Development of Listening Skills in EFL Young Learner Classes

Development of Listening Skills in EFL Young Learner Classes           It cannot be denied that not only in daily communication but also in educational process listening plays an important role. Even though, for too long it has been considered the least important and a poorly taught skill in second language acquisition. Because of the fact that while designing their lessons teachers pay more attention to grammar, reading, and vocabulary, EFL students have serious difficulties in acquiring English listening comprehension skills. The paper focuses on the definition and significance of listening and it is presented that what kind of teaching methods teachers can use in order to develop the listening comprehension skills of the young learners.          Vihman indicates that (1996) “babies as young as one and two months of age have the capacity to discriminate the speech sounds” (As cited in Linse, 2005, p.22) When they grow up to be children they have the ability to define the utterances and assign a meaning to them. Despite the fact that listening is a frequently used language skill, the importance of it is less emphasized in EFL classes than the other skills. Nonetheless, it is the evidence of the importance of the role that listening plays in the lives of people.

At all stages of education, listening is used as a primary tool for learning, therefore, it is even more important for their lives. Linse (2005) notes that listening may be a foundation for the other skills. For example, for reading, she states “by developing good listening skills, children are able to match the sounds with the corresponding symbols when they decode words.”(p.25)          The reason why listening is a difficult skill to develop is that teachers have difficulties judging whether the students have understood what they have heard or not. Therefore, it is crucial for teachers to have feedback from students. Another obstacle in listening is that students cannot control how fast the speaker speaks.

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Teachers should speak slower or the audio should be played more than once if the aim is listening comprehension. Phillips (2001) indicates that doing listening activities with the learners in the primary language classes are remarkably important because of the fact that they provide a valuable source of information. This will form a base for the children which they will rely on while producing the language themselves. In extensive listening activities, students are not expected to understand every sentence, instead, they are encouraged to understand the general meaning. On the other hand, intensive listening activities require students to understand the meaning of every sentence and word.

Lowes and target “they need to get used to the sounds and rhythms of the new language so they can understand it and so they can learn to produce it themselves”                  Teachers should help students to achieve greater success in English learning by providing many opportunities for them to practice this skill and become involved in the listening process. Development of this skill may affect the capacity for improvement in other skills.     House “But, remember, you are the best source of listening for your students”