Listening skills are very important when it comes to learning a new language. We spend lots of time listening on a daily basis, whether in the form of communication or even taking in information from the TV or radio. Because sounds play such an important role in the linguistic world, sharpening the ESL students’ listening skills will help them understand and communicate better. This is why ESL teachers need to view listening skills as another exercise that students need to practice like they do for grammar, writing, reading and speaking.
Note: it can be quite overwhelming for second language students when they cannot backtrack or foresee what is being said. The listener will have to pay attention to the choice of vocabulary, rate of speech, tone, and other speech patterns. Consequently, students will need listening strategies to help them attune themselves to the English sound patterns.
Listen and Read Along.
While students recognize many words individually, it may be a challenge when the words are put into a set of related sentences. They will need time to recognize the words and process the meaning of the sentence, which is why most students become overwhelmed when communicating with native English speakers.
Therefore, to give ESL students the full experience of how words are used in real life, the first tip would be is to have them listen and read along with you. As the teacher, you would talk as if it was a normal conversation and have the students listen and read what you just said. This is also when audio books come in handy because students can follow an accompanying text while listening. They can do this at home or on-the-go. This way they can familiarize themselves with the sounds of English and process meanings faster. Since this is for ESL students, nursery rhymes or children’s books are recommended because they have repetitive text and will be more fun and relaxing to read
Comprehension Test ESL Listening Exercise
Just like with reading, it is important to test your students on their listening comprehension. In this case, you would let your students listen to a story and then ask them questions related to it to see how well they understood it. You can also make this a true/false exercise. It is important to keep it simple because you want your students to recognize the vocabulary and successfully interpret the context. This exercise will certainly help the students sharpen their listening skills because it causes them to look back and think about what was said.
ESL Listening Self-Study
Students should be encouraged to practice their listening skills on their own. If they really want to improve, they need to do the work themselves. They can find many short listening exercises online, or even watch the news every morning. They can also watch short videos on YouTube to help them practice. The more exercises they do, the easier it will get in the long-run.
Final Word About Listening Proficiency Exercises
All these are important to become efficient listeners. ESL students will benefit because they will spend most of their class time listening as opposed to reading or writing. Overall, this will allow them to communicate better, which is why practice is important.