The Role Of Listening In ESL




It isn’t enough for an ESL student to simply see a word… In order for him/her to reproduce the correct sound the word makes, he/she must hear the word… listen to it on multiple levels to understand its correct pronunciation.

What is the Student Listening For?

The pronunciation of a word involves speech, diction, delivery, elocution, intonation and vocalization.

When a student listens effectively to the word, he/she becomes able to see the word phonetically and commit the sound of its pronunciation to memory.

*Speech: As Wikipedia describes it, “Each spoken word is created out of the phonetic combination of a limited set of vowel and consonant speech sound units. These vocabularies, the syntax that structures them, and their sets of speech sound units differ, creating many thousands of different and mutually unintelligible, human languages.”

*Diction: This refers to the style of the speech used

*Delivery: How is the word or words presented?

*Elocution: the skill displayed in using speech properly, with distinct pronunciation and articulation

*Intonation: How does each part of the word sound? It refers to the pitch and cadence, the rhythm of the word.

*Vocalization: Refers to the use of the human voice to convey speech ad the processes by which sounds are made.

Listening in Everyday Life:

We spend untold hours each and every day listening, without even being conscious of it.  Listening accurately is critical for comprehension.  Conversations where one or both parties aren’t listening properly to one another aren’t successful.  In fact, listening is the key to effective communication.

ESL students learn one word at a time, progressing to phrases and then full sentences. Listening can be a stressful experience for the student as they split their focus between all aspects of listening effectively.  But, with intensive practice, this conscious focus becomes routine and effortless.

Five Important Listening Skills for ESL Students:

  • Predicting Content
  • Listening for the meaning
  • Recognizing words that connect ideas
  • Identifying Details
  • Interpreting meaning


International Casablanca
International Casablanca
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