Listening is one of the 4 skills together with reading, writing, and speaking in teaching English. However, most people believe that speaking is the one someone should practice perpetually to boost their ability to learn English. It is very correct to the significance of the speaking skill as people learn new languages to communicate. Here is the question: How is it possible to speak without comprehending the words in the target language? The answer is simple: There is no chance of learning to speak before studying receptive skills such as listening and reading since speaking is a productive skill expecting someone to produce something with the language.
In this regard, especially for speaking, listening skill is a prerequisite to building the background to use the language. It is very correct that listening has a significant role in communication, mainly for successful interaction. Its importance is fundamentally about providing language learners to understand pronunciation, word stress, vocabulary, and sentence structure. Additionally, it offers help in internalizing content and the context conveyed through tone of voice, pitch, and accent.
Without effective listening, language improvement becomes incomplete, and meaningful communication is broken. There can be mentioned a famous hypothesis having been popular for a few decades. It is called the Input Hypothesis put forward by Stephen Krashen. Here are the details:
According to this hypothesis, the learner develops and progresses through the 'natural order' when he/she receives second language 'input', which is one step beyond his/her actual stage of linguistic competence. For example, if a learner is at stage 'i', then acquisition takes place when he/she is exposed to 'Comprehensible Input' that belongs to level 'i + 1'. To cut it short, every learner should be exposed to the language they are leaning towards meaning and structured contexts developed and presented by qualified language teachers, and those structured contexts and teaching plans need to be arranged by considering the level of the learners.
By doing so, the level of the materials presented should be forcing students with a little demanding task which is mentioned as the ‘i+1’ level by Krashen. This input period is believed as a silent period before being productive. When learners get enough input, they will start speaking fluently and purposefully according to Stephen Krashen.
To sum up, listening is a skill that learners pay their utmost attention to because it is considered a vital piece that learners invest in their learning process. It shouldn’t be an underrated or ignored skill focusing on speaking is mainly thought to be a sign of learning the language. Everyone has to be aware of the importance of understanding the words in the target language to be able to use a language interactively.
✅Here are 3 tips to improve your listening:
🎞️ Watch movies and TV series with English subtitles. If you think that your level is lower than A2, you can start with Spanish subtitles.
🎼 Listen to popular and classical songs, and podcasts checking the script.
💻 You can use Web 2.0 tools and useful links to master your listening. There are tons of comprehensible input on those websites. Here we give you some examples: