Why Your English Language Learners Listening Comprehension is Bad and What to Do About It

When English EFL language learners have listening comprehension problems it can be frustrating. If you use videos, CDs or audio cassette tapes, or even perhaps when speaking your learners can have their lesson input interrupted by a lack of listening comprehension skills. Comprehensible input (Krashen, 1989) is a vital part of any English or foreign language class.

Contributing Factors

These seven factors can directly or indirectly assist your learners' listening comprehension skills and comprehension.

1. Vocabulary

ELT author, researcher and lecturer Scott Thornbury said, ". count one hundred words of a (reading) passage. If more than ten of the words are unknown, the text has less than a 90% vocabulary recognition rate. Is actually also therefore, unreadable." (S. Thornbury, 2004) The same then is likely true for a listening passage. Remember, "You can never be too rich, too thin or have enough foreign language vocabulary" as the nugget of advice goes.

2. Rhyming Sounds

Have you taught or learned verse? If so, you'll remember that available types of rhyming patterns which may be employed. Alliteration, onomatopoeia, assonance and consonance, simile, metaphor and allusion, among others, all lend their particular ambience to written or spoken language in English.

Note: If you prefer or desire a quick refresher on these poetic elements, you should read, "How to Evoke Imagery, Emotions and Ideas in Writing Poetry That Captures Readers Imagination" and "How to write Poems That Capture soul and Imagination of Your Readers" along with author. (L.M. Lynch, 2007)

3. Idioms and Expressions

In every language are usually several frequently-used idioms and expressions that allow its speakers to convey nuances of thought together effortlessly therefore greater clarity that simply "explaining" everything verbally. Not only is it helpful to understand as you will sometimes as possible, but if you don't, the meanings numerous conversations or spoken exchanges may you "lost" on the listener.

4. Pronunciation

Everyone speaks differently and uses kinds of connected speech in distinctive ways. Elements including elision, contraction, juncture, liaison, register, accommodation, aspect, intonation and others, affect pronunciation and speech patterns on 1 basis. When learners are unfamiliar, or ignorant of, these elements, listening comprehension can be significantly afflicted.

5. Regional or National Accents

The same sentence when spoken by people from different first language English Notes (L1) backgrounds, regional locations, or ethnic backgrounds can be decisively versatile. Unfamiliarity with such on the part of EFL learners can result in definite connected with listening comprehension or "comprehensible input" as said before.

6. Grammar in Context

When grammar and its aspects are taught as "separate" themes, that is, outside of some relevant context, learners can be "handicapped" as it were by lacking the knowledge of just how and when particular grammar structures are suggested by native speakers during an oral discourse or verbal exchange. So when they, the learners, hear a grammar structure these people "know", but learned "out of context", they will often "miss it", misinterpret it or not really understand what they're hearing.

7. Language Rhythms

One of this big differences between English and say, Spanish, is that one language is "syllable-based" while the other is "accent-based". This is the reason non-native speakers sounding "funny" when speaking a language other than their mother tongue.

With epithets like, "oh, she luv-ed him but chew-no it wuzn't not no guud, mahn for demm charter yacht."

These types of epithets derive not from being a lack of English or another foreign speaking skills in particular, but rather from pronunciation based on using an "incorrect" spoken language habit.