A branch of study. Methods (Методика) as a branch of study is the science of ways or manners (methods) of teaching. Methods of foreign language teaching is the science of methods teaching foreign languages


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  1. Теоретические основы обучения иностранным языкам в средней школе. Под ред. А.Д.Климентенко и др. М., 1981.

  2. G.V. Rogova. «Method of Teaching English». Moscow - 1983.

  3. Старков А.П. «Обучение английскому языку в средней школе». Москва - 1978.

  4. Пассов Е.И. Основы методики обучения иностранным языкам. М., 1977.

Lecture 12

Theme: Teaching Listening Comprehension

Problems for Discussion

1.The importance of Listening Comprehension

2.The Difficulties in Auding Foreign Language

3.The Content of the Material for Listening Comprehension

4.The ways (techniques) of teaching Listening Comprehension

1.The importance of Listening Comprehension.

“The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is so that we may listen more and talk less”. Without actually having been taught to listen a pupil (student) may be able to express himself orally, but he will never be able to communicate with speakers of English if he is unable to understand what is said to him. Until now we spoke of teaching various aspects of the language, namely, phonetics (pronunciation), vocabulary and grammar. The knowledge of each of the aspects is of great importance to learners. However, when we say a person knows the language we first of all mean he understands the language spoken and can speak it himself. Language came into life as a means of communication. It exists and is alive only through speech. When we speak about teaching a foreign language, we first of all have in mind teaching it as a means of communication.

Speech is a bilateral process. It includes hearing, on the one hand and speaking, on the other. When we say “hearing” we mean auding or listening and comprehension. That’s why it is important to teach to all language skills. Through language skills the information is given (speaking and writing) and information is perceived (listening and reading) speech is divided into 2 forms: oral speech (language) and written language (speech). Teaching spoken (oral) language comprises listening comprehension and speaking. They are closely interrelated with each other. Teaching written language (speech) consist of teaching reading and writing.

Language skills

Виды речевой деятельности

Oral speech

Written speech

Listening Comprehension






monologu e


reading techniqu es

reading understa nding

writing technique s

written expres

sion of

Often pupils find the listening skill the most difficult, yet in a lot of cases it isn’t actually taught- because it is a passive skill, many teachers seem to assume that it’s quite easy. However, as listening is the most varied medium, over which the student has no control, it would seem logical that it should be actually taught along with speaking, and the learner should be exposed, quite early on, to as many different types of listening as possible. It is clear from teaching process that communication is the most difficult if listening skills are not developed. It is known that listening comprehension is one the language skills. It belongs to receptive skills. It is the most complicated language skill, because the content must be understood in a very fast way. Listening comprehension skills stimulate the development of speaking abilities. The pupil can well participate in a dialogue. While listening pupil can quickly understand the words they can read, pronounce well and understands the meaning. While writing the pupils also do well if they can read the words, the sentences well. Thus, all the language skills (listening comprehension, speaking, writing and reading are interrelated with each other).

2.The Difficulties in Auding a Foreign Language.

Auding or listening and comprehension are difficult for learners, because they should discriminate speech sounds quickly, retain them while hearing a word, a phrase, or a sentence and recognise this as a sense unit. Pupils can easily and naturally do this in their own language and they can not do this in foreign language when they start learning the language. Pupils are very slow in grasping what they hear, because they are conscious of the linguistic forms they perceive by the ear. This results in misunderstanding or a complete failure of understanding. When auding a foreign language pupils should be very attentive and think hard. They should strain their memory and will power to keep the sequence of sounds they hear and to decade it. Not all the pupils can cope with difficulties entailed. The teacher should help them by making this work easier and more interesting. This is possible on condition that he will take into consideration the following three main factors, which can ensure success in developing pupils skills in auding:

1. linguistic material for auding

2. the content of the material suggested for listening and comprehension

3. conditions in which the material is presented

1).The difficulties and peculiarities of Listening Comprehension may be grouped into 2 groups:

1. Extralinguistic difficulties

• mechanic way of speech of Listening Comprehension material (фонограмма, видеограмма и т.д.)

