Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Scaffolding Listening Comprehension

 As ESL teachers we have the task to teach listening comprehension. We know that it is important to build a strong English foundation for our English learners.  It involves introducing ESL students to the language in such a way that allows them to access new and unknown sounds and words. This is Part I of a 2 part post on teaching Listening comprehension so let’s get started!

Scaffolding Listening Comprehension

We can greatly aid our ESL learners by providing structured scaffolding techniques and proper support. This aids students as they work through learning how to interpret and respond correctly in language-specific contexts.

As ESL/ ELL teachers, we know we must create activities to help students engage in the listening domain, such as providing visuals with audio tutorials:

  • Charts
  • Diagrams
  • Images

Listening to conversation, activities, and games allow English learners to practice their newfound skills. By giving students activities to discuss key concepts they have heard, listening skills become cemented.

Whenever possible, it’s useful to incorporate real-life scenarios when teaching ESL or ELL learners so ELLs gain practical experience. 

🤸🏿‍♂️tape recorders


🤸🏿‍♂️music CDs

🤸🏿‍♂️radio broadcasts.

To teach listening in ESL and ELL classrooms takes time and every ESL/ELL teacher should emphasize this invaluable skill for their students to truly embrace the language barrier.

Teaching Listening to Different Language Levels

Teaching ESL or ELL to English Learners can often be difficult, especially in the listening domain. A great starting point when teaching listening skills to ELLs is to give learners a wide variety of listening exercises that are fun and supportive as well as attuned to their age and skill level.

One option for primary-level learners is getting them to transcribe stories; there are many ESL audio clips online that provide this style of exercise.

Meanwhile, advanced ESL learners can benefit from more realistic conversations about current events or debates – stories where the content may not always resolve completely by the end, encouraging critical thinking and inference. These exercises should all aim to boost ESL student understanding and build their overall listening comprehension.

Rewarding Task

Teaching ESL or ELLs listening comprehension is hard work, but a rewarding task. In order to make the process easier, it is important to break large tasks into smaller chunks and provide step-by-step instructions. Once ESL students have established a base level of understanding within the listening domain, ELs should be provided with well-structured activities. These activities should focus on particular aspects at a time so that they are able to build up progressive levels of understanding and create their English learning skills over time.

Happy Teaching!
Let’s Teach! Lori

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