
objectives. Communication is successful only when both the sender and the receiver understand the same

information. Communication skills is the ability to communicate effectively. Good communication skills are
key to success in life, work and relationships. Without effective communication, a message can turn into error

 Pair and group interaction activities help students develop their interpersonal skills. Interpersonal skills are
the life skills we use every day to communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in
groups. An example would be turn taking.

 Recording and reporting skills – In each group, there will be a recorder and a reporter. Recorder thinks about
making notes and writing. He makes notes about group discussions and is responsible for any written or
visual work that needs to be done. He works with the reporter – who will have to read from his notes. The
reporter thinks about speaking and talks on behalf of the group. He works with the recorder to make sure he
can use their notes/diagrams. The reporter thinks about speaking and talks on behalf of the group. Resource

 Public speaking skills - Public speaking involves talking in front of a group of people, usually with some
preparation. Speeches have different functions. These include being persuasive, informative, entertaining.
Most people, at some point in their life, will need to stand up and speak in front of a group of people.
Teaching students the necessary skills for doing this will therefore help them to do this more successfully. As
a result of the practice, students often report an increase in general confidence as well as a marked sense of
achievement. Many students get incredibly nervous the first time they have to do a speech in front of their
classmates but with practice the nerves subside and they usually begin to enjoy the whole process. Working
on public speaking also helps to develop students’ overall fluency and requires them to consider how they
speak as well as what they say. This is useful for speaking in any situation, public or otherwise.

 Leadership – Each group has a group leader and the latter takes the responsibility of assigning tasks, sharing

On the whole, we can see that that pair and group work improve language teaching and learning -
students are no longer passive recipients of knowledge but they become fully involved in the teaching and
learning process. In this mode, the students participate actively and find learning an enjoyable experience.
For teachers, pair work and group work can be excellent tools. Group work provides more opportunity
for practice, an increased variety of activities is possible, increased student creativity, the Zone of Proximal
Development increases. Teachers can evaluate the impact and effectiveness of pair work on their learners
by using action research tools such as asking the learners how they feel about working like this or by
actually participating in an activity in a pair and evaluating this experience afterwards. At the same time,
they learn a lot of skills that will later prove to be useful in their higher studies, life and career.

5. What are the main sub-skills of listening? Describe three types of ‘listen and respond’ activities.

"Listening" is receiving language through the ears. Listening involves identifying the sounds of speech and
processing them into words and sentences. When we listen, we use our ears to receive individual sounds (letters,
stress, rhythm and pauses) and we use our brain to convert these into messages that mean something to us.
Listening in any language requires focus and attention. It is a skill that some people need to work at harder than
others. Listening in a second language requires even greater focus. We learn this skill by listening to people who
already know how to speak the language. This may or may not include native speakers. For practice, you can
listen to live or recorded voices. The most important thing is to listen to a variety of voices as often as you can.
Listening is the first of the four language skills, which are: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. In our
own language, listening is usually the first language skill that we learn. Listening is a receptive skill –
as opposed to reading and writing which are productive skills. But it is an equally important skill. We
have two different kinds of listening experiences –

(i) Extensive listening: those in which the language-level is well within the listener’s capacity –
and which therefore allow him or her to listen for pleasure or interest without having to make
a great deal of effort, and

(ii) Intensive listening: the other situations in which s/he needs to pay more attention to the
content and language.

To become a fluent speaker in English, a pupil needs to develop strong listening skills. Listening not only helps
the pupil understand what people are saying to them. It also helps him to speak clearly to other people. It helps
him learn how to pronounce words properly, how to use intonation, and where to place stress in words and
sentences. This makes his speech easier for other people listening to him to understand.

The sub-skills of listening imply recognition of connected speech and understanding gist in listening. When
we read or listen to a text, we usually do so with a particular purpose in mind. This purpose will determine the
manner in which we read or listen, the sub-skill we use, on any particular occasion.