• listening to the speaker himself from his mouth

• tamper of speech • tempo of speech

• the situation- position the listening comprehension carries out, the discipline of the pupils, noise, the number of the students

• the necessity of speaking

• the attentiveness of the listeners

• the number of listening

• the existence of pictures, and some other base means

2).Linguistic difficulties:

• the form of speech- monologue and dialogue

• the phonetic difficulties, the correct pronunciation of words

• vocabulary (lexical) difficulties- familiar words, multiple meaning of word; conversion

• grammatical difficulties: familiar -unfamiliar tense forms, grammatical forms, the structure of sentences

• stylistic difficulties: dialectal or literary standard form of the listening speech.

1. Comprehension of the text by the ear can be ensured when the teacher uses the material which has already been assimilated by pupils. However, this does not completely eliminate the difficulties in auding. Pupils need practice in listening and comprehension in the target language to be able to overcome three kinds of difficulties: phonetic, lexical and grammatical.

Phonetic difficulties appear because the phonic system of English and Kazakhstan differ greatly. The hearer often interprets the sounds of a foreign language as if they were of his own language which usually results in misunderstanding. The following opposites present much trouble to beginners in learning English: [ %-s], [/\-o], [s-z], [% -f], [! z], [w-v] and etc. They can hardly differentiate the following words by ear: worked-walked; first-fast-forced; line-lion; tired-tide; bought-boatboard.

The difference in intonation often prevents pupils from comprehending a communication.

e.g.: Good `morning (when meeting); Good ,morning (at parting). The teacher, therefore, should develop his pupils ear for English sounds and intonation.

Examples for lexical difficulties: The horse is slipping. The horse is sleeping. They worked till night. They walked till night. Pupils often misunderstand words because they hear them wrong. The most difficult words for auding are the verbs with postpositions, such as: put on, put off, see off, go in for, etc.

Grammatical difficulties are mostly connected with the analytic structure of the English language, and with the extensive use of infinitive and participle constructions; -ed as the suffix of the past Indefinite and the Past Participle. This is difficult for pupils when they aud.

3. The Content of the Material for Listening Comprehension

1. The content of the material for auding is exactly determined for each form in the secondary school syllabus G.V.Rogova divides it into 3 parts:

• linguistic

• psychological, it includes the assimilation of all the habits and skills of listening - comprehension

• Methodological part.

Teaching the pupils for the ways and techniques of auding. Besides, by the technology of hearing the rules, principles, methods and means of teaching to aud are identified.

2. The content of the material influences comprehension. The following factors should be taken into consideration when selecting the material for auding:

• the topic of communication: whether it is within the ability of the pupils to understand, and what difficulties pupils will come across (proper names, geographical names terminology etc.)

• the type of communication: whether it is a description or a narration. Description as a type of communication is less emotional and interesting that is why it is difficult for the teacher to arose pupils’ interest in auding such a text. Narration is more interesting for auding. Consequently, this type of communication should be used for listening comprehension

The context and pupils’ readiness (intellectual and situational)_ to understand it.

• The form of communication: whether the text is a dialogue or a monologue. Monologue speech is easier for the learners, therefore , it is preferable for developing pupils’ ability to aud.

3. Conditions of presenting the material are of great importance for teaching auding, namely:

The speed of the speech the pupil is auding. The hearer cannot change the speed of the speaker. There are different points of view on the problem of the speed of speech in teaching auding a foreign language. N.V.Elukhina believes that in teaching auding the tempo should slower than the normal speed of authentic speech. However this slowness is not gained at the expense of time required for producing words (that might result in violating the intonation patterns of an utterance), but of the time required for pauses which are so necessary for a pupil to grasp the information of each portion between the pauses.

