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Numer: 2894
Dział: Języki obce

The most suitable listening materials for the students of the Primary School

There is no need to conduct an entire lesson based on listening. Active listening can be included in any types of lesson. The warm up phase offers a ready slot and is especially suitable, as the listening serves to attune the students to the language. Even though some activities require the class to speak or write, this production is limited and focus is always on listening.
There are several listening and do activities for the students of the Primary School
(Cross, 1991):

1. Listen and do activities.
The most obvious listen and do activity which we can and should make use of from the moment we start the English lessons is giving genuine instructions (Scott and Ytreberg,1990:22).
For example, ‘Simon says’ – this is perhaps the best-known listening game of all. The class is given a series of instructions, but they obey only if the command is prefaced by Simon says......
-stand up (no response)
-Simon says, stand up (they stand)
-Simon says, clap twice (they clap)
-Clap three times (silence)
-Sit down (they remain standing)
-Simon says, touch your neighbour’s shoulder (they do so)
-Pick up your pen (no response) (Cross,1991:244)
When we want to practise verbs in general we can ask our students to mime.
- eat an orange
- drink a very cold fizzy drink
- go to the shop and ask for some chewing gum
- watch a horror film
As Sarah Phillips (1993:18) says, we can also practise:
a. prepositions.
-put your pencil on the floor
-put your book under the chair
b. abilities
-If you can swim, clap once
-If you can play the recorder, stand up
c. physical descriptions
-hold hands with someone with brown eyes
-touch someone who is wearing a red jumper
d. comparatives
-If Y is taller than Z, put up your left hand.
-If my chair is bigger than yours, clap your hands twice.
e. likes and dislikes
-If you like bananas pretend you are eating one.
-If you don’t like eggs, make a face
f. general knowledge (there can reflect topics the children are working on)
-If London is the capital of England, put up your hand.
-If ice is made from water nod your head.
-If a spider has eight legs, clap eight times

2. Listen and draw activities.
Listen and draw is a favourite type of listening activity in almost all classes, but we should remember that drawing takes time, so we have to keep the pictures simple. In
‘listen and draw’ activities the teacher, or one of the pupils, tells the other pupils what to draw. We can make up a picture or describe a picture we have in front of us. This activity is particularly useful for checking object vocabulary, prepositions, colours and numbers (Scott and Ytreberg,1990:23).
There are some examples:
Clock faces
The students draw small circles on a scrap of paper. As we call the times, they draw the hands in the correct position. Another way of playing with the clock faces is to draw on dial on the blackboard. Hands are added to show a time. You then use the true – false technique, sometimes giving one or two wrong times before the correct one. The hands are erased after each game, to be drawn in again in the new position (Cross,1991:245).

3. Listen for information.
Listening for information covers a very wide range of activities. These activities are often used to check what the pupils know, but they can also be used to give new information.
There are examples of this particular type of listening (Scott and Ytreberg,1990:24):
Identifying exercises
Our pupils have to identify three or four people drawn on some pictures, through listening to real descriptions.
Listen for the mistake.
We can use the picture in our book but make mistakes in the text we read, so that pupils have to listen for the mistakes. The same can be done using the correct text and the wrong picture, but this takes a bit more time to prepare.
Putting things in order.
Pupils have a number of pictures which illustrate a text in front of them. The pictures are not in the right order. Pupils listen to the text and put the pictures in the order they think is right.

This type of exercise involves a little bit of writing or the filling in of, for example, numbers.
Listen and colour.
Because children of the Primary School love colouring pictures, we can make this activity into a listening one. We can use any picture which the pupils have in their workbook. Instead of just letting them colour it by themselves, we make it into a language activity. For example, children have to colour the picture of the people travelling by bus. The description contains the colours of their clothes.

