10 Factors to Consider When Choosing Listening Materials

Choosing the Right Listening Materials

Listening Materials

Listening Materials can come in different ways. We can easily categorize the different listening materials according to:

  1. their authenticity
  2. their level
  3. their purpose

Not all listening passages make for a good listening for English Language classes because some factors can make the listening task even more challenging than it already is. The factors that makes a  good listening material can be divided into two groups: Content and Delivery. Take them into account to avoid learner’s frustration and confusion.

Content Factors

1.Interest Factor: Probably the most important factor is  interest, an interesting enough listening passage will make the learner listen attentively. Sometimes it is quite difficult to find  a listening passage that might engage all of your learners but well-prepared pre-listening tasks can help raise interest in the topic, interest that students didn’t know they have .

2.Entertainment Factor: This is closely related to the notion of interest, if our listening passage can be both interesting and entertaining, that will engage learners in the listening task.

3.Cultural Accessibilty:  The text needs to be culturably accessible to the learner, some concepts simply don’t exist in some cultures, for example Thanksgiving might be something that is unheard of in some parts of africa, we can also take the example of Rugby which is played in England and it is not played in Latinoamerican countries.

4.Speech Acts: We have to understand the nature of our listening passage, is the speaker in the listening passage narrating, criticizing, giving instructions or suggesting? if students don’t know, the difficulty of the listening task will increase.

5.Discourse Structures:  There are certain discourse structures that are easier than others. Discourse structures refers to the organization of a text. For example if you are listening  to a cause and effect listening passage you  would expect to hear causes and the effects and that makes listening easier. Listening task with coomplex discourse strcuture tend to

6.Density: This feature refers to  the amount of information that a text has. For examples news articles tend to be very deep in density because the speakers move quickly from one point to another.

7. Language Level: The  Complexity of a text can be increased if the text has complex grammar structures, difficult vocabulary such as phrasal verbs or idioms. Very formal text are full of new definitions and very informal texts tend to include slang and unclear articulartion.

Delivery Factors

8. Length:  Another key factor is the limited amount of input that students can deal with.  The constant arrival of new input in a listening task get students tired. the average of a listening text should be around one minute.

9. Quality of Recordings:  Most of listening materials today have a good quality but some recording materials has distortion and lack  of clarity and that can increase the difficulty of a listening task.

10: Accent, Speed and Number of Speakers: Some students are used to listen to american english and they might have difficulties listening to Australian speakers. Rapid speech, such the one heard in the news and many speakers talking can create confusion if there is no visual elemnet to support the listening task.

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