Improving IELTS listening skills for ATC students of Banking Academy


IELTS listening skills for ATC student of banking academy


1. Listening perspectives

1.1. Listening definitions

Howatt and Dakin (1974) believe that listening
refers to the ability of a person to identify and understand what others are saying and this is a procedure which requires the listener to be able to understand of the accent, pronunciation, grammar and
vocabulary as well as comprehend the message delivered. And therefore a good listener is defined as
the one who is capbable of doing these four things
Thomlison’s (1984) definition of listening includes “active listening”, which goes beyond comprehending as understanfing the message content,
to comprehension as an act of empathetic understanding of the speaker.
According to Hamouda (2013), listening comprehension is the ability to understand what the listener has been heard and repeat the text despite the
fact that the listener may repeat the sounds without real comprehension.

1.2. Types of listening

According to Johna Kline (1996) there are five
types of Listening

1.2.1. Informative listening

Informative listening refers to the situation
where the utmost goal of the listener is to get the

message delivered. This type of listening is found
in all areas of our lives and much of our learning
comes from informative listening. There are three
key factors to help listeners be successful in understanding what the speaker means: vocabulary, concentration and memory.

1.2.2. Relationship listening

The purpose of relationship listening is either
to help an individual or to improve the relationship
between people. Therapeutic listening is a special
type of relationship listening. Therapeutic listening
brings to mind situations where counselors, medical personnel, or other professionals allow a troubled person to talk through a problem. Although
relationship listening requires listeners to listen for
information, the emphasis is on understanding the
other person. Three behaviors are key to effective
relationship listening: attending, supporting, and

1.2.3. Appreciative listening

Appreciative listening refers to the situation
when listeners listen for enjoyment, for example:
listening to music or listening and watching films.
As such, the focus is the response of the listener,
not the information or the message and the effect
of appreciative listening will not be the same for
every listener. The quality of appreciative listening
largely depends on three factors: presentation, per-ception, and previous experience.

1.2.4. Critical listening

Critical listening requires the listener to make
judgement or response to the message they receive.
In order to be an effective critical listener, one
should be able to analyse the three elements of the
message: ethos, or source credibility; logos, or logical argument; and pathos, or psychological appeals.

1.2.5. Discriminative listening

The final type of listening is also the most important one as it acts as a basis for the other four
types. The focus of discriminative listening is on
sounds and sound structures to get the true and intended meaning of the message.

2. Listening matters concerning IELTS listening tests

2.1. Listening in IELTS

2.1.1. Purpose of the test

The IELTS Listening test is designed to assess
a variety of listening skills. In particular, it is to
check how well listeners get main ideas and specific detailed information, how well they recognise
the opinions, attitude and purpose of a speaker and
to check if they can follow the development of argument.

2.1.2. How the IELTS Listening component is organized.

It consists of four sections and there are usually
two conversations and two monologues set in
everyday social matters, e.g. a conversation in a
bank, in an accommodation agency, among students
and subjects relates to educational and training
situations. The recordings are played once only and
the test approximately lasts 30 minutes.
There are a variety of question types including
multiple choice questions, matching, short answer
questions, sentence completion, form/table
completion, labeling a map/diagram/plan, summary,
and classification of information.

2.1.3. IELTS Listening exam techniques

* Predict answer types before listening: Students
should be able to anticipate the type of information
required because when they are aware of what
they have to listen for, they have a good chance of
getting correct answers and this process is known as
“targeted listening”.
* Identify paraphrases and synonyms: English
speakers are well known for using paraphrases and
synonyms more often than speakers of many other
languages, as such in the IELTS Listening test, the
speakers normally use a synonym or a paraphrase
of the keywords found in the question. Students
should therefore practice thinking about how words
seen in the question might be replaced by different
words that convey the same or very similar meaning

in the recordings.
* Improve pronunciation: According to Chastain
(1988), one of the four components of listening
comprehension is the ability to recognize all
sounds, intonation patterns, and voice qualities in
the second language. In order to obtain success in
IELTS Listening, students are advised to pay more
attention to their pronunciation skills.
* Grammar: Proper English grammar is definitely
important for students to get a high Listening score.
This is especially helpful in sentence and summary
completion question types where an answer
which is not only spelled correctly but also fitted
grammatically is needed. Good grammar helps
guide students towards correct answers.