4. Listen and repeat activities.
These activities are great fun and give the pupils the chance to get a feel for the language – the sounds, the stress and rhythm and the intonation when done in combination with movements or with objects or pictures. This type of activity also helps to establish the link between words and meaning (Scott and Ytreberg,1990:27).
Ear – training with spoken practice is essential to building up students’ pronunciation. The problem is how to do it briefly yet effectively. Small but vital differences between troublesome sounds can be spotted by letting the pupils listen and say if they hear number 1 or 2. (Haycraft,1995:76) For example:
1.Miss Parker
2.Miss Baker
1.Do you like coke?
2.Would you like coke?
1.There are two.
2.They are two.
According to John Haycraft (1995:76), intonation can also assist the students’ comprehension. By listening to the attitude expressed, like excitement, routine or impatience, they experience the language more fully. A most rewarding exercise is to have the students predict the likely attitude and the stresses in a dialogue about to be played.
All children love rhymes and like to repeat them again and again. We can use either traditional rhymes or modern rhymes. They are repetitive, they have natural rhythm and they have an element of fun, of playing with the language. Children play with language in their mother tongue, so this is a familiar part of their world and it has an important part to play in their learning process. There are some examples:
1.Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the trees,
Rain on the house.
But not on me.
Rain, rain goes away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play.

2.I love coffee.
I love tea.
I hate the dentist,
and the dentist hates me (Scott and Ytreberg,1990:27).

5. Listening to stories.
Listening to stories should be part of growing up for every child. Stories have a vital role to play in the child’s development of language. We have to make sure the children get the maximum benefit out of listening to stories in English by the creation of a friendly and secure atmosphere, claim Scott and Ytreberg (1990:28). We should establish a story – telling routine which creates an atmosphere which rearranges the seating so that we have eye contact if we can. It is important that children are comfortable. They do not have to sit up straight when they are listening to a story. If they are relaxed and comfortable, then they are more open to what they are about to hear, and they will benefit far more from the story – telling. Listening to stories allows children to form their own inner pictures. They have no problems with animals and objects which talk – they can identify with them, and the stories can help them to come to terms with their own feelings.
There is the difference between reading the stories and telling them. If we tell the story, we do not have a book in front of us. Telling stories to children means that we can adopt the language to their level, we can go back and repeat and we can keep the eye contact most of the time. Traditional fairy tales have a clear structure with a special type of beginning, middle and end. They start off with a setting – when and where. It is told in episodes which have consequences. There are goodies and baddies, and the goodies win. If we are going to tell the children traditional stories, it is essential to go through the story first and write it down in sequence. It is easier for us to remember the story.
Children can also make their own stories. Making up the stories helps them to put their thoughts into words, and gives them a starting point for their own writing.
Another way to develop the listening comprehension is to listen to the reading stories. We can read the story aloud from the book. Children like to have their stories repeated, and they will very often be able to tell us the story word for word. Children love to be read to, so we should spend as much time as possible reading them.

6.Using dictations.
Teaching English should also include the best of ‘old fashioned’ techniques as dictations. Dictations are valuable, like written substitution tables, as a bridge between spoken and written English, helping students to consolidate written structures and vocabulary, which can already be pronounced correctly, and are also a useful test of listening comprehension, as John Haycraft (1995:79) suggests. The simplest form consists of short sentences containing elements which a teacher wants to revise. If the aim is the consolidation, it is inadvisable to introduce new words. The most suitable materials to be dictated are telegrams, notes, telephone numbers, messages and instructions as well (Heaton, 1990:39). Dictation can be also used to revise speech forms with students recognising sound-linking words, word stress and weak forms. It is also a simple way of teaching punctuation. If we want to give a long dictation, we should choose a text which is available to everyone afterwards for correction. Children can correct each other’s dictation if they are simple enough for them. We should read the dictation as many times as necessary. At the beginning we can read it faster then sentence by sentence as the students write. Dictations can be used for practising different skills:
- we can concentrate on structures we have just taught
- we can leave blanks to fill
- we can dictate punctuation, or leave it out and get the class to devise it
- we can get one of the students to read the dictation, thus making the whole class aware of the importance of clear dictation
- we can merge the dictation with discussion of the text, reading practice, reproduction from memory, the first stage of a composition, practice in dialogue writing, or the introduction of a passage for precise
It is suggested to get students to draw what we dictate. Then they can look at the pictures and describe them, or answer the questions. For elementary students this particular example can be used:
‘There is an island in the middle of a lake. In the middle of the island there’s a house with big door and four windows on the ground floor, and six windows on the first floor. There are a lot of big trees to the left of the house. On the lake, to the right of the island, there is a boat with two men in it. One of them is fishing. To the left of the lake there is a hill with a church on the top. It’s midday and the sun is in the sky’ (Haycraft,1995:90; Davis and Rinvolucri,1988:4-8).

