Sessions / Listening
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wearing of face masks during all interpersonal contact has become our “new normal.” Though an indispensable part of our daily outings, it is indisputable that masks impede verbal communication by both muffling speech sounds and blocking visual cues (e.g., facial expressions, emotional information) from view. While this impediment might only be minor for people conversing in their first language, the current study sought to investigate the impact that masked speech had on language learners’ comprehension of a second language. A sample of 192 Japanese university students were given a listening task under three conditions: masked speaker, unmasked speaker, and audio only. Results indicated that learners had significantly more difficulty comprehending the speech when viewing a masked speaker, even more so than when they were just listening to voice recording (i.e., with no accompanying picture). We will discuss with attendees current theories of speech perception and listening comprehension which may explain these findings, as well as ideas on how to counteract this effect to communicate more effectively in the classroom while masked.
The Listening SIG showcase will be divided into two parts. The first part will include a lively discussion on listening: Extensive Listening (EL) “vs” Extensive Reading (ER). Brett Milliner and Paul Goldberg will lead the discussion to share their own experiences, stories, and accounts of recent developments in the field of second language listening. The discussion will then open as a forum to invite contributions from attendees to discuss their own experiences and seek ideas to address listening difficulties when teaching. The second part will consist of a listening workshop. Todd Beuckens will present an interactive workshop to show how some free online tools can be used to make listening tasks. There will also be an opportunity to ask about resources and task ideas in the Q&A session. We will end with a brief presentation to outline our recent communication, events, and publication initiatives. There will also be an opportunity for members and potential members to give feedback and share ideas on what they would like to see from the Listening SIG.