Listening and discussing (PDF, 24 KB)
The purpose of the activity
The activity draws on the learning from several other activities in this resource. The purpose of the activity is to develop learners’ overall ability to listen for meaning and to demonstrate understanding through discussion. This also involves critical and interactive skills.
The teaching points
- Prepare for listening by activating prior knowledge (including knowledge of text features).
- Listen actively by using strategies such as making connections, visualising, inferring meaning, asking questions.
- Learners will develop a critical awareness and apply it to what they have heard.
- Learners will use interactive skills to engage in discussion about a heard text.
The guided teaching and learning sequence
1. Review with learners everything they have learned about ways of listening for meaning. Explain that the purpose of this activity is to put everything they know about listening and discussing what they have heard together to enable them to get more out of lectures, discussions and conversations in many different contexts.
2. Play a few seconds of each of the audio resources, asking the learners to identify the kind of talking in each one. What are the features of each kind? How did you identify them? What would you expect to hear if you kept listening to each one? Discuss the way we ‘tune in’ to talk. We recognise different kinds of talk and this helps us know what to expect as we listen.
3. Select one of the audio resources to play right through, asking the learners to listen for the gist (the main idea or message).
4. Discuss the learners’ ways of doing this: did you make connections between what you were hearing and what you already knew about this topic or type of talking? Did you form images in your head as you were listening? Were you asking questions in your head to help you understand it? How much did you have to fill in yourself, making inferences about what they were saying? What is your opinion of the speakers’ opinions and points of view?
5. If this exercise has not generated a good discussion about listening strategies, repeat it using another track. Choose a recording that may be outside of the learners’ common experiences.
6. Review the discussion that the learners have just had. What are some of the ways we behave in a discussion? How do you know when it’s your turn to speak? Does every speaker get a turn or does the conversation move on? Why is this? How can you get to have a turn? What ways do we have for showing we agree or disagree with each other? What happens if one person takes over the discussion?
Ask the learners to continue to think about the strategies they use when they’re listening and the behaviours they use in discussions. Give them time to review these from time to time.
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