7. Ways of improving listening comprehension.
There are more suitable examples of activities which improve listening comprehension suggested by Goodith White (1998:15-112) and Andrew Wright, David Betteridge, Michael Buckby (1983):

The aim of this exercise is to show that listening is closely connected with speaking, and that what speakers say and the way they say it can make listening easy or difficult. We need a tape recorder and if possible a microphone. We explain to the students that instead of writing a letter to a penfriend, they are going to send an audio or video tape to introduce themselves. It is a good idea to make this a genuine activity if we can, and arrange to exchange the tape with another class of roughly the same level in another country, another school in the same town, or another class within the same institution. We tell the students that they are going to take it in turns to record themselves for one to two minutes. They are going to introduce themselves, say a little bit about their age, family, job, hobbies, and the town they live in. The students should also say who they would like as a tapefriend – boy or girl, age, interests, and so on. The students will probably notice that the best and most interesting speakers are those who make the listener’s job easier. This activity, for instance, often identifies people who are not using a very wide intonation range and who could sound rather monotonous and boring. It also identifies people who are speaking too slowly or too fast.

Sounds of silence
The aim of this exercise is to focus on listening, and to improve concentration. With lower – level classes, before we do this activity, we might want to brainstorm some of the noises they think they might hear, since the students often find this area of vocabulary quite difficult. We ask the students to close their eyes and concentrate totally for 30 seconds on listening to see how many sounds they can hear: footsteps in the corridor, a ticking clock, someone’s stomach rumbling, and so on. We ask the students which sounds they hear. We also ask students to listen again with their eyes closed. This time we are going to perform an action, and they have to guess what we are doing from the sound they hear. Some suggestions of the actions are:
- writing on the board
- crumpling some paper and throwing it in the bin
- opening the window
- eating a sweet and crumpling the wrapper
- jumping on the spot
- drinking some water from a glass
- pushing a chair under a desk
- drumming your fingers on the desk
This exercise is a good warmer to start a listening skills lesson.

Design your own listening course
The aim of this exercise is to focus on different types of listening, listening problems, and the students’ listening needs, to give the students some say in the kind of listening they practise in class. We explain the children that with our help they are going to design a short listening course which will be tailor – made to suit their needs. We ask the pupils to keep a ‘listening diary’ over a period of a week. In this they should try to record at least seven occasions when they have listened to something in English. For each listening event they should make notes on the questions below:
a. What kind of listening was it?
b. How many people were speaking?
c. Why were you listening?
d. Were you successful at listening?
-If you were not successful, what were the problems? How did you try to solve the problems?
After a week, we ask students to compare their listening diaries. Each student should then note down two types of listening that he or she would like to practise more. We ask the students for feedback, and write up the types of listening mentioned on the board. With the students we decide which the most frequently mentioned types of listening seem to be, which are going to be the most useful for learning English.
The aim of this activity is to listen to familiar voices (members of staff in the school) and to listen for detail. Before lesson we ask another member of staff in the school who can speak English if he or she could come in for a few minutes during one of our lessons. He or she is going to burst into the classroom and tell the class about something dramatic that has just happened to them. They can include a few unbelievable elements to make it more dramatic. At the beginning of a lesson we warn the class that someone may come in and that they should listen very carefully and try to remember as much as they can of what the person tells them. At the time we have pre – arranged, the member of staff bursts dramatically into the classroom, tells their story, and leaves just as dramatically. In pairs, the students compare what they understood and remember from what the person told them. We ask the whole class to pool all the information they can remember. Do they believe everything they heard? Is there anything which seems impossible?

