Home Forums GT TEFL Certification Course Topic – Differences between Reading and Listening

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    • #291123
      Janice C.

      Before you continue, spend five to ten minutes reflecting on how you think reading and listening are different, and what problems may students have with listening skills.

      Share your ideas with other people by posting them in the discussion thread below.

      Remember to read one or two other posts and comment on them.

    • #303379

      Reading is something you do, while listening is something that happens to you.
      Some students find listening difficult because they try to understand every word or they get left behind trying to work out what a previous word meant. They show a lack of vocabulary or don’t recognise the words that they already know. They may have problems with different accents or are distracted by background noise.

      • #310384

        I agree with the reasons you provide as for why learners find listening difficult, lack of vocabulary or not identifying certain words are big obstacles when practicing this skill.
        However, I don’t agree with your idea that ‘reading is something we do while listening is something which happens to us’. To my mind, both are receptive skills because we are not the producers of the text/words, but this doesn’t necessarily imply that ‘it happens to us’. Identifying the type of text, the purpose of us reading/listening to it, and being able to use the right sub-skill to complete the task all require us (or whoever is doing the task) to be active and prepared. Therefore, I wouldn’t describe it as something which ‘happens to us’.

    • #303619
      Gabi Kotlubaj

      Thank you, Elizabetta! It is true students typically have more problems with listening than reading. English is not a phonetic language and it is often difficult for students to recognise words in a spoken text because their pronunciation does not match the spelling.

    • #304524
      Michael Lynch

      Listening is my weakest skill, and is probably the most important for me to develop in my L2. Until this course, I did not consider it as something that I could actively improve on. I give presentations in my L2 and dread getting to the end when I have to ask for questions.

      • #308616

        I think that each person faces the problems that are similar to yours. We should do our best to improv our listening skills.

    • #308614

      For most students listening is much more difficult than reading. I think the reason for it is that they are not exposed to much of listening in English in real life. Moreover, while listening to the text, you have to concentrate on the content as well as deal with different aspects of speech (accent, fluency, etc.) which may be quite challenging.

    • #310382

      As I see it, reading and listening are different in the following aspects:

      1) In a written text, you can go back and forth at your own pace, whereas when listening to someone speaking, it’s not possible to stop them or the audio being played, so one needs to wait to the end either to ask (if talking to a person) or to listen to it again (in a listening exercise).

      2) In a written text, one can see the words and it’s easier to identify words even if we don’t know their pronunciation. Instead, when a person is speaking, it’s harder to match every word to its pronunciation while taking part in a conversation or when listening to an audio being played for a task.

      3) The visual distribution of written texts in paragraphs is helpful to get an overall idea of the text at first sight, whereas when listening to a person or to an audio, it’s more difficult to predict how long they are going to talk for, when they are going to paraphrase their ideas or when they are going to add new information. This uncertainty can be overwhelming for everybody, and especially for language learners who don’t feel confident in the language that is being used.

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