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Listening skills

Watch this to find out how to improve your listening skills for Higher French (and how to avoid getting on the wrong train)

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Listening is something we take for granted. We do it all day, everyday.

Or do we?

Do we actually listen to what people are saying, or do we mostly just hear background sounds, some of it absorbed subliminally?
Think about being in a crowded train station, or airport.

We HEAR announcements being made all the time. But, how many do we ACTUALLY listen to?
Have you ever ended up on the wrong train, because you didn’t fully listen?

Normally, when we are listening to somebody speak, we rely on facial gestures and or body language to interpret meaning.

But what if, you are unable to see these expressions and gestures? What if, all you have is a disembodied voice giving you information, like in a listening assessment in a Higher Modern Language?

Let’s take a look… or rather listen.

This is Thinkfour.

Your listening comprehension is arguably the most challenging skill to be assessed. There are no visual cues, there is just a recorded voice.

When listening to someone talk in your own language, it is super easy to “zone in and out” without losing the thread of what is being said.

The challenge comes when you have to listen to someone speaking in a foreign language. There is no room to “zone in and out” because you do not understand everything which is being said. You MUST stay focu sed the whole time.

Let’s try this little experiment.

Close your eyes...

By shutting off your sense of sight you can focus on what you can actually hear around you.

Automatically, you are forced to listen to me, rather than being distracted by what you can see around you.

My guess is, you will hear a whole lot more than you did with your eyes open? Am I right?

Your listening assessment requires you to multitask. I sometimes think that the hardest thing about this is having to listen, read and write simultaneously.

The way to master these skills is actually quite simple.

Use the time you are given before the recording is played, to READ the questions for item 1 carefully, several times.

Use the questions as a means of anticipating the sort of information you will need to extract from the recording.

Be guided by the number of points awarded for each question and of course the wording of the question.

Use the same approach before item 2 is played.
When the recording starts, remember how you felt when you closed your eyes. Allow yourself to only focus on what you HEAR and avoid looking at the distractions around you.

Remember, this is a LISTENING exercise, so make notes phonetically in the foreign language which you can come back to later to translate to English.This is particularly helpful for numbers and dates.

Make good use of the gap between the recordings to check which specific details you still need for your answers and to allow you to try and remember the meanings of the words you have noted in the foreign language. This allows you to remain focused on what you have heard.

You can never give too much detail in your answer. Don’t miss out on a mark by not giving the detail of an adjective or an adverb.

Just like at the railway station or at the airport, hearing the announcement is very different to LISTENING to the announcement.

You can choose to do either, but your choice will really matter in a listening assessment.

So close your eyes, open your ears and make sure your journey gets to the correct destination!

This was Thinkfour; thanks for watching.

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