Page 1

Can Listening Be Amazing for Students? G. Artyushina1, O. Sheypak1, A.Khovrin1, V.Spektor1 1

“MATI”-Russian State Technological University named after K.E.Tsiolkovsky, Moscow, Russia

Abstract—To study a foreign language means the development of the communication competence including its four main activities: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The standard procedure still used for listening activities for classroom is: pre-listening stage + whilelistening stage + post-listening stage. But these have already become inefficient and sometimes very boring. For many students “listening” is the most difficult skill. Listening is not a passive skill but a “receptive” skill. It requires as much attention and mental activity as speaking. That of the time an individual is engaged in communication: approximately 9% is devoted to writing, 16% to reading, 30% to speaking, and 45% to listening. Index Terms—communication competence, listening skills, podcasting, student motivation, styles of learning

I. INTRODUCTION Debates focusing on the nature of listening input whether or not listening should be made comprehensible for learners through simplification. Debates focusing on the role of listening in the early English Language Teaching (ELT) curriculum input whether teachers should stress the importance of learners having a “silent period’ in the early stages of learning and wait for “readiness” to produce the language. J. Gilbert says, “How you hear English is closely connected with how you speak English” [1]. The role of listening for comprehension and development of the ability to understand and participate is spoken communication encourage teachers to answer the following questions: How can classroom practice rehearse the kinds of listening purposes and situations that learners will experience outside the classroom? How can we help students build confidence in dealing with authentic spoken English? What kind of classroom procedures will develop listening ability? To motivate students for listening teachers need to ensure that they experience a range of listening purposes, especially those that might be immediately relevant to their lives outside the classroom. Apart from the radio and on the phone, how often do we listen to people without seeing them speak? Podcasting has now become popular as an alternative way of providing “radio” type content that can be listened to whenever, wherever and as many times as the listener wants. You can use pieces of software to automatically gather the podcasts and pop them straight on to your player, meaning that you always have the latest programme in your pocket.

II. OUR EXPERIENCE At Russian universities podcasting is still a relatively new method of teaching foreign languages. We have involved the students from the department “Youth Policy and Social Technologies” into a new project “Guide to Humanities and Social Students”. The Guide consists of 16 units and each unit has four parts. One of these parts is “Listening” where the students are suggested a new technology – podcasting. All the students were absolutely inexperienced in the use of podcasts. Podcasting was originally for conveying information and entertainment. Soon, however, educators saw the huge potential it has for teaching and learning [2], [3]. Today there are so many possible uses of podcasts that ultimately, it will be the creativity and imagination of teachers and learners that will drive the educational podcasting agenda in future. Three areas are suggested where the potential of podcasting could be realized within higher school: devising cross-cultural activities; providing alternative teaching approaches; and promoting and using personalized learning [4]. III.


Podcasts are audio programs on the Web which are usually updated at regular intervals. New episodes can be listened to on the computer, or downloaded to an MP3 player or iPod for later listening. Although audio programs have existed on the Web for a few years already, what makes podcasting unique is its capacity for “subscription”. In other words, instead of having to visit individual websites regularly for updated episodes, listeners can now have the latest episodes of their favorite programs delivered to their computer. The technology has got traditional broadcasters excited and worried at the same time. The technology gives them a new opportunity to enjoy English while doing listening exercises. All students need is a PC/MP3 to listen at home or anywhere else. Célestin Freinet said, “Students should take an active role in technology rather than a passive one” [5]. It is podcasting that makes our students active not passive while listening. Traditionally most lessons favour a combination of seven different styles of learning: visual, social, physical, aural, verbal, solitary, and logical. But the role of these styles depends of the type of a lesson. Research has shown [6] that most lectures offer a combination of primarily passive, receptive styles of learning (Fig. 1).


visual 80 60




work so that students’ first listening to a text as close as possible to an authentic experience. And we need to do less pre-teaching work.

20 0 solitary




Figure 1. Styles of learning during lectures

According to the research seminars are better as they provide more opportunities (Fig. 2). visual 80 60



V. CONCLUSION Podcasting as a new technology has huge potential in enhancing listening and speaking skills for students. The ease for downloading podcasts means that they can now engage in plenty of listening practice. We have found that the students do understand, appreciate and benefit from an authentic listening experience. With imagination and creativity teachers will be able to make the best use of this new technology for developing their students’ listening skills.

40 20


0 solitary





[2] Figure 2. Styles of learning during seminars [3]

Audio podcasting expands the use of most of these different learning styles (Fig. 3). visual 100


80 logical



60 40


20 0 solitary


[7] verbal

Figure 3.

J. Gilbert, “Clear speech: Pronunciation and listening comprehension in American English,” New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 3, 1984. C. Adams, “Geek’s guide to teaching in the modern age,” Instructor, 115(7), pp.48-51, 2006. D. Jobbings, “Exploiting the educational potential of podcasting,” Retrieved January 7, 2007, from M. Post, “Listening in action: Activities for developing listening in language teaching,” Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.. C. Freinet, “Education Through Work” [L’Education du travail] Lewiston, NY, 1993. S. Duarte “The Whys and Hows of ESL classroom podcasting”, 2009 from D. Warlick, “Podcasting,” Technology and Learning, 26(2), pp.70, 2005.


Styles of learning during audio podcasting

AUTHORS HOW TO ENHANCE STUDENTS’ LISTENING SKILLS BY MEANS OF PODCASTS ELT podcasts can be used for intensive and extensive listening activities. However, ELT podcasts are particularly suited for extensive listening, for the purpose of motivating student interest in listening to English, and providing them with exposure to native speakers’ speech [7]. Podcasts offer students a wide range of possibilities for extra listening both inside and outside the classroom. More advanced learners can be encouraged to listen to authentic podcasts. This activity effectively eliminates the gap between the formal English which dominates in the most language classrooms and the informal English used in most real-life communication events. An authentic approach in ELT podcasts allows our students to evolve a process of deducing the meaning of new words and not to check the list of unknown words in dictionaries or learn the word lists before they listen. In podcasts there are more developmental and post-listening IV.

G. Artyushina is with the “MATI”-Russian State Technological University named after K.E.Tsiolkovsky, Orshanskaya, 3, Moscow, Russia, 121552 (e-mail: O. Sheypak, is with “MATI”-Russian State Technological University named after K.E.Tsiolkovsky, Orshanskaya, 3, Moscow, Russia, 121552 (e-mail: A. Khovrin is with the “MATI”-Russian State Technological University named after K.E.Tsiolkovsky, Orshanskaya, 3, Moscow, Russia, 121552 (e-mail: V. Spektor is with the “MATI”-Russian State Technological University named after K.E.Tsiolkovsky, Orshanskaya, 3, Moscow, Russia, 121552 (e-mail: .



G. Artyushina 1 , O. Sheypak 1 , A.Khovrin 1 , V.Spektor 1 Index Terms—communication competence, listening skills, podcasting, student motiv...