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Active Listening

Active Listening

by Michael Rost, J. J. Wilson

NOOK Book(eBook)

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Listening is now regarded by researchers and practitioners as a highly active skill involving prediction, inference, reflection, constructive recall, and often direct interaction with speakers. In this new theoretical and practical guide, Michael Rost and JJ Wilson demonstrate how active listening can be developed through guided instruction. With so many new technologies and platforms for communication, there are more opportunities than ever before for learners to access listening input, but this abundance leads to new challenges:

  • how to choose the right input
  • how to best use listening and viewing input inside and outside the classroom
  • how to create an appropriate syllabus using available resources

Active Listening explores these questions in clear, accessible prose, basing its findings on a theoretical framework that condenses the most important listening research of the last two decades. Showing how to put theory into practice, the book includes fifty innovative activities, and links each one to relevant research principles. Sample audio recordings are also provided for selected activities, available online at the series website www.pearsoned.co.uk/rostwilson.

As a bridge between theory and practice, Active Listening will encourage second language teachers, applied linguists, language curriculum coordinators, researchers, and materials designers to become more active practitioners themselves, by more fully utilising research in the field of second language listening.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781317860327
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 11/04/2013
Series: Research and Resources in Language Teaching
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Michael Rost has taught in Togo, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, and the U.S. He is currently an instructional designer for Lateral Communications in San Francisco.

JJ Wilson has taught in Egypt, Lesotho, Colombia, Italy, the UK, and the U.S., where he is writer-in-residence at Western New Mexico University.

Table of Contents

Section 1: From Research to Implications


Theoretical Framework

The Five findings



Top Down Frame

Key research findings



Bottom Up Frame

Key research findings



Interactive Frame

Key research findings



Autonomous Frame

Key research findings



Section 2: From Implications to Application


Frame 1: Affective frame


Ten Illustrative Activities


A New Skill

learning a skill through listening

Fly Swatter

listening to select the correct word and ‘swat’ it

Pinch and Ouch

using drama techniques to focus on sounds

Photo Album

listening to personal stories using picture cues

Emotional Scenes

tuning in to the emotions of characters

Guided Journey

using visualization to develop listening and motivation

Listening Circles

giving supportive feedback to classmates

Wrong Words

listening for mistakes in transcriptions of song lyrics

Finish the Story

using imagination to complete a story


understanding and evaluating jokes


Frame 2: Top Down frame


Ten Illustrative Activities


Guiding Objects

making predictions based on objects

Top Ten List

practicing guided note-taking


reconstructing a narrative based on partial information


anticipating content using a chart

Keep Doodling

creating a visual structure for a piece of listening input

2-20-2 Pictures

using visuals to stimulate guesses about stories

The Right Thing

using multiple perspectives to understand a story

Good Question

using advance organizer questions to understand a lecture

Split Notes

practicing note-taking in an interactive manner

False Anecdote

listening for a lie in autobiographical stories


Frame 3: Bottom Up frame


Ten Illustrative Activities


Word Grab

listening to recognize specific words and phrases


practicing close listening and giving feedback

Race to the Wall

listening for key words and moving to the right place

Action Skits

listening for details in sequences of action

Total Recall

listening for specific details in a story

Bucket List Bingo

listening for specific phrases

Map Readers

following a route on a map

Details, details

listening for specific facts

What’s the line?

hearing ‘fast speech’, learning phonological rules

Pause and Predict

predicting the next word in a story


Frame 4: Interactive frame


Ten Illustrative Activities



finding differences in a photo-shopped picture

Whisper Dictation

listening carefully in difficult circumstances

Interrupted Story

interacting with a speaker to get a story straight

Interactive Quiz

interacting through teacher-student questions

Blind Forgery

drawing based on descriptions of artworks


group sharing of autobiographical material

My Turn/Your Turn

reconstructing an extract in pairs

Guest Speaker

interacting with guest lecturers


paraphrasing as a form of feedback


presenting in front of an active audience



Frame 5: Autonomous frame


Ten Illustrative Activities



working with audio scripts and subtitles

Cloud Discussions

using online platforms to interact with peers

Listening Games

using web resources/apps for listening practice

News Hound

summarizing news stories

Vox Pops

talking to English speakers outside class


doing an interactive research project

My Listening Library

Developing a bank of useful resources

Learn Something New

structuring and sharing new learning

Film Review

sharing and comparing film reviews

Conversation Corner

starting and maintaining a chat center


Section 3: From Application to Implementation


Part 1: Choosing the content of the listening curriculum

What is the role of listening in the language curriculum?

How can I help students learn language through listening?

What is the role of teacher-talk in listening?

What are the advantages of teacher-talk?

Are there any drawbacks to using teacher-talk exclusively?

Should the teacher speak to the students in the target language all the time?

Which type of listening should make up the bulk of the curriculum?

Is it important to teach listening strategies?  


Part 2: Organizing the listening curriculum

How should the listening content be organized?

What are the advantages of a topic-based curriculum?

Are there any disadvantages to a topic-based curriculum?

Can a listening program be organized by genre?

What are the advantages of a genre-based course?

Are there any disadvantages to a genre-based curriculum?

Are there any other ways to organize a listening curriculum?

How much listening is ‘enough’?


Part 3: Integrating listening with other skills

Is it better to integrate active listening with other skills or to focus exclusively on listening?

What are the advantages of the integrated skills approach?

What are the advantages of a ‘listening only’ approach?

How can we combine active listening with the other skills?


Part 4: Adapting the listening curriculum: institutional constraints and opportunities

How can a listening curriculum be adapted for schools with little equipment?

How can an active listening curriculum be adapted for schools with tightly controlled curricula?

How can an active listening curriculum be adapted for different institutional philosophies?

How can an active listening curriculum be adapted to make the most of affordances and opportunities provided by the institutional context?

How can a listening curriculum be adapted for very large classes?

How can a listening curriculum be adapted for very small classes?


Part 5: Adapting the listening curriculum: different student populations

How can a listening curriculum be adapted for students of different ages?


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