The number of times of presenting the material for auding: whether the pupils should listen to the text once, twice, three times or more. Pupils should be taught to listen to the text once and this must become a habit. However they sometimes can grasp only 50% of the information and even less, so a second in case the pupils cannot grasp most of the information, practice proves that manifold repetitions when hearing do not help much.

The presence or absence of the speaker is another factor. The most favourable condition is when pupils can see the speaker as is the case when the teacher speakers to them in a foreign language. The most unfavourable condition for auding is listening and comprehending a dialogue, when pupils cannot see the speakers and do not take part in the conversation.

Visual “props” which may be of two kinds, objects and motions. Pupils find it difficult to aud without visual props. The eye should help the ear to grasp a text when dealing with beginners. The voice of the speaker also influences pupils’ comprehension. Pupils who get used to the teachers’ voice can easily understand him, but they cannot understand other people speaking the same language.

Consequently, in teaching listening comprehension the teacher should bear in mind all the difficulties pupils encounter when auding in a foreign language.

  1. The ways (techniques) of Teaching Listening Comprehension.

Teaching Listening Comprehension process consist of two stages:

• The first stage consist of forming such skills in pupils as assimilation of phonemes, words, syntagmas, sentences necessary for listening comprehension, to differentiate and understand them.

• The second stage consist of forming and developing such habits and skills as understanding unfamiliar dialogic speech, micromonologue texts and analysing them by hearing. The content of the text undergoing for listening mustn’t be familiar. They mustn’t see the graphical expression of the text.

This stage should be fulfilled in the following chronical sequences:

the preparation for listening comprehension : The teacher selects the texts or complies them according to the age, knowledge level, language material assimilated by the pupils. Unfamiliar vocabulary, grammar structures names of cities, geographical names and other difficulties the correct pronunciation and the meaning of some words must be explained to the pupils by the teacher before. Even about three words (place names, city names and etc.) can be translated and written on the blackboard.

the process of having listening comprehension. Listening comprehension activity may be carried out in the following methodological consequence:

A) writing the translation of place and geographical names, surnames and etc. On the blackboard from the text or sounding speech.

B) Listening to a reading of a teacher, from the mouth of a nativespeaker, recording and so on. Pupils should listen to the speech only once in a normal tempo. The following tasks may be put forward before listening:

a) listen and grasp the meaning; b) listen and answer the questions; c) listen and grasp the meaning, then retell it in English or in Kazakhstan; d) give suitable title to the text; e) make a plan of retelling and so on. Such tasks may be recommended in the 5-7 forms before listening and in the 8-11 forms after the listening.

C) Doing exercises stimulating (facilitating) the comprehension of the unfamiliar content of the text. The following questions may be useful: Where was it? Who was he or she? What was he or she? When was it? How did finish? Did you agree? What was happened?

D) If it must necessary for deeper understanding the text (speech) must be put for listening for the second time.(Syllabus requirement is only one time)

E) Testing (control) understanding of the text (speech) listened.

F) The analysing of the content. Individual view point of each pupil; What the author’s senses are.

The following questions may be asked:

What do you think about the content? What does the author want to say by it? Will you decide to do so? Is the author right?

Such discussion is mainly done with pupils of the 8-11 forms. To fulfil the task the teacher must train his pupils in listening comprehension beginning with the first lesson and throughout the whole period of instruction. These are the techniques the teacher uses for the purpose:

1. The teacher uses the foreign language:

• when giving the class instructions

• when presenting new language material (words, sentence patterns)

• when checking pupils’ comprehension

• when consolidating the material presented

• when checking pupils’ assimilation of the language material covered. These are the cases when the target language is used as a means of communication and a means of teaching. There is a great deal of auding in all the points of the lesson. This raises the problem of the teacher’ speech during the lesson. Conducting a lesson in a foreign language gives the teacher an opportunity to develop pupils’ abilities in hearing, to train them in listening to him attentively during the lesson, to demonstrate the language as a means of communication.

