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Trinity Workshop: Did you hear what I

said? By Robin Walker

Summarized by Alicia Infante Feb.2016

1. Introduction
We might be hearing but not always listening. This happens many times in our
daily life but even much more often in our classrooms. Most of our students tend
to shut their ears down to listening in the very first minute they know they are
having one. And this is mainly because when they reach their adult age, they
have been failing at listening so many times in secondary studies that they are
now protecting themselves from failure. That is why in many occasions there
isn’t any listening going on in the classroom.

This session is on trying to stop that. It is about trying to initiate meaningful

listening practice in the classroom. The short-term aim is to pass an exam; the
long term aim is to learn to be better listeners.

We have to sort out the differences between teaching and testing. What we do
all in course books is classic communicative listening. This is listening for the
content which is based on knowing what the message not the language is. But
students come to language schools to be shown the language and the language
is shown in the recordings. This means we also have to listen for the language.

2. What happens when we listen?

1 Bottom Up Processing
 It happens when someone tries to understand language by
looking at individual sound or words and moves from these to
trying to understand the whole listening.
2 Segmentation
 It is separating words from the smallest meaningful sound to the
isolated word.
3 Recognition
 The process of knowing the words after segmentation. ie. Ship vs
4 Contextual Clues
 The use of context to sort out problems of recognition. ie.
Huelva(ship) vs Logroño (sheep)
5 Anticipation
 To go slightly ahead of the listening for recognition.
6 Top Down Processing
 It happens when using background information to predict the
meaning of language
7 Prior Knowledge
 What we know before any listening. ie. Safety rules given in a
8 Negotiation of Meaning
 It is the collaborative act between a speaker and a listener willing
to communicate.
 Clarification. ie What?
 Understanding. ie. Yeah
 Confirmation. ie. Got it?
Listening for Content 12 Listening for Language
9 Extensive: Key language Items
 listening for the gist  Vocabulary
 preliminary hearing of a  Grammar
recording to identify the  Pronunciation
main points.
10 Specific Information 13 Word by Word decoding
 selective information  Decoding the words so
they can be used later.
11 Intensive
Small detailed information
 Complex Instructions
 surveys & quizzes
 Chinese whispers
 dictogloss

3. Some Basis for teaching Listening

Time – length of recording

 Too long: try to cut it or use short pieces of recording
Grade – difficulty of recording
 Change the questions for slower or faster listeners
Techniques – teaching listening
a) How many times should we play the recording?
 As many as we need: repetition means learning
b) Stop recording if Ss ask?
 Yes, to negotiate meaning
c) Students listen in pairs/gps or individually?
 Yes, to share the information they have understood
d) Students can see the text / script?
 Yes, to support what they listen and associate sound and meaning.
Classroom procedure for listening
a) before–listening activities
 activating prior knowledge
 using contextual clues
 pre-teaching key vocabulary
 predicting possible contents / outcomes
 clarifying task / listening style
b) during–listening activities
 completing diagrams
 making notes
 stopping / replaying as requested / necessary
 stopping and asking what will happen next
 stopping and getting Ss to test each other
c) after–listening activities
 check understanding
 responding to the content
 mini-dictation of section that was especially difficult
 reading and listening
 reading script then closing books and listening

4. Conclusion
Most course books do not train students to be good or better listeners. Ignoring
this fact we tend to concentrate on testing instead of working with useful
subskills to help them do the final exam. It is only us, as teachers, who can
break this and, in doing so, we are not only making them be better at listening to
English but also at their own language. Only after having taught them how to
listen we would be able to test listening. Then, you can pull out your 2,15 min
listening and test for the final exam.

Trinity Workshop: Writing for a Reason.
By Robin Walker
Summarized by Alicia Infante Feb.2016

1. The problem with writing

Expressing yourself in another language is more than difficult. That’s why we

should praise for the thing they do right rather than telling them just what they
did wrong. We are genetically coded to learn to speak by simply being in contact
with other people. This does not happen with writing. But even if it is hard they
have to do it for a number of reasons. Our duty is to let them know these
reason minimizing the problems.

For Against

 need it for the ISE need it for  not ‘natural’

my studies/job  nothing to say
 easier than speaking  no vocabulary
 gives me time to think  always get Gr wrong
 helps me to learn  hard
 lets me be creative  makes me stressed
 I like writing  not much fun at home alone

2. Content, purpose and reader

A) Content and the reader

Here are a number of different aspects of your region. If you had to describe you
city, which would be the six most important for you?

1 origins and development 8 types of accommodation

2 industry and commerce 9 local government
3 places of interest 10 architecture
4 parks & shop facilities 11 educational facilities
5 shopping 12 restaurant & cinemas
6 museums 13 local transport
7 famous local public 14 the local languages(s)

Now, think of the same question but considering a different reader.

Reader 1 – a middle-aged tourist with a
particular interest in history, and who is
planning a short visit to the region.
Reader 2 – a businessman with a two-
year contract with a local firm, and who
is arriving with a young family
Reader 3 – an ERASMUS exchange
student who will be in the region until
the end of the current university
your answers been the same in each situation? Most probably they have not,
because you had a different reader in mind so the relevant things have changed

B) Content and the purpose

Here is another example of how writing is also link to the idea of purpose in
order to choose contents. The description of a hotel will not be the same whether
it is a brochure, a guide or an email.

Brochure Guide Business email

Purpose publicity for objective inform &
a hotel information advise a
about a hotel business client
Contents limited to mentions all describes
hotel’s best features; good relevant
features + bad features +

C) Purpose, structure, and ISE writing tasks

Finally, in the same way contents depend on a type of reader and on a specific
purpose we need a structure to organise those contents. In the example above a
brochure, a guide or an e-mail have all different structures.
For ISE writing we are been given those structures to support what we write in
terms of cohesion and coherent. The readers are also expecting these structures.

Article Descriptive Discursive Argumentative
essay essay essay
Introduction Introduction Introduction Introduction
⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓
Idea 1 Feature 1 Arguments for Point 1
⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓
Idea 2 Feature 2 Arguments Point 2
⇓ ⇓ against ⇓
Idea 3 Feature 3 ⇓ Point 3
⇓ ⇓ Conclusion ⇓
Conclusion Conclusion (must include Conclusion

3. Getting ideas to choose from

 Brainstorming

 Questions
Your memorable experience
1. When was it?
2. Who was with you?
3. Where was it?
4. Was it really good or really bad?
5. What was the weather like?
6. What happened first / last?
 Mind Maps

4. Process over product: Writing
When teaching how to write teachers and students must work together sharing the whole process of
writing. A good idea is to create Wikis, Dropbox, or Mailing so the art of writing becomes a process of

5. Conclusion
 You must think about the reader, you have to think about the purpose.
When you find the purpose you get structures given by ISE that allow
organising contents.
 Try to generate ideas collaboratively for the contents.
 Focus on Content first and then on Grammar.
 Use Cohesion and coherent devices.
 Make writing a collaborative task (wikis, dropbox, drive..)

Huelva ,27 Feb. 2016