Holiday stress
The aim is to identify stressed syllables in words. First we remind our students about the different positions in a word where the main stress can come by writing a few words on the board, for example: India, Japan, Australia, Britain and Spain. We get the students to help us to mark the stress patterns for each of the words, by putting a large dot for the major stressed syllable and small dots for the unstressed syllables. We ask the students to decide individually which country they would like to visit most in the whole world. Then we get the children to mingle, telling each other where they would like to go, for example ‘ I’d like to go to Spain’. Their task is to form a group with the people who want to go to countries with the same stress pattern as theirs. They will have to keep repeating the name of their country and thinking about where the main stress comes until they have collected all the others who belong in their group.

Word bingo
The aim of this exercise is to listen for particular words in a stream of speech, to reuse familiar listening material with a task which the students have designed. We tell or remind the students about the topic of the tape they are going to hear. Then we ask the students to draw a ‘bingo card’ with nine squares and to write nine words on it they think they will hear. We tell them that ‘a’, ‘the‘, and forms of the verbs ‘be’, ‘have’, and ‘do’ are not allowed, but anything else is. We play the tape. The students cross off words on their cards as they hear them. The first student to cross off all his or her words is the winner.

Radio advertisements
The aim is to listen for particular information.
Before lesson we record four or five advertisements from English – speaking commercial radio stations. We play the advertisements and ask the pupils to identify the products or services which are being advertised. We write them on the board. Then we give the students a jumbled list of words used on the tape to describe the products. We ask them to listen again and identify which words go with which product. We can also divide the students into pairs and ask them to choose a product and think of four words or phrases which could be used to describe it. They can use some of the words from the tape, or words that they already know. They could also use a dictionary, and learn some new words.

Mobile telephone
The aim of this activity is to predict the other side of a telephone conversation. Before lesson we arrange for someone to ring us at a pre – arranged time during the class, and plan what we are going to say, or plan an imaginary conversation we are going to have with someone over the telephone. We start the class as normal. The telephone will ring suddenly. We look very surprised, and ask the class if they would mind if we answered it. We have a brief conversation adjusting our language to the level of the class. Then we finish the telephone call, and ask the class to discuss in pairs:
- who was calling you?
- what the topic was
- where the person was calling from
For intermediate – level and above, we could also add:
-what the mood was
-what will be the next thing to happen as a result of the conversation?

Voices and objects
The aim is to practise listening and speaking as well.
We have to blindfold a learner and ask another learner to come forward and stand quietly next to the first and say something to him, for example, an English proverb, or quotation from a song or rhyme, or textbook being studied by the class.
Learner 2: Who am I?
Learner 1: Michael?
Learner 2: No, listen.
To be or not to be, that is the question........
Learner1: David.
Learner2: Yes.
Learner3: What’s this? (drops object on to desk)
Learner1: A key.
Learner3: No, it isn’t. (drops object again)
Learner1: A coin.
Learner3: Yes.

Listening to sounds
The aim is to improve listening and speaking skills.
We ask everyone to close their eyes, perhaps even to rest their heads on their arms. Then, we ask the learners to listen carefully to every sound they can hear and try to identify the sounds. They will be listening for all the ‘natural’ noises of the classroom, the building, and the outside. We might ask everyone to listen for two or three minutes and then to write down what they heard, or we could ask some learners to describe the noises as they hear them, e.g.
Learner1: I can hear some girls.
I can hear some girls playing. They are laughing and calling to each other. I think they are playing with a ball.
Learner2: I think I can hear a plane. It’s probably coming into the airport.

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