Exercises for developing listening comprehension may fall under two types: 1) drill exercises, 2) speech exercises. We can group drill exercises into exercises designed for overcoming linguistic difficulties, and exercises which can eliminate psychological difficulties. Speech exercises are designed for developing pupils’ skills in auding. Several groups of exercises may be suggested:

• exercises which teach pupils to understand texts different in content, form, and type.

• Exercises which develop pupils’ skills to understand a text under different conditions. Sound producing aids should be extensively used for developing pupils’ auding, as pupils are supposed to understand not only their teacher’s speech, but other people speaking the target language, including native-speakers. Besides, sound producing aids allow the teacher to supply pupils with recorded speech different in speed and voice.

(see G.V.Rogova pp.180-183). Pupils’ skills in auding are gradually developed. They pass through the following 11 stages (for this see G.V.Rogova p.184)


1. Методика обучения иностранным языкам в средней школе. / сост. Гез А.И. и др. М-1982 г.

2. Старков А.П. обучениe английскому произношению в средней школею М-1978 г.

3. G.V.Rogova “Methods of teaching English”

Lecture 13

Theme: Teaching Reading in Secondary Schools

Problems for Discussion

1. Reading as an aim and a means of teaching and learning a foreign language

2. The content of teaching reading

3. Some difficulties pupils have in learning to read in the English language (Linguistic and Extralinguistic)

4. How to Teach Reading

5. Mistakes and How to correct them

1. In recent years, language teaching methodologists have gained a greater appreciation of the nature of the reading skill. They have come to understand that in fact it is not a single monolithic skill. Rather it is a behaviour which is made up of a large number of component skills sometimes referred to as microskills. These range from such foundational skills ass the ability to recognise the letters of the alphabet and to match spoken words and sentences with their written representation, to quite sophisticated skills such as skimming a piece of writing to gain a general idea of its content, or evaluating a text for its general tone or bias. Methodologists have also come to believe that the types of reading done in the language classroom should reflect the many uses to which reading is put in real life. You use reading not only for study purposes but also for daily living. You read not just novels, essays, and poetry, but also newspapers, instruction manuals and the labels on the products you buy in the supermarket. Thinking of this variety of reading tasks, you can see that different tasks require different approaches. For maximum efficiency, students must be taught to vary their approach to suit the purpose of their reading.

Reading is one of the main skills that a pupil must acquire in the process of mastering a foreign language in school. The syllabus for foreign language lists reading as one of the leading language activities to be developed. It runs: By the end of the course pupils must be able to read easy texts of social-political contents, popular-science and fiction. In learning to read they should acquire skills in skimming and searching reading.

Therefore reading is in one of the practical aims of teaching a foreign language in schools. Reading is of great educational importance, as reading is a means of communication, people get information they need from books, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc. Through reading in a foreign language the pupil enriches his knowledge of the world

around him. He gets acquainted with the countries where the target language is spoken.

Reading develops pupils’ intelligence. It helps to develop their memory, will, imagination. Reading ability is, therefore, not only of great practical, but educational, and social importance, too.

Reading is not only an aim in itself, it is also a means of learning a foreign language. When reading a text the pupil reviews sounds and letters, vocabulary and grammar, memorises the spelling of words, the meaning of words and word combinations. The more the pupil reads the better his retention of the linguistic material is. Reading helps them to acquire speaking and writing skills as well.

Reading is, therefore both an end to be attained and a means to achieve that end.

2. The Content of Teaching Reading

Reading is a complex process of language activity. As it is closely connected with the comprehension of what is read, reading is a complicated intellectual work. It requires the ability on the part of the reader to carry out a number of mental operations: analysis, synthesis, induction, deduction, comparison. Reading as a process of connected with the work of visual, kinaesthetic, aural analysers and thinking. The visual analyser if at work when the reader sees a text. While seeing the text he “sounds” it silently, therefore the kinaesthetic analyser is involved. When he sounds the test he hears what he pronounces in his inner speech so it shows that the aural analyser is not passive, it also works and, finally, due to the work of all the analysers the reader can understand thoughts. The speech of reading depends on the reader’s ability to establish a direct connection between what he sees and what it means. To make this easier to understand it may be represented as follows:

visual analyser thought

Kinaesthetic analyser aural analyser

There are two ways of reading: aloud or orally, and silently. In teaching a foreign language in school both ways should be developed.

