A Syllabus for Listening: Decoding is for teachers, teacher trainers, textbook and course book authors in English language teaching (ELT). This book will help you add a decoding dimension to all your listening activities, which means that your students will be better prepared for real-world spontaneous speech. If you are designing a listening course, or writing listening exercises for a course book, this is essential reading. There are four parts.
Decoding and Perception presents key id....
[show more]eas which are essential to understanding why the teaching and learning of listening needs to be improved.
A Critique of Training, Theory and Practice presents a critical analysis of conventional approaches to listening in teacher training and the ELT classroom.
A Syllabus for Listening presents specific items for the syllabus, including word clusters, streamlining processes and, crucially, ear-training.
Education, Tools and Activities describes innovative classroom activities for teaching decoding: exploiting recordings and classroom language, using pen-and-paper prompts, together with the voices of teachers and learners.
Part 1 Decoding and perception - Key ideas
This part consists of ten short chapters which set out in detail the reasons for the approach to listening and decoding in this book. Each chapter introduces a key idea (principle) which acts as a foundation stone for what is to follow in Parts 2-4. Together, the key ideas comprise a framework for understanding the approach to teaching decoding adopted in this book. They are deliberately short so that you can refer back to them (to remind yourself o....
[show more]f the relevant principle) as you read the other parts of the book.
1. Decoding speech and writing - the differences. This chapter deals with the fundamental differences between the sound substance (speech) and sight substance (writing) and the different decoding requirements of each.
2. Styles of speech - Greenhouse, Garden, Jungle. This chapter introduces a classroom aid which will make clear the differences between citation forms, the rules of connected speech and the messy realities of spontaneous speech.
3. Understanding versus decoding. This chapter explains how the expert listener's ability to understand meanings deafens them to the realities of spontaneous speech.
4. The expert listener and the blur gap. This chapter explains the problems that expert listeners have hearing the mess and untidiness of spontaneous speech.
5. The expert listener and the decoding gap. This chapter explains the consequences for the classroom when the expert listener cannot hear the mess and untidiness of spontaneous speech.
6. The land of in-between - mondegreens. This chapter explains that the sound substance is much less clear than we think it is, and is capable of being heard - quite justifiably - in different ways.
7. The unit of perception. This chapter explains that the unit of perception is not the word, but the speech unit.
8. Words are flexible forms. This chapter explains that all words are flexiforms, which speakers can mould or crush into different shapes.
9. Visualising the issues - three zones. This chapter presents the issues of the preceding chapters in a visual form.
10. Diagnosis. This chapter uses the key ideas of the preceding chapters to diagnose why decoding is so often neglected in the ELT classroom.
Part 2 A critique of training, theory and practice
This part consists of four chapters which together offer a critical analysis of what we teach and why we teach it in the way we do.
11. Teacher training. This chapter describes how our training and early teaching experiences influence the way we teach listening.
12. Virtuous obstacles. This chapter identifies things we do in the classroom which, although useful for other aspects of language learning, are obstacles to effective teaching of listening.
13. Models of speech. This chapter compares the prescriptive Careful Speech Model (CSM) which currently dominates ELT materials with the more descriptive Spontaneous Speech Model (SSM) which we need to cope with the unruliness of spontaneous speech.
14. The when and what of decoding. This chapter looks at conventional approaches to decoding, what activities are recommended and when they should be done.
Part 3 A syllabus for listening
This part consists of four chapters which are the central part of the Syllabus for Listening: Decoding. These chapters train you to hear the streamlining processes (reductions) that words undergo when they are used in spontaneous speech.
15. Words. This chapter describes how all words have multiple soundshapes.
16. Word clusters. This chapter describes how words which commonly occur together are blended into continuous soundshapes which pose decoding problems.
17. Streamlining I. This chapter consonant death looks at the typical fates that speech sounds undergo (blurring, consonant death) when they are streamlined in fast speech.
18. Streamlining II. This chapter smoothies to teenies explains ways in which speakers make sounds, syllables and words disappear.
Part 4 Education, tools and activities
This part consists of six chapters which explain different ways in which we might set about teaching decoding systematically, using the syllabus presented in Part 3.
19. Learner education and teacher-mindset . This chapter explains how to manage both learners' and teachers' doubts, feelings and frustration.
20. Teacher tools. This chapter describes tools that you can use at any time to demonstrate the different soundshapes that words can have.
21. Recordings, extracts and activities. This chapter describes how to select and use recordings for decoding.
22. Pen-and-paper activities. This chapter describes how decoding activities can start with written prompts.
23. Visiting the sound substance dimension. This chapter describes how to build decoding work into any type of classroom activity.
24. Internet and digital resources. This chapter looks at four different types of software that can help teach decoding.