ESL teachers and students often have differing views on the importance of error correction. Some students insist that they want the teacher to note and correct all errors made at any time in a lesson. Some teachers want to encourage their students’ confidence and don’t feel comfortable correcting students as they feel corrections may interfere with the development of the students’ fluency in English. What’s a teacher to do?
In the communicative classroom, teaching listening skills should be approached in the same way as the other skills – with a communicative purpose. Often, listening is taught with a linguistic purpose first and foremost – to improve and develop listening skills in the target language (this applies to other language skills as well). This is, of course, a key goal of most listening lessons; however, in the “real world,” how often do we listen with this goal in mind? Do your students go to the shopping mall on the weekend to buy a cell phone, and then listen to shoppers and store workers intent on improving their listening? In the shopping mall we listen because we need to get certain information, whether that information includes specific prices and options on a cell phone, or another shopper telling you why she prefers shopping at one store instead of another.
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