The eyes of a very good reader move quickly, taking long “jumps” and making very short “halts”. We can call this ideal reading “reading per se”. Reading per se is the end to be attained. It is possible provided:

(1) the reader can associate the graphic system of the language with the phonic system of the language;

(2) the reader can find the logical subject and the logical predicate of the sentence; (3) the reader can get information from the text (as a whole). These are the three constituent parts of reading as a process.

As a means of teaching reading a system of exercises is widely used in schools, which includes:

1) graphic-phonemic exercises which help pupils to assimilate graphemic-phonemic correspondence in the English language;

2) structural-information exercises which help pupils to carry out lexical and grammar analysis to find the logical subject and predicate in the sentence following the structural signals;

3) semantic-communicative exercises which help pupils to get information from the text.

The actions which pupils perform while doing these exercises constitute the content of teaching and learning reading in a foreign language. 3. Reading in English language is one of the most difficult things because there are 26 letters and 146 graphemes which represent 46 phonemes. Indeed the English alphabet presents many difficulties to Kazakh speaking pupils because the Kazakh alphabet differs greatly from that of the English language. A comparison of some letters show that they are the most difficult letters for the pupil to retain. (H-N; G-C; C-K; R-J). It is not sufficient to know English letters. It is necessary that pupils should know graphemes or consonant combination is read in different positions in the words (window, down). The teacher cannot teach pupils all the existing rules and exceptions for reading English words. When learning English pupils are expected to assimilate the following rules of reading: how to read stressed vowels in open and closed syllables and before “r”; how to read -ay-, -oo-, -ou-, -ow-; the consonants -c, -s, -k, -g; -ch, -sh, th, -ng, -ck and -tion, -ssion, -ous. The pupils should learn the reading of some monosyllabic words which are homophones. For example, son - sun; tail - tale; too- two; write - right; eye - I, etc.

The most difficult thing in learning to read is to get information from a sentence or a paragraph on the basis of the knowledge of structural signals and not only the meaning of words. Pupils often ignore grammar and try to understand what they read relying on their knowledge of autonomous words. And, of course, they often fail, e.g. the sentence He was asked to help the old woman is understood as Он просил помочь старушке, in which the word he becomes the subject and is not the object of the action. Pupils sometimes find it difficult to pick out topical sentences in the text which express the main ideas.

To make the process of reading easier new words, phrases and sentences patterns should be learnt orally before pupils are asked to read them. So when pupils start reading they know how to pronounce the words, the phrases and the sentences, and are familiar with their meaning.

Consequently, in order to find the most effective ways of teaching the teacher should know the difficulties pupils may have. 4. The teacher can use the whole system of exercises foe developing pupils’’ ability to read which may be done in two forms - loud and silent.

Reading aloud.

In teaching reading aloud the following methods are observed: the phonic, the word, and the sentence ways. When the phonic way is used, the child learns the sounds and associates them with graphic symbols - letters. In the word way a complete word is first presented to the child. When several words have been learnt they are used in simple sentences. The sentence way deals with the sentences as units of approach in teaching reading. The teacher can develop pupils’ ability to read sentences with correct intonation. Later the sentence is split up into words. The combination of the three methods can ensure good reading.

Reading in chorus, reading in groups in imitation of the teacher which is practised in schools forms rather kinaesthetic images than graphic ones. The result is that pupils can sound the text but they cannot read. The teacher should observe the rule “Never read words, phrases, sentences by yourself. Give your pupils a chance to read them.”

