10 Rules of Listening in Young Learner Classes
5. Different listening tasks should be addressed in class:
6. The students should be given a different task each time they listen to the same text. (i.e.:First, listen to have a general
Speaking is a skill, just like swimming, driving a car, or playing ping-pong. Too often, in the traditional classroom, the
Many language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language. Language learners need to recognize that
Категория: Английский языкАнглийский язык

Teaching young learners listening and speaking skills



Listening is the process of attaching meaning to sounds.
Although speaking is the most important communication
skill, the ability to listen is more necessary in the process
of learning. More importantly, the act of skillful listening
is the basis for developing intelligence.


Listening begins at birth, when someone first speaks to the
newborn child – one of the first communication skills a
baby learns. Although an infant’s attention span is quite
brief, it does respond by gurgling, looking, turning its eyes
and head and learning to recognize voices. That is why
talking often to a baby is important. Intelligence grows
only if someone speaks to a baby, eliciting a response.


We HEAR with our ears, but we LISTEN with our
minds. Everyday we HEAR many noises and sounds
(birds singing, trucks passing, clocks ticking), yet we pay
little attention to them because they are not essential to
any special learning. However, we LISTEN to sounds
and voices when we want to remember specific
information for later use.


to learn,
to enjoy,
to act and react,
to appreciate,
to make decisions,
to develop attitudes and values,
to recognize danger,
to get information
to develop thinking skills.


Listening EFFECTIVELY is difficult, especially for
young children. In school, for example, teachers have a
relatively easy job in comparison to their students. They
give information or directions and their task is largely
finished. On the other hand, students must 1) listen to the
information or directions, 2) remember every detail and 3)
follow through by applying the information to the

7. 10 Rules of Listening in Young Learner Classes

1. Although listening is a receptive skill, the students are not and
should not be passive while listening; in other words, they
should be engaged and/or work in the listening task actively.
2. The students should be engaged with different listening tasks
according to their age, learning style, listening capacity and
phonological awareness.
3. The language teachers should train the students to listen to the
English sounds carefully.
4. The teachers should train the young learners to follow simple
instructions to get them ready to develop other language skills.

8. 5. Different listening tasks should be addressed in class:

Listen & Do
Listen & Draw
Listen & Colour
Listen & Mime
Listen & Predict
Listen & Respond
Listen & Write (needs literacy)
Listen & Identify (may need literacy)
Listen & Match (may need literacy)
Listen & Complete (needs literacy)
Listen & Read (model for pronunciation)

9. 6. The students should be given a different task each time they listen to the same text. (i.e.:First, listen to have a general

idea; second
listen to complete the blanks; third, listen to check your answers)
7. Input through tapes, videos or teacher modelling should be
provided; the audio tools should be in good quality.
8. The teachers should be aware of the importance of familiarity
(with the context, language, task, voice ...etc.), difficulty (what is
expected as the output) and teacher’s language (repeating,
simplifying, and using gestures, intonation and formulaic
expressions that help children to figure out the intended meaning)
9. It is important to embed listening into stories, games, routines,
rhymes, songs. They may not understand every word, but they can
understand the meaning from the context, visuals, and gestures as in
real life.
10. Both bottom-up (requiring linguistic knowledge) and top-down
(requiring world knowledge)listening should be addressed.


Listening - Using a song
•Prepare the learners before they listen to anything.
•Show them pictures of characters from the song.
If it’s a song about teddy bears then bring in some teddy bears to show them. If the teddy
bears sing sections of the song then use them as puppets and make them actually sing the
song. Use actions as much as possible to accompany songs so that the children can
participate. This will help build their confidence, increase their enjoyment and give them
extra clues as to the meaning of the words they are listening to.
They should predict, ‘imagine’, what they are going to hear. Again, sticking with the teddy
bears, ask them if they think the teddy bear is happy or sad.
When they are listening they should always have something to do. They need a reason for
listening. You could allocate part of the song to a small cluster of children so they have to
listen out for their part and sing along to that part only.
Use the same song again and again. Listening is a difficult skill so building their
confidence is vital at all stages of language learning. If they recognize the words they will
be much more motivated. This is valid not only from a language point of view but also
from a logical point of view. Listening to a song you know and like is always an enjoyable
experience. Familiarity helps children feel secure.

11. Speaking is a skill, just like swimming, driving a car, or playing ping-pong. Too often, in the traditional classroom, the

learning of English has been relegated to
linguistic knowledge only, e.g. knowledge of
vocabulary and grammar rules, with little or
no attention paid to practising language skill.

12. Many language learners regard speaking ability as the measure of knowing a language. Language learners need to recognize that

involves three areas of knowledge:
Mechanics (pronunciation, grammar, and
Functions (transaction and interaction)
Social and cultural rules and norms (turntaking, rate of speech, length of pauses between
speakers, relative roles of participants)


Knowing the Basics
Speaking For
Motivating Students to Speak
Strategies That Encourage
Method to Speaking
Technique to Teach Speaking


Teaching Speaking For Young Learners
Teaching speaking for young language learners (YLLs)
is an interesting and challenging duty for teachers for
some considerations. In one hand, YLLs are individuals
of very early age who are interested in many new things
such as a foreign language, English. In this level, young
learners seem to have the same proficiency in speaking
that is novice level. The characteristic of novice level is
the students’ ability to communicate minimally with
learned material and oral production consists of isolated
words and perhaps a few high-frequency phrases
essentially no functional communication ability.


