Ten Incredible Talks/Webinars That Will Change The Way You Teach Listening by Hall Houston
Throughout 2016, I have been busy completing tasks for the challenging (and rewarding) TESOL Advanced Practitioner certificate program. I chose listening as my focus for the program, so I have occupied my time with articles, books, and webinars on the topic of teaching listening. One pleasant discovery that I made during this period of time is a number of webinars and talks about ELT listening that are available for free online.
I have collected here 10 of the best webinars and talks on the subject. I was careful to choose only webinars that were relevant to the average teacher, that presented practical information, and that did not contain any major technical problems. These are the best of the best!
Practical Activities for Balanced Listening Instruction by Beth Sheppard
This webinar begins with a well-articulated introduction to some major concepts of teaching listening, such as bottom-up listening, top-down listening, the product approach and the process approach. From there, Sheppard makes a strong case for a greater balance of activities in four areas: Language Focused activities, Meaning Focused activities, Strategy Building activities and Fluency Building activities. She describes some excellent activities in all four areas. She finishes the talk by demonstrating how we can find more time to add listening activities to our weekly lessons.
Five Frameworks for Developing Listening Skills by Michael Rost
Pearson ELT Webinar (http://longmanhomeusa.com/eltwebinars)
In this excellent webinar, Michael Rost, author of many fantastic books about teaching listening, presents his five frames of teaching listening, namely, the affective frame (getting engaged with listening), the top down frame (seeing the big picture), the bottom up frame (listening for details), the interactive frame, and the autonomous frame. For each frame, Rost describes several key research directions, along with examples of activities that fit with the frame. For example, in the affective frame, in one activity students watch a video, which demonstrates how to do something (a tutorial). In another activity, students spot the errors in a worksheet with lyrics as they listen to a song. Rost also answers questions from the webinar audience at various points in the webinar.
Livening Up Listening by Nick Bilbrough
In this highly entertaining talk, given in Palestine, Nick speaks quite persuasively about the power of teacher talk. Live listening is teaching listening without video clips or audio recordings, only using the teacher’s voice. Nick addresses some of the advantages of doing live listening instead of pre-recorded material. One advantage he mentions is that it is light on materials and preparation. Throughout this talk, Bilbrough demonstrates several live listening activities, using stories, movement and images, and the audience members participate enthusiastically. The activities are very creative, and easy to implement in any classroom without much preparation. One thing I really liked about this talk is that it was filmed in an auditorium, so it is far more appealing to watch than some other webinars which feature a PowerPoint screen, a screen with the webinar host, and a screen with the webinar viewers’ comments. (You can find another version of this talk on the Cambridge English Teacher website.)
Reading and Listening Musts by Chris Ożóg
This intriguing webinar discusses some ways of teaching listening and reading that are considered common practice (or “musts”). Chrisex plains each “must”, then asks the webinar viewer to think critically about it. For example, in Must 1 “Always Do Gist”, he mentions the traditional focus on getting students to find the main idea of a listening or reading text at the beginning of a lesson. Chris points out that in some cases it is unnecessary to do a gist activity, especially when the gist is quite obvious by looking at the title of the text. Interested in learning more? Watch Chris Ożóg’s engaging webinar for several more “musts”.
What Happened to Listening? Practical Tips for Increasing Listening Time by Kevin McCaughey
In this fun and upbeat webinar, Kevin McCaughey demonstrates how many teachers do not provide enough listening practice in class, by spending too much time on other activities. He addresses the common structure of a listening activity, and provides a myriad of ways for teachers to give students more time to listen in class. He presents 5 tips for increasing listening time: students do during, see it, play it again, keep it short, and mix it up. Throughout the webinar, he encourages the webinar audience to participate in his activities, which makes for a highly engaging webinar experience.
Putting Speaking and Listening Together by Michael McCarthy
Speaking and listening, two skills that are often used together are the dual topics of this webinar. McCarthy emphasizes the interdependence of speaking and listening in conversation, and suggests that language learners need more training in how to support a speaker in conversation, by showing that they are listening and paying attention. He gives useful tips on how to help students do this. He presents real examples from corpus of how learners engage in conversation, through vocal sounds (uh-huh), minimal tokens (yeah) and non-minimal tokens (absolutely). He suggests that there should be a fifth skill in language teaching – interaction, or being able to interact successfully in a conversation.
Listening: Issues and Debates by Mark Bartram
Oxford University Press – Webinar Resources Archive (must register to watch)
This webinar addresses a number of issues and debates related to the teaching of listening. The main point of his webinar is to suggest ways that we can help our students improve their listening skills. The webinar is arranged around four questions: 1. Why am I asking my students to listen? (Identifying students’ reasons for doing a particular listening activity)
- What do my students struggle with? (Discussing about the problems students have with listening)
- Which kinds of English are my students going to listen to? (The model of English that students listen to in class)
- How much help should I give my students? (The proper amount of support to give students in a listening activity).
Bartram advocates a transferable skills approach to teaching listening, where students develop listening skills that they can apply to any listening text. He describes the problems students have with fast, natural speech, and the need for more bottom-down activities, such as micro-dictations, that can aid them in decoding rapid speech.
Engaging ears, eyes, brains and minds: Authentic listening at every level by Lewis Lansford – British Council
TED Talks are an incredibly popular series of talks on many diverse topics. Lansford shows us how to use TED talks to help our students develop their listening skills. He divides the processing of a video into four parts: eye (visual), ear (audio), brain (storing in memory) and mind (thinking critically). He presents a series of clips from some highly engaging TED talks, and shows the webinar audience how to use these to teach English and improve listening skills. Along the way, he provides some great advice on exploiting all aspects of the TED talks, including subtitles, transcripts, and visual information.
Understanding listening assessment: what every teacher should know by
Ardeshir Geranpayeh and Mark Elliott – Cambridge English
Teachers who are interested in the assessment of listening skills will want to watch this webinar. Geranpayeh and Elliott explain the process of listening, as well as the cognitive and contextual factors involved. They also talk about the specific challenges faced by L2 learners in listening. Next, they address the various features of a listening test item that can make it more or less challenging. Finally, the hosts finish up with questions from webinar viewers, on such topics as parsing and accents.
Using authentic practice tests in IELTS classrooms – Listening by Allen Davenport
Cambridge University Press Webinars (https://youtu.be/m2tEfJV9QyM)
This webinar is about helping students develop the listening skills they need for the IELTS exam, using authentic practice tasks. He feels that test prep teachers should not be trying to promote quick tricks and tips to get high scores, but to help students get a score which accurately reflects their level. He thinks that teachers should teach the skill of listening, not just giving lots of practice testing. He presents his own version of the classic pre-listening, while-listening, post-listening structure for a listening lesson that is better suited to test prep courses. He also shares his favourite techniques for teaching IELTS.