Jungle listening: high- and low-tech approaches to teaching the stream of speech

Richard Cauldwell presents low- and high-tech activities to help learners improve their understanding of authentic speech. January 2013, Bournemouth.

Part1: Why 'Jungle' listening?

The acquisition of listening lags behind acquisition of the other skills. This is because current listening methodology is characterised by the lack of a direct engagement with the stream of everyday speech. This results – among other things – in learners not being able to catch words they know (Field, 2008).
One such learner comments as follows:  
I believe I need to learn what the word sounds like when it is used in the sentence. Because sometimes when a familiar word is used in a sentence, I couldn't catch it. Maybe it changes somewhere when it is used in a sentence (Goh 1997: 366)
The speech that learners encounter outside the classroom requires ‘Jungle listening skills’, which include the ability to decode fast speech. Students need to learn how words change their sounds when they occur in the stream of speech. The presenter explains and demonstrates a variety of low and high tech activities to improve learners’ ability to decode the acoustic blur of the stream of speech. The high-tech includes an iPad application (Cauldwell, 2012) and Sonocent’s Audionotetaker. Low-tech activities include a variety of vocal gymnastics modelled by the teacher and performed by students, which require no more than an enthusiastic teacher, a whiteboard, and a class of willing learners.
The session provides new ideas to explore for teachers' professional development and activities to experiment with immediately in the classroom.

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