Three sub-skills which are commonly practised in coursebooks are:

 listening for gist – when we listen to get a general idea of the content of a text.
Examples of texts we often listen to in this way: articles, emails, radio news.
Example coursebook tasks: tick the topics which are mentioned, match the headings and paragraphs.

 listening for specific information – when we listen to a text in order find specific predetermined items of
Examples of texts we often listen to in this way: timetables, dictionaries, airport announcements.
Example coursebook tasks: find the significance of these numbers in the text, true or false.

 listening in detail – when we listen to a text in order to gather as much detail as we can
about every part.
Examples of texts we often listen to in this way: contracts, poems, witness statements.

Example coursebook tasks: make notes on these topics, find differences between two texts.

Here are three types of ‘listen and respond activities that ca be used with primary school pupils :

(i) Sound identification game:

Level: Lower Primary

Objective: To develop the memory and attentional abilities for thinking about sequences of sounds
and the language for discussing them.

Materials needed: Objects that make interesting, distinctive sounds. Some examples are:

banging on wall/table/lap folding paper

blowing a whistle noisy chewing/pouring liquid
clapping rubbing hands together
clicking with tongue sharpening a pencil
coughing stamping
crumpling paper stirring with teaspoon
cutting with scissors tearing paper
dropping (various things) uter
drumming with fingers writing with a pencil
eating an apple


In this game, the children are challenged first to identify single sounds and then to identify each one of a sequence
of sounds. Both will be very important in the language games to come. The children are to cover their eyes with
their hands while you make a familiar noise such as closing the door, sneezing, or playing a key on the piano. By
listening carefully and without peeking, the children are to try to identify the noise.

Once the children have caught on to the game, make two noises, one after the other. Without peeking, the children
are to guess the two sounds in sequence saying, "There were two sounds. First we heard a ____, and then we
heard a ____."

After the children have become quite good with pairs of noises, produce a series of more than two for them to
identify and report in sequence. Again, complete sentences should be encouraged.


 Invite the children to make sounds for their classmates to guess.

(ii) True or False:

Level: Lower Primary

Objective: Pupils must be able to understand simple sentences in English.

Materials needed: Bristol paper, markers


Each pupil has a card – on one side of the card the word ‘yes’ is written, on the flip side ‘no’ (in the target
language, of course); students hold up the appropriate card in response to the teacher's questions. This
exercise can also be done using hand signals instead: thumbs up or down, or using one’s left or right
hand to indicate yes or no. This activity is mainly for lower Primary pupils. For example, the teacher
can ask questions that prompt quick responses, such as:

Yesterday was Sunday.

Tomorrow will be Tuesday.

The weather is sunny, etc…

(iii) Describing a process:

Level: Upper Primary

Objectives: Listening to a text and taking notes in chronological order

Activity: Describe a process such as a cake recipe and record it onto a cassette, computer
program, etc. Students may be permitted to make some brief notes so that they
remember the important points and the sequence in which they have to proceed
to prepare the cake. Afterwards, teacher gives that a written activity – or a
homework – to carry out. The next day, teacher asks the questions to pupils – at
random. Pupils are allowed to compare their answers.

Note: There are several advantages to this activity. The recordings allow participants to hear
themselves speak in the target language, which can be very helpful for shy learners. Students view this as an
easier form of homework than a written assignment which will motivate the student to complete the task.

An effective teacher is aware that students are not always able to develop oral comprehension skills on their
own. Without additional supports listening, by itself, is not enough to develop better listening skills. There are
several activities a teacher can employ to facilitate the development of listening skills. S/he must allow the
students to hear as much of the target language as possible while using a variety of teaching methods; for
example, sometimes using visual cues, at other times not. The teacher must, as far as possible, Use authentic
materials in the target language to help students become accustomed to different accents and to a realistic pace
of speech.


CTE-03 Blocks 1 to 4 › Articles › Learning English