Using the media in teaching listening in upper secondary school

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №6 - 2014

Author: Samoilova-Tsyplakova Inna, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

Language is an essential means of communication, which is essential to the existence and development of human society. Expanding and measuring the quality of the nature of international relations of our state, the internationalization of all spheres of social life make foreign languages, particularly English, really popular in practical and intellectual human activities.

In connection with the practical foreign language orientation of the school learning process the listening problem is increasingly attracting the attention of training specialists. Therefore, a serious theoretical search in the study of this complex process is conducted.

As you know, speaking and listening are interdependent concepts. In order to achieve even development of these skills the application of a specially designed system of exercises for the development of the understanding of speech in natural communication is necessary.

Currently teaching listening, as the ability to perceive and understand speech in a foreign language, namely English, becomes more and more important, because along with speaking it provides an opportunity to communicate. Communication is a two-way process: it is impossible without the ability to understand a speech of others, as by direct contact or by telephone, television, radio and other media. Underestimation of the significance of teaching listening can very negatively affect the language training of students. In addition, listening is the most difficult skill to teach, due to the fact that we should be able to understand the full speech at different paces, different intonation and different levels of correctness [1, p. 18].

The current stage of development of foreign language teaching is characterized by the formation of a number of trends, among which there is an important place trend of using audio-visual aids in foreign language teaching. At the same time audiovisual means are considered not in isolation, but as one of the necessary components of the didactic system.

One of the most effective ways of teaching a foreign language is the use of mass media (television and radio), which allows us to give students a visual representation of life, traditions, linguistic realities of English-speaking countries and diversify the process of a foreign language learning.

The above-stated led to the choice of the research work theme - "Using the media in teaching listening in upper secondary school."

The object of the research is teaching listening through the media at the lessons of a foreign language.

The subject of the study is peculiarities of the use of media in a foreign language.

The aim of the research work is to develop a set of exercises using media in teaching listening in English by the example of the use of television commercials in the upper secondary school.

The hypothesis of the study is the assumption that learning a foreign language will be more efficient and effective if the use of media is integrated in conjunction with the developed teaching materials drawn up and used in accordance with the proposed methodology.

Based on the goal, the object of the research subject and the hypothesis, the following research objectives are set:

1) to consider listening as a type of verbal activity;

2) to study the characteristics of training listening in a foreign language at the senior stage in secondary school;

3) to identify the features of training listening by the use of the media;

4) to create a set of exercises for teaching listening, using television materials (commercials) for upper secondary school students.

The relevance of the study is due to the fact that the peculiarities of using media in the process of training listening in secondary school are not completely studied and require more attention and methodological development.

The novelty of the research is predetermined by the study of theoretical and methodological features of the use of media in teaching listening in a foreign language and the development of this technique.

The theoretical significance of this paper gives systematization of theoretical material on teaching listening with the use of media.

The practical significance of the work lies in the possibility of using work materials at the lessons of the practical course of English.

The main methods of the research are: analysis and systematization of the regulations of the current scientific literature on the research topic; observation in the classroom; the study and compilation of the best teachers’ practices; designing (modeling) a fragment of the lesson.

With the development of intercultural cooperation and the media, the importance of practical language skills increased; consequently, the international requirements for proficiency in a foreign language have appeared. The demands on the quality of education, training and retraining, educational programs, material and technical resources, educational environment have been increasing.

Ever since mankind has realized the need and necessity of learning foreign languages, there is a question about the effectiveness of teaching foreign languages. "It is known that the methodical nature of a modern lesson should be communicative. Teaching a foreign language, we teach to communicate in this language. It is possible only in terms of communication, i. e, the training process should be organized so that it is similar to the process of natural communication, and only in this case it will be possible to transfer the generated skills in the real world" [3, p. 16].

The media are a rich source of additive and audiovisual materials, the use of which contributes to the further rationalization of the educational process and intensification of activities. As a result, it brings the process of teaching to listening and speaking to the real language communication, enhances the interest and motivation of students’ speech activity in a foreign language.

Television has a great potential in teaching a foreign language due to the fact that it is generally a special emotional and sensitive form of human development in general, and plays the social functions of the spectacular art forms. According to UNESCO, when a person listens, he/she remembers 15% of speech information, when he/she looks - 25% of the visible information, and when he sees and hears - 65%. "Television programs attract by the following features such as entertainment, a high degree of aesthetic expression, sharpness, and bright presentation. The given peculiarities provide high popularity of television among people of all social and age groups, and different professional directions" [4, p. 40].

Information facilities of television allow us to study a foreign language using the authentic ways to communicate with native speakers. They promote to simulate the natural language environment, reflect changes in the structure and semantics of linguistic phenomena, and others. Television reflects the social life of the society, especially the national mentality, national stereotypes, so, TV-messages can serve as a source of information in the study of contemporary cultural background of the English-speaking countries in the classroom communication. When organizing training on the contrastive basis (socio-cultural comparison of portraits, political context, etc.) the forming ability to adequately understand the TV-messages becomes an effective means of motivating students in their learning activities.

