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Developing your Oral Skills - How to Listen / Speak - How to Learn

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Developing your Oral Skills
Ways of Listening and Practicing Speaking
Becoming a life-long language learner/user
by michelle (2007, 2009)

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point Listening: A daily routine (listening to English every day)
Listening to English every day using some of these techniques:

Tip: To learn something, to really know it, be fluent and correct in it, we need to have listened to it hundreds of times before, so keep this in mind! The more you listen, the more you increase your chances of being a competent user of the language.

point Speaking: Jotting Down Useful Language

A lifelong language learner needs to have a few small notebooks scattered all over the house!, so that when you listen to audios or audiovisuals and find a word, a phrase, a sentence you'd like to learn, you can jot it down before you forget!

As a student, you should have a section in your notebook called "Useful Language" where you should gather this material, quoting where you got it from. When you just jot down words you wish to learn, you should always copy a sentence next to each, to illustrate how the word is used.

Finally, these useful sentences and expressions should be the basis of your oral drilling: remember to listen to them and repeat them as often as you can!

point Listening: How Can We Decipher Meaning? (A natural technique!)
Use everything at hand! You need to notice: CONTEXT / SITUATION – PEOPLE INVOLVED - KIND OF TEXT - TOPIC / PROBLEM

When you listen, you should also use your...

Life knowledge, sociocultural knowledge. Notice:
• The atmosphere sounds in the situation – what's happening – cars moving slowly, horns sounding
• The tone of people's voices – moods, feelings... – conversations at a party
• What you recognize from the situation because of your experience - someone hailing a taxi, a crowd cheering, a baby crying...
• The "problem" or theme or topic

Linguistic knowledge
Guessing words in context: because you know another language, because they are similar to Spanish, because the context makes them clear!
• Guessing key words because of your knowledge of syntax
• Guessing key words because of stress and intonation

Textual knowledge
• The topic
• Textual format (layout)
• Textual structure and the distribution of contents

point Speaking Strategies: Textual Structure Awareness and Practice: Monolog(ue)s & Dialog(ue)s