In spite of the importance of listening in the process of SLA teaching and learning, this competency is not getting as much attention as the other ones; consequently, students are less motivated to depend on their listening comprehension as a tool to help them in the process of language learning. The tool consists of a set activities to show YouTube’s ability to evolve listening comprehension of SLA learners.
The activities are aimed to any level and depend on the creativity of teachers and the level of ICT skills of learners.
Listening is a skill that needs to be developed and fostered in a good manner by the teacher because students rarely notice it or even pay attention to it in their learning process. Listening means more than just a means to fulfil a certain mission. In fact, it is a more complicated ability that involves, besides listening, emotions and feelings while communicating with others and that by interpreting the messages that are being conveyed whether they are verbal or nonverbal messages. Learners should be active listeners by making the connection between the words and their meanings. “Active listening requires the listener to hear the words and identify the feelings associated with the words. Listening is the best way to receive a considerable amount of knowledge and joy, and also a good way to make others feel interesting to be with.
Teachers can depend on videos while trying to develop their learners’ listening and speaking abilities. Providing the students with real life native conversations along with the printed text to reinforce their understanding and their proper pronunciation could be very helpful. Supplementing the (often) scripted and stilted textbook listenings with the real life authentic conversations you can find on many podcasts is an attractive option for language teachers and their students.
We have analyzed the potential uses of YouTube for listening comprehension in SLA classes for different languages and different levels.
We developed some sample exercises for English listening comprehension as English is widely spoken and it would be easy for teachers to understand the concept and adopt it in their language classes.
Attention was given to authenticity of videos used in the exercises and the copyright limitations need to be considered when using videos from YouTube.
The exercises have been developed by language teacher in cooperation with instructional designer.
YouTube is easily accessible from any device (PC, laptop, Tablet or smartphone) having access to the internet. Streaming video from YouTube need a lot of bandwidth and this need to be taken into account when there are limitation in available bandwidth especially in smartphones using mobile data and not wifi.
There are some limitations on the use of YouTube. First, YouTube is limited to what copyright restrictions allow. If students are determined to focus on certain clips that are not available on YouTube due to copyright infringement laws, then teachers will have to procure these clips on their own
Since YouTube and other online videos are most immediately observed through sight and sound, creative teachers can easily find new ways to use them in listening comprehension classes.
Possible uses of YouTube include Conversation analysis, Movie trailer voiceovers, Vlogging, Note-taking and summarizing, dialects.
Description of possible implementation situations in class:
Conversation analysis: This activity is well suited for intermediate to advanced students, and it can create a heightened awareness of effective conversation techniques as well as common conversation problems that can be avoided. In the activity, students view teacher-selected clips (or browse YouTube and select clips for themselves) that demonstrate effective or ineffective conversational techniques to reinforce material taught in class. For example, students can find film or TV clips featuring conversations that suffer because of a lack of follow-up or clarification questions. Alternatively, students might search for videos in which a conversation is effective because the members are supportive by using phrases to elicit more information from each other. By searching through YouTube conversations for targeted discussion techniques, students are critically evaluating discourse and immersing themselves in language they learn. Student effort can be assessed by the number of illustrative conversations found on YouTube and how well the conversations demonstrate concepts discussed in class. Additionally, this project can be modified into a presentation in which students share their videos with their classmates.
Movie trailer voiceovers: In the activity, students select any two-minute movie preview from YouTube. Then students transcribe the audio in the preview. After this, the video can be downloaded from YouTube and stripped of its audio track using a free software program called YouTube Downloader (http://youtubedownloader.com/). With the aid of their transcriptions, students can then record their own voices while paying close attention to mimicry and synchronization. Different students can do the voices for different characters as well as narrate the trailer. Once the recording is done, students can use Apple or Windows video editors to redub the preview. This activity involves repeated close listening to create the transcript, and then repeated recordings in which students attempt to recreate native-like cadence, intonation, and pronunciation. Assessment is based on both listening and speaking accuracy.
Vlogging: is short for “video blog,” and blog is short for “web log.” In essence, a vlog is an online diary in video form. A number of notable vlogs have emerged on YouTube, and students can be directed to them for extensive listening practice or for any other listening lesson in which authentic language is needed.
Note-taking and summarizing: Although this activity could be used for high beginner and pre-intermediate level students, it works best for students at the intermediate level or above. The note-taking and summarizing activity requires students to use YouTube to listen to lectures on various topics, take notes on the main points and important details, verbally check and expand their notes with a partner, listen again to further expand their notes, and then write summaries from their notes. They can then look at a transcript of the clip and compare their summaries with those of their classmates and teachers. If the students’ summaries differ considerably from the teacher’s, then the teacher can point out why he or she chose the information included in the model summary. For example, by pointing out specific discourse markers that indicate an important piece of information in a text, teachers can illustrate what students could look for in future encounters with similar texts. A good source of speeches on a variety of topics is TED Talks. TED Talks are generally limited to less than 20 minutes and most have a transcript available at the TED. Talks homepage (http://www.ted.com). While note-taking and summarizing are difficult to master, both are essential academic writing skills and necessary for numerous standardized proficiency tests. YouTube provides opportunities to practice these skills with engaging materials. A normal assessment of notes can be labor-intensive for the teacher as it involves checking which points have been included, understood, and formulated properly. A possible alternative to checking students’ notes would be use tasks that require students to reintegrate knowledge from their notes, such as writing a short essay on the topic or giving a brief oral report that can instead be used for evaluationPros and cons
The tool is effective for intermediate level learners and makes the educational process very easy. The biggest positive aspect is that it offers all the features that a real-time classroom offers, but everything could be done online. It is perfect for learners who for certain reasons can’t go to face to face classes and for trainers who wish to improve their services. As a negative side of the tool could be pointed the fact that in order to use it effectively the trainer and the learners should have certain IT skills above average level.
Pros and cons:
If students and teachers have access to the Internet, YouTube can be a valuable tool through which multiple foreign language skills can be taught. Using YouTube both inside and outside the classroom can enhance conversation, listening, and pronunciation skills. YouTube videos can also be utilized to stimulate cultural lessons and enhance exposure to authentic language
YouTube is very easy to be used by teachers and students for viewing content and can be accessible by PC, Laptop, Tablet, Smartphone and even Smart TV. It needs only an internet connection that has to be fast enough (broadband) because watching videos online is bandwidth consuming task. That means in a classroom with many computers sharing the same broadband connection maybe students will face delays when watching videos simultaneously.
Uploading videos on youtube is easy and it needs to have a google account which you can get for free. Most of smartphones and tablets support video uploading on youtube directly. Processing of videos before uploading is not an easy task and needs knowledge and could be time consuming.