Thus, the use of television as a medium of instruction in foreign languages allows to realize the following learning objectives: practical (language acquisition as a means of communication), educational, developmental and educational.

It should be mentioned that one of the most popular television resources is advertisement. Any typology of advertising depends primarily on the aspect, which deals with the advertised item. In its objectives advertisement is divided into:

- informative goal - the creation of the primary demand, the formation of the company image;

- persuasive goal - the creation of the selective demand, the formation of preferences in the trade mark);

- reminding goal - maintaining awareness of the product at the stage of maturity of the advertising campaign).

The use of television commercials for foreign language lessons has several advantages for teachers.

Firstly, commercials are shorter in duration from 30 to 50 seconds on average. Such volume is ideal for beginning students [4, p. 13]. The brevity of their content makes the selection process easier. Finding a good passage of a movie or television program usually requires a more thorough and long preparation. Due to the volume of the advertising video content, the pros of its use are obvious: it is much easier to find the right material to prepare and apply it. In addition, advertisement always attracts attention, as it is created in order to entertain the audience [4, p. 8].

There is a quite common phenomenon among viewers to observe themselves and others hearing motives and phrases from the famous commercials.

Second, the advertisement content is always authentic [4, p. 9] because it is written for native speakers, for residents of the country of a certain language, and always recited in an authentic foreign language. Speaking about English, the commercials are created in different English-speaking countries, making it possible for pupils and students to be immersed in a variety of the English language. Thus, using commercials of various English-speaking countries such as the United Kingdom (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), the US, Australia, etc., teachers can introduce to students the variation of accents, dialects, i.e. different types of English. This approach allows students to expand the hearing ability. An additional advantage here is the diversity of voices that can be played with in an advertisement, and it provides a much greater impact than the typical material for listening from textbooks.

The third advantage of using television commercials is the presence of visual elements that contribute to a fuller understanding of the meaning. According to some studies, there was an improvement in hearing abilities and increasing motivation to learn of the students "exposed" to the advertisement [5, p. 14]. Visual messages of the commercial help students understand its language content. Also, the teacher has an opportunity to use the genuine intention of advertising and its cultural elements to achieve educational goals simultaneously. In any educational content the key point is that whatever a teacher uses is based on the achievement of well-defined goals that directs them to search for the corresponding material, methods and forms of assessment.

A further advantage of the use of commercials in teaching is the strength of their influence. Commercials are funny, interesting and bright, with the laconic rhyming or otherwise balanced text. Thanks to the support of visual and musical basis it is easy to remember texts of advertisements for a long time, that is why, they were created. Children sing advertising jingles even without understanding their meaning, and adults use slogans that have become familiar clichés.

The last important fact, which is noted by scholars and practitioners: the commercials are extremely rich authentic elements of the modern speech. Processing of advertisement samples helps students learn about different levels of the language, reduced forms (wanna, gonna, gotta), idiomatic expressions, and intonation patterns. Owing to advertisements students learn vocabulary that is not found in textbooks, abbreviations and acronyms (AT & T, MCI, "Let's have subs and suds") [6, p. 14].

The search of the commercial is determined by the objectives of the lesson. Teachers should distinguish between cultural, linguistic and logical aspects that need to be emphasized while searching the corresponding advertisement. If a teacher defined specific goals first and then began to search for material, he / she face difficulties. In this case, many teachers tend to rely on common objectives in selecting advertisements, which allow them to expand the options in the preparation of the lesson. In any case, which way a teacher chooses, it is necessary to learn to choose the material and determine the objectives of the class.

To date, there are some websites that can help in the search and selection of good commercials, commercial parodies and short amateur videos. The reference presents the most popular sites are now used to search for commercials [7].

Having selected the objectives of the lesson and found the clip, the next step is to develop activities. The participants of «The Internet TESL Journal» presented a standard approach in the development of complex tasks using the TV ad:

1) Pre-viewing activities$

2) Viewing the TV commercial;

3) Securing adequate comprehension;

4) Exploring the linguistic components;

5) Discussing cultural and values laden components;

6) Practicing critical thinking skills by examining the TV commercial critically.

It should be noted that work on the development of listening skills using movies allows reducing the fear of foreign students before listening to speech. It happens due to the relevant interesting information and visualization. In addition, visualization can help students understand the basic content of the story, which also leads to the reduction of the stress level. It is possible to work on the development of speaking skills on the ground of the movie using its contents as a basis.

Thus, the use of television and the Internet resources for the development of listening skills, the following positive results can be marked out:

- reduction of the fear of listening to a foreign speech through the use of videos, which can serve as a support for the understanding of the basic content of the statement;

- increase of interest in the subject, as the information is relevant and constantly updated;

- opportunity for teachers to create self-exercises for students with different levels of language proficiency;

- opportunity for students to choose for themselves, perform and create a set of exercises independently or on the instructions of the teacher;

- opportunity for students to manage independently the time devoted to the fulfillment of the exercise and the number of listening / viewing the material;

- opportunity for students to learn not to pay attention to the acoustic background and, conversely, to take into account body language, facial expressions and tone of the speaker;

- development of the phonemic hearing and ability to understand non-adapted utterances of different character and style, as well as the ability to imagine and understand the overall meaning of the text.

On the basis of the foregoing, it is surely considered that the hallmark of a modern foreign language teaching is the desire to approximate the conditions of the educational process to the conditions of natural communication. The communicative method of teaching a foreign language involves reliance on the principles of activity-based training, complexity, functionality, authenticity. Students master the language means, cognitive and speech activities in the process of solving communication problems. The interrelated development of skills in all kinds of speech activity is considered methodologically appropriate.

 The situations underlying the creation of commercials describe the real life that also helps to cause the motivation of students to the study of a foreign language. Different topics are relevant to students at this age, especially the media, namely television and the Internet are an integral part of the lives of adolescents. Advertisement takes a huge range in the Internet as well as in the air space.

The selected video for the listening activity consists of three television commercials. The duration of each one is 30-35 minutes (video 1 and 2) and 2:54 minutes (video 3). By virtue of the plot and the type of each video, the first two ones have an average duration of a movie similar to the easily perceived short video. The last clip is on a level above in terms of both the semantic content and the duration of the video.

The elaboration of each episode for a lesson is planned. An additional lesson or time is allocated for preparation at home when parallel issues can be discussed which have arisen during the viewing. The methodical development of the class was carried out for grade 9, but it can also be used in 10, 11th grades of the upper secondary school.

By taking into account the theoretical and methodological provisions of psychological training of listening guidelines for working with the above television commercials were developed in this work.

A set of exercises presented below is aimed at school senior students. The purpose of the present methodological development is to demonstrate the types of activities on the basis of which the teacher will be able to plan and organize a lesson for teaching listening and critical thinking skills to students. The presented TV commercials are used in the context of the lesson "Advertising". This complex of tasks based on certain advertising videos can be viewed as a model that can be used while working with any other advertising videos.

The general format of the methodological development plan is due to the organization of three-phase tasks.

1. Performing preliminary activities (previewing).

2. Performing activities while listening to the text and viewing the video (viewing).

3. Performing activities after listening to the text and watching the video (post viewing).

During the lesson all three phases of the work are organized. However, in this complex of tasks different videos for each step are presented in order to provide the ability to use critical thinking skills.

Stage 1. Previewing: performing preliminary activities aimed at identifying students’ understanding of the contents of this advertisement. This kind of job helps to activate students to use background knowledge and to encourage interest in watching the video.

Stage 2. Viewing: working on tasks while listening and viewing the video is aimed at trying to focus students' attention on some aspect of the advertising scene, which in turn coincides with the content of classes, thematic vocabulary lesson or educational purpose.

Stage 3. (Post viewing): the final step is aimed at achieving students' interest in the use of the information obtained from the movie in order to verify the understanding of its semantic content, integration of information and judgment of the product as the consumers.

By the time of this stage, students are supposed to have viewed and listened to the video several times, taken the opportunity to ask questions related to the vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and cultural characteristics of the commercial.

The main challenge the teacher faces at this stage is checking students' understanding of the fragment content and effectiveness of the proposed guidelines on the stage in the process of watching a video. Also it is necessary to monitor the understanding of the content, language and speech means used in the film. It is also advisable to use the question-answer work, dramatization, role-playing of the text (particularly dialogues), the subsequent film dubbing, reproduction and implementation of the communication situations shown in the video, their expansion, addition, comparing with everyday life situations of the students. After watching the fragment and performing series of exercises it can be used further to develop skills in speaking and writing.

Thus, a number of actions have been performed that teachers can use in the classroom. Using promotional videos in teaching foreign languages can significantly increase the effectiveness of the teacher’s training activities as videos are samples of the authentic language communication. So, they create the atmosphere of a real language communication, make the process of mastering a foreign language material more lively, interesting, challenging, compelling and emotional.

It is necessary to emphasize the importance of the use of video ads in the learning process in teaching listening of the sounding speech. First, the screen means for today's teenagers are common and loved ones, and meeting with them at English lessons is a kind of entertainment. Secondly, the use of on-screen tools helps the teacher to expand the range of situations within the course topics presenting new material during each particular class that excites students’ interest and encourages them to speak out and, therefore, allows to implement the communicative orientation of the learning process in full.

The process of teaching listening on the basis of TV - commercials consists of three stages (previewing, viewing and post viewing) when various and specific for each stage types of assignments and exercises are used, allowing as to simplify the process of perception and understanding as to control understanding.

Thus, the listed advantages of using commercials characterize the new trends in the development of the communicative method of teaching foreign languages.


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Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №6 - 2014

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