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 depressing. If you use videos, CDs or audio cassette tapes, or even perhaps when speaking your learners can have their lesson input interrupted by a reduction in listening comprehension skills. Comprehensible input (Krashen, 1989) is a valuable part of any English or foreign language class.

Contributing Factors

These seven factors can directly or indirectly promote 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 test is unknown, the text has less than a 90% vocabulary recognition rate. Individuals therefore, unreadable." (S. Thornbury, 2004) The same then is likely true to get a listening passage. Remember, "You can never be too rich, too thin or have enough foreign language vocabulary" as the English Notes old saying goes.

2. Rhyming Sounds

Have you taught or learned songs? If so, you'll remember that there are many 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 French.

Note: If you'd like 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 compose Poems That Capture the heart and Imagination of Your Readers" by the author. (L.M. Lynch, 2007)

3. Idioms and Expressions

In every language there are a frequently-used idioms and expressions that allow its speakers to convey nuances of thought to one another effortlessly therefore greater clarity that simply "explaining" everything verbally. It's a helpful realize as signs and symptoms as possible, but if you don't, the meanings of many conversations or spoken exchanges may you "lost" to 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 an individual basis. When learners are unfamiliar, or even ignorant of, these elements, listening comprehension can be significantly sourced.

5. Regional or National Accents

The same sentence when spoken by people from different first language (L1) backgrounds, regional locations, or ethnic backgrounds can be decisively variable. Unfamiliarity with such on the a part of EFL learners can cause a definite deficit of listening comprehension or "comprehensible input" as mentioned earlier.

6. Grammar in Context

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

7. Language Rhythms

One with the big differences between English and say, Spanish, will be the one language is "syllable-based" while another is "accent-based". This makes up about non-native speakers sounding "funny" when speaking a language other than their native language.

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

These involving epithets derive not due to a lack of English or other foreign vocabulary skills in particular, but rather from pronunciation based on using an "incorrect" spoken language rhythm.