2.2. Suggested in-class activities to enhance
students’ IELTS Listening skills.

2.2.1. Pre-listening activities

The purposes of the pre-listening activities are
to provide students with a clear context of what
they are going to hear and to equip students with the
topic vocabulary as well as the language structures
in the recordings.
* Brainstorming topic words: Teachers can give
students the topic of the listening and ask them to
write down the words that they think might appear
in the listening. Teachers can then check, provide
more related words if necessary. This activity is
to enhance students’ topic vocabulary and to help
them be more confident while listening.
* Running dictation: Have students arrange
in lines. The first student of each line will be the
runner. The runner goes to the wall and pick up a
note where there is a chunk of text (extracted from
the listening), memorizes it and runs back to the
line and dictates it to the first member of the line.
This member is then responsible for whispering
the chunk of text to the next member of the line
and this process goes on until the last member of
the line receives the message and writes it down.
The winner is the group which has the most correct
words within the time given. The purposes of this
activity are again to provide students with the topic
of the listening and to check their pronunciation of
the topic words.
* Expressing me: Give each student several
words or expressions related to the theme of the
listening text and ask them to explain the words/
expressions without mentioning the original words/
expressions to their partners. The partners will then
have to guess the words/expressions. The aim of this
activity is to focus on the importance of synonyms
and paraphrases.

2.2.2. While –listening activities

Apart from the well-designed IELTS Listening
practice tests that teachers can use in class, they can

use other authentic materials and these activities to
raise students’ interest in listening and to improve
skills necessary for the IELTS Listening test such
as: listening for the gist, listening for specific
information and listening for speakers’ attitude or
* A gapped text: Teachers could give students
a copy of a song lyrics with certain words blanked
out. The first option is to let students predict the
words that go into each blank. The second option
is to give them suggested words and they then have
to analyze the text in order to fill in the correct
words. The third option is to give them synonyms/
paraphrases of the words needed for each blank and
they need to find out the correct words. Once they
have done this, they listen to the song and check
their answers.
* True/False statements: In this activity,
students are required to watch a video clip and then
determine whether the statements given are correct
or not. It may be helpful if students underline
keywords before they watch. Teachers could make
use of videos (documentaries, news, weather
forecast, interviews or inspiring speeches of famous
people) available on the Internet to design the task.
By using videos in their lessons, teachers can help
students to retain more information, understand
different concepts quicker and to make students
more interested in what they are listening to.
* Right words: Students are required to find
mistakes in a song lyric or a video script. This
activity focuses on the words that often make
students confuse when they listen like homophones
(words that have the same pronunciation but
different meanings or spelling or similar sound

2.2.3. Post-listening activities

A post-listening activity act as a follow up
to the main listening activity and aims to utilize
the knowledge or vocabulary obtained from the
* Summarizing: One of the activities that a
teacher can do to check understanding is to ask
students to summarize the information they have
heard. This works best if the listening text is a story.
* Continuing the word lists: This can be seen as
a follow up task of the brainstorming topic words
in the pre-listening phase. In this task, students are
asked to extend the word list with the word sets they
have learnt from the main listening task.
* Discussions: Teachers can ask students to have
a short discussion about the topic taken from the
main listening task.

3. Conclusion

In this paper, the authors have looked into theextent of IELTS Listening description, listening skill requirements and then give some suggestedin-class activities for teachers to perform well in
listening class in order to enable their students toget the highest possible score in the test. Through
this paper, the researcher believed that successful listening can only be acquired overtime and with
continuous practice and teachers, with suitable teaching styles and teaching activities, can help
students gradually become more confident in communication in general and in the IELTS listening component in particular.

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