Teaching begins with presenting a letter to pupils or a combination of letters, a word as a grapheme. The use of flash cards and the blackboard is indispensable. Flash cards. When the teacher uses them allow him:

a) to present a new letter (letters);

b) to make pupils compose a word;

c) to check pupils’ knowledge of letters or graphemes;

d) to make pupils recollect the words beginning with the letter shown (p - pen, pupil, etc.); e) to make pupils show the letter (letters), which stand for the sound [ ou ], [ a: ], [ o ], etc.

In teaching to read transcription is also utilised. It helps the reader to read a word in the cases where the same grapheme stands for different sounds: build, suit, or words which are not read according to the rule: aunt, colonel.

At an early stage of teaching reading the teacher should read a sentence or a passage to the class himself. When he is sure the pupils understand the passage he can set individuals and the class to repeat the sentences after him, reading again himself if the pupils’ reading is poor. The pupils look into the textbook. [ T-Class-T-P1-T-P2-T-Pn-T-C ] This kind of elementary reading practice should be carried on for a limited number of lessons only. When a class has advanced far enough to be ready for more independent reading, reading in chorus might be decreased, but not eliminated: T-C-P1P2Pn.

Reading aloud as a method of teaching and learning the language should take place in all the forms. This is done with the aim of improving pupils’ reading skills. In reading aloud, therefore, the teacher uses:

a) diagnostic reading (pupils read and he can see their weak points in reading);

b) instructive reading (pupils follow the pattern read by the teacher or the speaker);

c) control reading or test reading (pupils read the text trying to keep as close to the pattern as possible).

5. Mistakes and How to Correct them.

In teaching pupils to read the teacher must do his best to prevent mistakes. The following techniques may be suggested:

1. The teacher writes a word (e.g. black) on the blackboard. He underlines ck in it and asks the pupil to say what sound these two letters convey. If the pupil cannot answer the question, the teacher asks some of his classmates. They help the pupil to correct his mistake and he reads the word

2. One of the pupils asks: What is the English for «3ара- черный»? If the pupil repeats the mistake, the “corrector” pronounces the word properly and explains the rule the pupil has forgotten. The pupil now reads the word correctly.

3. The teacher or one of the pupils says: Find the word “3àðà” and read it. The pupil finds the word and reads it either without any mistake if his first mistake was due to his carelessness, or he repeats the mistake. The teacher then tells him to recollect the rule and the word correctly.

4. The teacher corrects the mistake himself. The pupil reads the word correctly. The teacher asks the pupil to explain to the class how to read “ck”. 5. The teacher tells the pupil (to write the word “black” and underline “ck”. Then he says how the word is read. Another question arises: whether we should correct a mistake in the process of reading a passage or after finishing it. Both ways are possible. Silent Reading. In learning to read pupils widen their eyespan. The eye can move faster than the reader is able to pronounce what he sees. Thus reading aloud becomes an obstacle for perception. Special exercises may be suggested to develop pupils’ skills in silent reading. For instance, “Look and say”, “Read and Look up”. (M.West).

Teaching silent reading is closely connected with two problems:

(1) instructing pupils in finding in sentences what is new in the information following some structural signals, the latter is possible provided pupils have a certain knowledge of grammar and vocabulary and they can perform lexical and grammar analysis;

(2) developing pupils’ ability in guessing. Pupils should be taught how to find the logical predicate in a sentence. The teacher may ask his pupils to read a text silently and find the words conveying the new information in the text according to their position.

To read a text the pupil must possess the ability to grasp the contents of the text. The pupil is to be taught to compare, to contrast, to guess, and to foresee events.

One of the most frequently used techniques by which children attack new words is through the use of picture clues. The use of context clues is another word -getting technique.

In teaching pupils to read much attention should be given to the development of their ability to guess. One of the best ways to develop this skill is to give the pupil the text for acquaintance either during the lesson or as his homework. To develop pupils’ reading skill, i.e. to teach them to get information from the text it is necessary that text should be taken as a whole (the teacher does not break it into pieces). / For detail, see G.V.Rogova, p. 210-215/

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