HOW DOES LISTENING COMPREHENSION INFLUENCE IN SPEAKING SKILLS IN INTERMEDIATE I AT THE FOREIGN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF EL SALVADOR?
Traditionally in the field of foreign language teaching, both teachers and learners do not pay much attention to the complexity of this process. The process is itself directed to its basic form of “learning by doing” and “practice makes perfect”. Listening and Speaking are used far more than any other single language skills in normal daily life. On average, we can expect to listen twice as much as we speak, four times more than we read, and five times more than we write (Rivers, 1981; Weaver, 1972). The importance of listening and speaking cannot be underestimated; it is imperative that they not be treated lightly in second and foreign language curricula. However, listening and speaking are well recognized as critical dimensions in language learning, they remain the least understood processes. As a focus of instruction, listening continues to be underrated in many programs, and some of the recommended methods and techniques, as well as some of the published materials, continue to be based on outdated models of language learning and teaching.
Students exposed to comprehensible input have better listening comprehension
Since listening comprehension is the ability to understand quickly what an individual hears. Listening was originally seen as passive process, in which our ears receive information to digest the message. Now we recognize listening as an active process in which the learner has to comprehend what heard, so that listeners are as active when listening as speakers are when speaking. “The principal objective of the listening comprehension is to make learners able to understand, and respond appropriately to the language when they are exposed” Teacher’s handbook: contextualized language instruction (Judith L. Shrum, 2000:13, 14, 15) the author infers in the fact that the goal for listening comprehension is the learner to understand the language forms.
‘Humans acquire language in only one way - by understanding messages or by receiving “comprehensible input”’. The theory of Stephen Krashen supports greatly our research questions. The theory described that learners have to be exposed to language form they can understand and/or they are familiar to; otherwise, if learners do not comprehend what hear it will not help to improve their ability to decode the message. The theory infers on the fact that language has to be adapted to the level of the learners to give them a opportunity to respond and start interacting with the language. That is, input has to be neither difficult to understand nor too easy. Krashen explained that a learner has to be exposed to the immediate next level. Krashen stated “comprehensible input relies on the actual language forms being incomprehensible, not the total message”. This is called “incomprehensible input” which refers to the fact that a learner tries to guess the meaning of a whole phrase by relating al words in a sentence. Krashen claims that language acquisition occurs through understanding messages or, in other words, by receiving comprehensible input. In other words, according to Krashen’s view skills as listening or reading play the major role in the learning process, and, in contrast, the development of productive skills depends on the amount and type or input received. Listening is an important activity. Second language learners acquire a new language by hearing it in context where the meaning of sentences is made by guessing. Speaking is the result of the acquisition process through listening improvement. There are two specific approaches for listening acquisition. The first is called “intensive listening” considered as the material used in classrooms for the learners to hear some language forms, this is more practical for practicing a...
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