Knowing The Basics
Young learners are like sponges, they soak up
everything we say and how we say it. Thus clear and
correct pronunciation is of vital importance, since
young learners repeat exactly what they hear. What has
been learned at an early stage is difficult to change
later on. One of the rules that apply here is: slowly and
steadily, through constant revision and recycling.


always strive to achieve a positive and relaxed
atmosphere in young learners’ classroom, as this
proved a decisive factor in achieving maximum
results. With the help of mixed activities, such as
dialogues, choral revision, chants, songs, poems and
rhymes students’ speaking abilities grow, their
pronunciation gets better and their awareness of the
language improves
Interaction is an important way of learning.
Therefore, increased oral emphasis should be
included in our teaching to give the students as much
speaking time as possible.


Motivating Students to Speak
To motivate students in EFL contexts, teachers should
include many activities and strategies that attract
students’ attention and make them interested in the
Activities need to be child centered and
communication should be authentic.
the teacher should consider in the activities: a focus
on meaning and value, not correctness; a focus on
collaboration and social development; the provision
of a rich context, and teaching the four skills through
a variety of activities.


Strategies that Encourage Participation
To motivate students in EFL contexts, teachers should
include many activities and strategies that attract
students’ attention and make them interested in the
The teacher can use the model for teaching young
learners by using IPA (Imitating-Practicing controlAutonomy) as the other strategy. Children love imitating.


Method To Teach
Learning the


Learning the Dialogues
Learning dialogues by heart is a definite no-no. It is much better and far
more useful to substitute the words so that they are true to students and
their world.
Student uses his/her own variation, there is an obvious transition from
pure imitation to conscious changing, which speeds up remembering and
offers varied communicative opportunities.
By imitating, sharing and discussing students benefit – modeling,
understanding and picking it up seem to be natural..


10 Rules of Speaking in Young Learner Classes
Although it is a productive skill, the children may not feel ready to produce
oral language, so teachers and parents should be patient.
Short practice activities can help students build productive language to use
indiscourse.Speaking starts with practicing drills, set phrases (junks and
formulaic expressions),repeating models, so it is important to use such
activities to make them familiar with repetitive language. However, the
language should be used meaningfully in the classroom, not just in isolated
Children need experience of a range of discourse types to increase their
skills, so the tasks designed for in-class use should be varied.
The teachers should take into account the developmental stages in L1, those
in L2, and students’ age to design the speaking activities.
Correcting each and every mistake is discouraging and they need help to
acquire fluency. Before the speaking, we may teach them the necessary
language and the vocabulary items to prepare them for the tasks.


1. Designing authentic activities, such as role-plays and dialogues
based on real lifeconversations, motivates the students, so they
willingly take the role of an imaginary person.However, the
meaning and purpose of discourse needs to be made
comprehensible to the learners.
2. The teachers should be aware of the problems young learners
may have while articulating phonemes. It is important not to
ignore the pronunciation, intonation and stress: Using tongue
twisters, mirrors, imitating native speakers in movies can be
some of the useful activities.
3. Speaking is not an individual skill; they need to be encouraged
to practice in pairs and in groups.
4. A good speaking activity should involve all students not some of
5. When the class is noisy in a speaking activity, trying to shout
over children is not a good idea: Using the lights, symbols or
music may help.


Speaking - Songs and chants
Using songs and chants in class gives the children a chance to
listen and reproduce the language they hear. They are working
on the sounds, rhythm and intonation.
Remember when you speak or sing keep it simple but very
importantly, natural so that when they copy what you say they
can have a chance of sounding natural.


Speaking - Whole class chorus drills
If you have a large class make sure the language they produce is not
just confined to stilted whole class repetitions of sentences produced
by you. If the class tries to speak at the same time they automatically
slow down and the intonation and rhythm are lost. Whole class
repetition does of course have its advantages as it allows weaker
students to build confidence with speaking without being in the
limelight. Do chorus drills as described above but limit them and
always move on to letting individuals speak.


Speaking - Real language
As with listening, make sure they always have a valid reason
for speaking. The more realistic the need for communication,
the more effective an activity will be. In other words get them
to ask their neighbour ‘Do you prefer chocolate or strawberry
ice-cream?’ rather than saying; ‘What’s my favourite food?'
This last question is just asking the children to guess rather than
think. Avoid getting them to repeat sentences such as; ‘What is
my name?’ or ‘Is this a book?’ Not only do you know it’s a
book, so the interaction isn’t very interesting, unless the book is
hidden in a bag and they are having to work out the contents,
but also the response is limited to a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Closed
questions are ok to lead onto something more with low level
learners but be aware of not using them too often.


Speaking - Further suggestions
Vary the types of speaking and listening activities you do. Keep
them interested by introducing new approaches to speaking in
class. This could mean talking to different people, talking to
different numbers of people, speaking as a whole class, half a
class or in small groups.
For different levels in the same class you can ask them to listen
for different things. Ask the weaker ones to tell you how many
teddy bears there are in the song and the stronger ones to tell you
what the teddy bears are doing in the song.
To make one activity suit all levels ask them to practice saying
between five and ten sentences. This way the quick finishers have
more to do and the weaker pupils still feel they have achieved the
task if they have practised only a few sentences.


•http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/music/pdfs/3teddybear.pdf - teddy bear song
•http://www.songs4teachers.com/ - lots of free downloadable song lyrics
•http://www.songs4teachers.com/kindergartensongs.pdf - a welcome song for the
start of class.


http://www.primaryresources.co.uk/music/pdfs/3teddybear.pdf - teddy bear song
http://www.songs4teachers.com/ - lots of free downloadable song lyrics
http://www.songs4teachers.com/kindergartensongs.pdf - a welcome song for the start of class.
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