The active mental process of listening


Understanding listening

Factors that affect listening

Principles and models for teaching listening

Common activities in teaching listening

2020/4/16 1

Understanding listening

What do people listen to ?

Diversified texts

Why do people listen?

To extract meaning

To maintain social relations

To be entertained

How do people listen?

The active mental process of listening

Psychological models of listening

Characteristics of the listening process

The active mental process of listening e.g. 1 a.

John was in the bus on his way to school.

b. He was worried about controlling the math class.

c. The teacher should not have asked him to do it.

d. It was not a proper part of the janitor’s job. e.g. 2 a. The king died.

b. The queen died of grief.

2020/4/16 3

Therefore, we can conclude that listening is an active mental process involving stages as the following: sampling 选验 predicting 预见 testing 验证 conforming or revising


2020/4/16 4

Bottom-up model and top-down model

Bottom-up model

 listeners construct meaning of what they hear based on the sound they hear. If there are unfamiliar sounds, listeners will find it very hard to keep up with the speaker.

Top-down model

Listeners construct meaning using contextual clues and background knowledge. Listeners understand better if they know something about the speaker, the setting, the topic and the purpose of the talk.

Interactive model

Interactive model – an integration of the above two models.

2020/4/16 5

Characteristics of the listening process

Spontaneity ---- people listen to spontaneous speech without rehearsing

Context ---- share same background knowledge

Visual clues ---- help the understanding

Listener’s response ---- for most listening ( esp. face to face communication)

Speaker’s adjustment

2020/4/16 6

Principles for teaching listening

Some general principles for teaching listening

Focus on process

Combine listening with other skills

Focus on the comprehension of meaning

Grade difficulty level appropriately

Principles for selecting and using listening activities (p.141)

Common activities in teaching listening

Pre-listening tasks should be used to stimulate the appropriate background knowledge, provide learners with a purpose of the listening activity and prepare them with the language needed for understanding the message (e.g. discussing the topic, brainstorming, presenting vocabulary, sharing of related information).

While-listening tasks must focus on obtaining information, checking comprehension, organizing information, further study of the language in meaningful context.

Post-listening tasks must provide opportunities for students to integrate what they learned from the text into their existing knowledge and communicate with others using the information obtained from the listening text.

Pre-listening activities 1

Pre-listening activities 2

Pre-listening activities 3

Pre-listening activities 4

While-listening activities 1

While-listening activities 2

While-listening activities 3

Post-listening activities 1

Post-listening activities 2

Post-listening activities 3

Answering questions



Role plays